Chemical Peel Treatment Near Me: Expectations Vs. Reality
Chemical Peel Near Me: Expectations Vs. Reality
After years of photodamage, dirt, acne, and chronic skin conditions, sometimes our skincare routines aren’t enough. We need something else to reduce acne clear up ongoing skin conditions, and a chemical peel can do just that. Unfortunately, there are a lot of misconceptions about chemical peels. So, before you go searching for ‘chemical peel treatment near me’ on Google, let’s help you clear up the expectations and realities of the procedure.
What are chemical peels?
From soured milk and lemon extracts to animal oils and sour grapes, chemical peels have been around for hundreds of years in different forms. These remedies and formulas have been passed down, and with medical advancements, doctors have been able to isolate the compounds in these ancient strategies. Today, chemical peels involve using a chemical solution to resurface the skin by removing dead skin layers.
In our younger years, dead skin turns over and sloughs off with ease. However, this can slow significantly with age, environmental triggers, diet, stress, and much more. Chemical peels speed up the process, removing these unwanted layers to reveal the fresher, brighter skin hidden beneath. We each have different skin concerns, and there are different strengths of chemical peels to impact different layers of your skin.
Expectation: Chemical peels are strictly for cosmetic purposes
Some patients are surprised when a dermatologist recommends a chemical peel. There is a common belief that it is purely for cosmetic purposes. This is true as the primary use was for a fresh, smooth look. However, research and results have shown that chemical peels could address a range of skin conditions that simple over-the-counter skin care products cannot fix.
Reality: It treats a range of skin conditions.
Chemical peels at different strengths are perfect for some of today’s most prevalent skin issues. For instance, your dermatologist may recommend a peel to treat acne and deep acne scars. It’s also effective for hyperpigmentation and photoaging due to excessive sun exposure. Other conditions include rosacea, melasma, wrinkles, and even precancerous growths. Over multiple sessions, most patients see exceptional results.
Expectation: You just need one chemical peel
It’s easy to think that a chemical peel is a one-and-done affair. Most people who’ve had chemical peels usually talk about having just one session. Yes, one chemical peel can bring great results. But to see long-term benefits, you will need to go beyond one session with your dermatologist.
Reality: A chemical peel is a strategic therapy that takes time
There are three chemical peels: light peels, medium peels, and deep peels. These peels have different concentrations and should be handled by a board-certified dermatologist or esthetician. Your dermatologist will choose the right peel for your condition and create a strategic plan that sometimes involves several sessions of peels. Be sure to plan the recovery time based on the suggested chemical peels.
The three types of chemical peels
Superficial chemical peels are gentle peels consisting of alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) or beta hydroxy acids (BHAs). These peels target the stratum corneum, which is the topmost layer of your skin. Light peels are perfect for all skin types, including sensitive skin. If you’re looking for a reset for a big event, a chemical peel may be right for you. Some typical light peels include:
- Salicylic acid, a BHA found in plants like willow bark. Salicylic acid exfoliates the skin, clearing up dirt and even mild acne.
- Mandelic acid is a gentle chemical peel. This AHA brightens your skin, helps with cell turnover and is excellent for fighting acne and early signs of aging.
- Glycolic acid, a colorless and odorless compound that comes from sugarcane. If you’re looking to manage hyperpigmentation, melasma, sun spots, mild wrinkles, and mild acne, this one is for you.
- Lactic acid is another gentle chemical peel option. Lactic acid is one of the first even chemical peels derived from sour milk. It can brighten your skin, reduce acne, remove mild blemishes and signs of hyperpigmentation.
Medium chemical peels
Medium peels target deeper layers of the epidermis and the top layers of the dermis. These peels treat moderate to severe skin conditions that light peels cannot handle. These conditions include acne scars, long-term hyperpigmentation, wrinkles, and signs of aging. The same acids used for light peels are often used in medium peels but at higher concentrations. For instance, your salicylic acid medium peel will go past 30%. Glycolic acid peels can go up to 70% concentration. Only a dermatologist can determine the best concentration to deal with your needs.
30% – 50% Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) is another popular solution used for medium peels. It comes from acetic acid, which is common in vinegar. TCA attacks the bonds that hold skin layers together (keratin), allowing these to slough off easily. This is great for deeper acne scars, hyperpigmentation, deeper wrinkles, and sunspots.
Deep chemical peels
Your dermatologist will use deep peels in specific, severe circumstances as they impact the deeper parts of the dermis. Candidates for deep peels include people with severe scarring, deep wrinkles, or severe damage due to hyperpigmentation. Patients with possible precancerous growths may also benefit from deep peels. Deep peels usually involve TCA or other chemicals (for instance, phenol peels) at their highest possible concentrations.
Expectation: People of color should not have chemical peels
There’s a common misconception that people with dark skin tones should avoid chemical peels. People of color (Black, Hispanic, Latino, Asian, Native American, and so on) are more prone to hyperpigmentation. Since chemical peels impact the layers of your skin, there is a higher chance of skin damage. This has led the Skin Of Color community away from chemical peels.
Reality: Anyone can have chemical peels, but it’s all about strength.
Chemical peels are a great way to address some long-standing skin conditions, and that includes people of color. In fact, chemical peels are just as effective for treating acne, dark spots, hyperpigmentation, and wrinkles in darker skin tones as it is for lighter ones. The problem lies with the strength of the chemical peels. Superficial peels are perfect for dark skin tones and, in some cases, even medium peels. Deep peels, however, may cause irreparable damage. You must have a trusted dermatologist who understands dark skin tones for your chemical peels. They will only use the gentlest yet most effective formulations for your skin type.
Expectation: Your medical health does not matter
Can anyone get a chemical peel? The expectation is that since this is strictly a skin treatment, there should be no limit on who could get a chemical peel. Yet, you’d be surprised that after searching for a ‘chemical peel near me’ and visiting a dermatologist, the doctor may advise you against the procedure. To provide safe yet effective results, you should meet some basic health requirements.
Reality: Not all patients are good candidates for chemical peels
With any cosmetic or medical procedure, there are some risks. To minimize these risks and avoid severe complications, some patients might not be good candidates for peels. For instance, pregnant women planning to become pregnant or breastfeeding should not have chemical peels. The same goes for patients with existing skin conditions undergoing separate treatment, who tend to get keloid skin, or certain existing medical conditions. At Eternal Dermatology + Aesthetics, we thoroughly consult all candidates looking for chemical peels.
Expectation: You will have a severe reaction after your peel
Most people are turned off from chemical peels due to stories of burning, scarring, redness, and poor experiences. One of the biggest deterrents of chemical peels is the scene from Sex and the City where Samantha has a severe reaction after her treatment. Most cases happen because of poor consultation or an inexperienced provider administering chemical peels. Chemical peels should be provided by a board-certified dermatologist or certified esthetician only.
Reality: Patients may get some uncomfortable side effects.
With any cosmetic procedure, there is a chance of side effects post-procedure. There is a chance you’ll experience redness, swelling, and irritation for a few days after the procedure. These symptoms are more intense as you move from light peels to medium peels. The discomfort should subside after a few days. If necessary, apply a cold compress to the affected area and avoid scratching the skin. For severe reactions, see your doctor immediately.
Expectation: You see immediate results.
If you have an interview, wedding, or important media event, you may think a chemical peel is a quick fix. Heading to your dermatologist a day or two before your event is not ideal. Chemical peels are one of the most effective forms of skincare, but it takes time to see the full results. For some peels, you may need to go as much as two weeks before your intended event. Chemical peels speed up the cell turnover process, but it still takes time.
Reality: It may look worse before it looks better.
You’ll need the extra lead time for your peel because the skin can look worse before it gets better. A few days after your peel, your skin will start to peel away to go along with the redness and irritation. This could look a bit scary at first, but it’s an integral part of the process. Picking or peeling off the skin with your hands will irritate the fresh skin underneath and transfer bacteria which can more easily penetrate your skin. Make sure to moisturize with clean hands at least twice daily to keep your skin healthy and avoid irritation.
Light and medium peels can take several days before seeing the results. Deep peels require downtime of at least 2 weeks. There could be severe redness, swelling, and irritation during that time. Your dermatologist or plastic surgeon will bandage the skin and advise you of the treatment options to reduce pain and speed up healing. Deep peels are a serious procedure, so make sure to plan for time away from work to recover properly.
Expectation: You can use an at-home chemical peels
Chemical peels and chemical peel solutions are widely available online or in beauty stores. In some cases, the concentration is on par with the chemical peels your dermatologist will use in the office. It’s tempting to do your own chemical peel at home, but can you guarantee the results?
Reality: Chemical peels can damage your skin if used incorrectly
Chemical peels require both nuance and experience. For example, you can use the wrong percentage peel for your skin type or needs. Even if you get that right, you can leave it on for too long. The result can be post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, uneven skin tone, or scarring in both instances. Despite the accessibility, make sure to lean on the experience of a dermatologist, plastic surgeon, or esthetician.
Get the most out of your chemical peel.
The facts remain that chemical peels effectively treat acne, wrinkles, scarring, and hyperpigmentation. Of course, there are several misconceptions about peels, but the reality is they have high success and satisfaction rates. The important thing is that you find someone who understands how chemical peels work and which ones are the best for your skin type and needs. At Eternal Dermatology + Aesthetics, our lead dermatologists are exceptionally skilled in chemical peels, receiving additional training specifically for this art. They will perform the procedure safely, so you get the most benefits at near-zero risk. Schedule a quick consultation or chemical peel appointment today if you’re looking for a chemical peel treatment near me. We serve patients in the Fulton, Howard County, Silver Springs, and Maryland areas.