Introduction to Facial Skin Peels
A skin peel or chemical peel is a non-invasive procedure that helps to restore a more fresh and youthful appearance. It smoothens and improves the texture of facial skin by removing damaged layers and rejuvenating the surface. There are different types of skin peels and they are explained in more detail below.
Am I suitable?
Most patients come to us for a skin peel as they are unhappy with fine lines, wrinkles, acne scarring or skin damage. There are many different peels available at Sthetix and we will take your individual case into consideration when advising on the best course of treatment (for example a medium depth peel is most suitable for those with sun damaged skin).
However, skin peels are not suitable for all skins, so a consultation and full skin analysis is required before any treatment is performed. It is important to note that chemical peels can’t alter the size of pores, improve sagging skin or remove deep scars. We don’t recommend skin peels for patients who have a history of skin scars, any abnormal pigmentation, facial warts, Afro-Caribbean and Asian skin (as loss of skin pigments can occur), red hair and freckled skin, or patients who have used certain acne treatments (containing salicylic acid) within the last year.
The procedure and risks
There are many different types of skin peels available at Sthetix and they are outlined below:
A superficial peel is the most commonly used treatment that quickly and easily removes the outer layer of cells and exfoliates the skin in order to give it a rejuvenated and healthy glow. During this procedure, the face is cleansed and the peel solution (usually an alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) such as glycolic acid) is then applied and left for 2-10 minutes. Whilst the peel is on the face, it may tingle slightly. After the suitable duration of time, the peel is washed off and neutralised. The skin will look a little pink after the peel has been washed off and may show white discolouration or blotches, but don’t worry, they usually fade in 1-2 hours. This procedure has no after-effects and you can return to work immediately after.
After a superficial peel, the skin will immediately appear brighter and more radiant. It is recommended that the treatment is repeated once a week for 4-6 weeks and then maintained with a monthly peel.
Medium depth peel
A medium depth peel penetrates further into the skin to reduce fine lines and small wrinkles as well as helping to treat acne, pigmentation and scarring. This procedure lasts for about an hour and can help to smoothen out and even your skin texture as well as reduce the appearance of spots, blemishes and acne scars.
During this procedure, the skin is cleansed and the peel solution (usually TCA or trichloroacetic acid) is evenly applied. The treated area then turns a whitish grey colour over several minutes. When this happens, cool saline compresses are then applied to neutralise the acid in the peel. Please note that the face may swell a little when the peel is applied and the burning or stinging will last for about an hour after your treatment. For a medium depth peel, the recovery period usually lasts for about a week or more depending on how quickly you heal (older skin heals more slowly). In the 5-6 days after the treatment, the skin may turn dark brown with white streaks. It will then itch and begin to peel, to reveal bright and red skin that fades to fresh pink over the next 3-6 weeks.
We recommend that you repeat the treatment every month until you achieve the effect you want. Once you have achieved your desired results, we also recommend that you maintain the effects with a peel every 6-12 months.
The results from the peels will not be noticeable until the skin has peeled off and then healed. In order for the skin to heal properly and for you achieve the best results possible, it's important to follow the aftercare instructions and use the home care products you will be given after your treatment.
To maintain your results, we highly recommend that patients use sunscreen (factor 30 or higher, even if it isn’t sunny weather) in the first 3 months after their treatment as this helps prevent increased pigmentation (new skin may have too much pigmentation that turns to brown blotches in sunlight). You can also help to maintain your results by stopping smoking and drinking alcohol, drinking plenty of water and exercising regularly, as this helps improve circulation. A healthy diet and regular sunscreen use will also help to prevent deterioration. And finally, anti-ageing cosmetics containing fruit acids, or retinol, as well as using our home care system can also help to improve the skin's appearance.
What is the recovery period?
This depends on your rate of healing and the type of treatment you have had but most patients recover within 5 days, although the skin may not be fully healed for several weeks.
When can I go back to work?
This depends on the type of peel but patients can usually return to work either immediately, or within the next 5 days following their treatment.