Written by Evie
Image by @yvonnevictoria
Have you ever wondered about getting a chemical peel, but have no idea where to start, or even if they are suitable for your skin? Don’t worry – we’ve got you!! Here is everything you need to know about chemical peels, from the experts.
What is a chemical peel?
A Chemical Peel is a type of skin resurfacing treatment that uses a chemical solution to remove the outer layers of dead skin. The chemicals used (usually acids) cause a controlled injury to the skin which stimulates the growth of new skin cells.
‘Chemical peels notably improve a variety of skin conditions. They brighten by removing dull skin and revealing healthier tissue.’ says Rupesh Shah at London Lip Clinic. If you suffer from uneven skin tone, acne scarring, and signs of premature ageing then you may benefit from a chemical peel. ‘Chemical peels also stimulate collagen to produce firmer and more supple skin’.
Which chemical peel is right for me?
There are many different types of chemical peels and the best way to determine which you could benefit from will be to have a skin consultation. During this consultation, a skincare professional will assess your skin, and let you know if you are the right candidate for a chemical peel and which type of peel would be best for you.
There are three main types of chemical peels; superficial, medium and deep. Superficial and medium depth peels are the most commonly used and are usually applied in clinics by a qualified skincare practitioner or dermatologist. These peels can be repeated multiple times to treat a specific issue or used as maintenance to give the skin an extra boost.
Superficial peels: Often referred to as the ‘lunchtime peel’, these peels have no downtime and are a perfect way to refresh the skin. Superficial chemical peels can be done as often as every two weeks for several months. They can help to treat breakouts, refine skin texture and tone, and improve the look of fine lines.
Medium depth peels: These peels usually require 7-10 days of downtime due to the peeling and flaking of the skin. The chemicals used to administer these peels are a stronger type and/or concentration, to achieve a deeper level of penetration into the skin. Medium depth chemical peels treat deeper lines and wrinkles, acne and hyperpigmentation.
Deep peels: These are often administered by dermatologists or plastic surgeons and are used to treat deep wrinkles, severe scarring and stubborn signs of ageing. They require more downtime as they penetrate deeper into the dermal layers of the skin. The healing time of a deep chemical peel can be two to three weeks. Due to the strength of these peels, it is recommended that they are administered once. Deep peels are often not recommended for those with darker skin due to the pigmentation risks associated.
Where can chemical peels be used?
The most popular place to have a chemical peel is on the face of course, but they can also be used on the neck, hands and other parts of the body to treat various skin issues. ‘One of my favourite areas to peel is the mons pubis!’ says Esthetician Alicia Lartey at Saint Of Cells. ‘It is great for dealing with the marks left behind from ingrown hairs and expediting bikini prep.’
If you suffer from body acne, chemical peels can really help to alleviate breakouts and any scars and pigmentation left behind. ‘The back tends to be popular due to breakouts and the chest tends to be popular due to sun exposure or premature ageing’ says Alicia.
Are chemical peels safe on darker skin?
Despite the reluctance of many practitioners to perform peels on darker skin, when in the right hands, darker skin can absolutely benefit from a chemical peel. A lot of the hesitance stems from misconceptions about dark skin, inexperienced practitioners and horror stories from those who have had the wrong peel for their skin or not followed aftercare instructions (I’m sure most of you have seen that TikTok).
‘Dark skin tones can have chemical peels. The caveat is the person doing the peel needs to be a skin expert, have experience treating darker skin tones and have a range of peels available for different skin shades’ says Dr Ifeoma Ejikeme, owner of Adonis Clinic.
It is really important not to attempt to give yourself a peel at home. Whilst there are a few superficial peels on the market which are created for home use, most need to be applied by a professional. Darker skin is more prone to both hyperpigmentation (darkening of the skin) and hypopigmentation (lightening of the skin) after a chemical peel. So, going to an experienced professional is essential and depending on which peel you get, your skin may be prepped beforehand for up to 4 weeks to guarantee optimal results and minimal side effects.
How can you maintain results from a chemical peel?
When you get a chemical peel you should be given really clear aftercare instructions. This may include some special products to use or just advice on how to tailor your current routine to enhance and maintain the results. It is important to keep the new skin hydrated and protected with a gentle routine. Whilst you may be tempted to exfoliate away some of the dry flaky skin, remember your skin has just been intensely exfoliated and doesn’t need more!
Your practitioner will advise when you can resume the use of exfoliants and retinoids (usually 3-14 days post peel). If you’ve had a medium depth peel, you may also be advised to avoid any activities which will make you sweat for a few days, whilst your skin heals. ‘A great way to look at aftercare is to include some of the ingredients that were used in your chemical peel but at an over the counter level’ recommend Alicia. ‘All that being said, sunscreen is probably the most important thing and without it, all your results will be lost.’
If you would like to get a chemical peel, I recommend checking out the services of our featured Skincare Experts:
Dr Rupesh Shah: https://www.londonlipclinic.co.uk
Dr Ifeoma Ejikeme: https://www.adoniamedicalclinic.co.uk
Alicia Lartey: https://app.acuityscheduling.com/schedule.php?owner=20163747