When patients hear the words “chemical peel” they have many different thoughts as to what the actual outcome will be. Due to a lot of misinformation readily available on the internet and in the general media, chemical peeling can make people nervous. lets clear up any misconceptions surrounding chemical peels to ensure a positive experience. This philosophy incorporates a progressive, rather than aggressive experience with little or no downtime following a peel, yet still achieve outstanding results.
Myth 1.) Skin should “peel” some patients who had a chemical peel come back to you and say, “Your treatment didn’t work because I didn’t peel.” Visible exfoliation doesn’t determine the efficacy of treatment. Generally, healthy skin has less visible exfoliation. Exfoliation often takes place at the cellular level and is not always apparent to the naked eye. Conversely, some patients’ skin is so impacted that it can take a few peels to loosen dead cells enough to allow them to shed. Typically, these patients will see little or no peeling initially, and then see sloughing after a few treatments.
Myth 2.) My skin is too sensitive for a chemical peel – Sensitive skin is defined as a heightened intolerance to topical products or external factors. Sensitive Skin presents itself as red, irritated or scaly. A trained facial therapist will use a low-dose approach; meaning, inducing the least amount of trauma to the skin to achieve optimal results. This treatment approach provides calming & soothing properties and helps to clear follicle debris, making it an excellent choice for helping sensitive skin types.
Myth 3.) It’s fine to hit the gym after having a peel – The epidermis is comprised of several layers and when a chemical peel is applied, even if it’s very superficial, it can cause a separation of these layers. Any activity that induces heat and sweating, either from a work out, an athletic activity or sitting in the sauna, can cause water to become trapped between the epidermal layers. This may result in blistering and, depending on the severity of the blistering, lead to an uneven skin tone. Another reason to stay cool following a peel is that internal heat can also lead to uneven skin tone. Its always recommended to remain cool for 48 hours post-peel to avoid any heat-related complications post-treatment.
Myth 4.) Acetone is best to prep skin for peels – Skin must be clean and degreased to maximize penetration of chemical peel solutions. While acetone is often used because it is a strong and biocompatible solvent, it is not ideal for pre-peel prep. Acetone not only removes excess sebum that hinders peel penetration, but it also over-strips skin of essential cholesterol and lipids. This can leave skin overly dry post-procedure and last for weeks following treatment, causing undue discomfort for patients. The lactic and citric acid base of a smoothing toner provides an astringent that gently and effectively removes any remaining sebum and debris post-cleansing, without drying out skin.
Myth 5.) I will expect the same outcome each time I receive a peel – The amount of visible exfoliation depends on current skin conditions, combined with atmospheric conditions like humidity, which may cause flakes to adhere to the skin more so than in dry climates. Further, there may be a lot of visible exfoliation after the first treatment and less for the second, but this does not mean the first treatment worked better than the second. Moreover, someone who has previously had peel treatments may not have as much visible exfoliation as someone who has never or rarely gets treatments, as these patients will have more build-up. Everyone has a different tolerance for peels and that tolerance tends to grow with every treatment.
Myth 6.) Peels are not indicated for drier skin types – A well-formulated chemical peel minimizes the amount of impacted skin cells lying on the surface of the skin while delivering hydrating, firming, strengthening and brightening ingredients into the skin. Once the skin is free of the dull surface layer, any products applied topically will penetrate better, leaving skin healthy and hydrated.
Myth 7.) A daily care regimen and sunscreen only matter if I have problem skin or I’m out in the sun all day – Along with receiving regular treatments from a clinician; a patient’s daily care regimen is just as important to maintaining skin health. Patients must manage their own skin at least twice a day; that’s 60 times in any given month vs. a single monthly treatment from a clinician. Therefore, one professional treatment won’t be beneficial if the patient is not doing his or her own part on a daily basis to maintain the health of their skin. Further, using a broad spectrum sunscreen is especially important post-peel as the procedure sensitizes skin to the sun. Remember, peels work at the cellular level and are still working long after you’ve had the treatment. Thus, it’s important to incorporate sun protection into your daily care regimen.
Myth 8.) Peels are safe for patients with vitiligo – Vitiligo is an autoimmune disorder in which the body attacks its own pigment-producing cells (melanocytes), resulting in areas of depigmented skin. Because its presentation is on the skin, it makes sense that patients would think that chemical peels would help to “even out” skin tone. This, however, is untrue. Because this is an autoimmune disorder, treating it topically with a chemical peel will have little to no effect. While chemical peels are not the recommended course of action, there are other prescription medications and therapies available.
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