Chemical Peels 101: How They Work and How They Can Benefit Your Skin

A dermatologist tells you everything that you need to know about chemical peels

Chemical peels have been around for a while now having been discovered in the 90s as the most effective answer to pigmentation, mild scars, discolouration and blemishes. As newer treatments arrived, peels were pushed to the background. But recently there has been a surge in women opting for chemical peels to address skin issues. If you are wondering what the hype is all about, we got Dr Mikki Singh, dermatologist, Bodycraft Skin Clinic, Bangalore & Mumbai, to tell you all that you need to know and why you could get it done.

"Chemical peels are skin resurfacing procedures where a chemical solution is applied to the skin in order to exfoliate it resulting in smoother and younger looking skin,” says Dr Mikki.

Chemical Peels offer multiple benefits that include lightening signs of blemishes, uneven pigmentation, discolouration, and mild scars, resulting in clearer, brighter, and smoother skin. The treatment shows the best results ideally after multiple sittings. “Peels provide a combination of mechanical and chemical exfoliation that is more effective than exfoliating face washes,” explains Dr Mikki. 

Chemical peels can be of different types. The different kind of chemical peels are:
Superficial peels: These peels penetrate into the outermost layer of the skin. 

Medium Peel: They make it more effective for removing damaged skin cells.

Deep peels: These peels will penetrate the middle layer of the skin to remove damaged skin cells

chemical peel

Each skin is different and so are the concerns. “It is very important to address the concern with the right kind of peel, informs Dr Mikki. She lists the most common concerns and the peels that can be used to treat them below: 

1. Pigmentation and acne-prone skin can be treated with glycolic acid peel. 

2. Acne-prone and oily skin can be treated with salicylic acid peel. It is not recommended for sensitive skin. 

3. Pigmented skin that has dark spots can be treated with citric acid peel. This peel is suitable for all skin types.

4. Pigmented and sun-damaged skin needs meline peel.

You will have a recuperation period after going for a peeling service. “The length of the recuperation period depends upon the depth of the peel and the quality of home care. Deep peels can take longer to heal,” says Dr Mikki.

Dr Mikki suggests what you need to do and avoid after a peel. This is highly critical if you want good results. 

Avoid sun exposure while the skin heals. Use a good broad-spectrum sunscreen/sunblock and preferably wear a hat when stepping out. Applying sunscreen regularly will help maintain the benefit of the peel.

Avoid waxing or depilatories for 48 hours before treatment and for seven days after the chemical peel treatment.

Do not use exfoliating scrubs or products that contain glycolic acid or benzoyl peroxide for at least 24 hours before and after the Chemical Peel treatment.

Stay away from drying or irritating agents while the skin heals.

Self peeling, pulling or scratching the treated skin can lead to permanent scarring.

Avoid physical exertion for at least 24 hours. 

It is always advisable to go for a moisturising facial post peeling (after the skin has healed) to keep your skin hydrated as peels do dry your skin to an extent.

Consult your local cosmetologist to figure out what suits your skin before you opt for chemical peels of your choice.