Episode 103: Chemical Peels – Debunking the myths & teaching you how to reveal your best skin yet

Episode 103: Chemical Peels 

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Learning the truth about peels like..

Chemical Peels – an overwhelming subject. Who’s a candidate? What’s going to happen to my skin? Will I look like Samantha from Sex and the City? What is my true down time? SO many questions! That is why we decided to sit down with Emily Rowan, PCA’s Director of Inside Sales, to debunk all the myths surrounding peels and help you understand how to incorporate this treatment into your skin care routine. 

What is a chemical peel? There are different types of exfoliation techniques; enzymatic, mechanical, and chemical. Chemical peels are a part of the chemical exfoliation classification as they are a blend of (safe) and active ingredients that are specifically targeted to treat specific skin types and conditions while simultaneously shedding the dead layers from your surface of your skin. 

Who is best suited for a peel? Chemical peels have come a long way when it comes to versatility, aggressiveness, and downtime. With the right formulation and provider, just about every single skin type and condition can safely tolerate a peel. Depending on the condition you are aiming to target, a blend of lactic, salicylic, glycolic, or TCA acids may be appropriate for you. 

How often should you have a chemical peel? Depending on the condition being treated, peels are typically safely tolerated every 4-6 weeks. 

Common Myths/Misconceptions. Some of the main myths we debunked on this episode are “You must peel to have a peel”, “Peels are wildly aggressive and uncomfortable”, and “You will look like Samantha from Sex and the City if you have a peel”. Not necessarily! And often not at all!

Types of Chemical Peels. As mentioned, peels have come a LONG way in regards to their aggressiveness and downtime required to have a peel. With some formulations, chemical peels may provide peeling that occurs at a cellular level. 

With most light/progressive/superficial chemical peels (all interchangeable names you may hear), you may or may not expect a mild shedding and/or flaking of the skin (and while only sometimes it visible to the naked eye) it is only temporary and typically lasts 3-7 days post-procedure. But for those whose skin barrier is in optimal health with a stronger barrier, the skin may not even show physical peeling at all…Not to worry- it’s still doing its job!

When it comes to a mid-depth chemical peel, actual physical peeling of the skin will likely take place for 3-7 days post treatment and come off in larger pieces (unlike a light peel). Some patients might consider this type of peel requiring more “downtime” as flaking skin is not ideal prior to a big event or going to work, for example. With mid-depth peels the skin will likely be pink, feel warm, resembling a sunburn. Prior to the skin peeling, the skin will also feel slightly sensitized and potentially turn darker and even crusty in area of hyperpigmentation prior to the peeling process. Your skin care professional should be providing you with home care and instructions for these types of advanced chemical peels.

Mid-depth peels should not be confused with “surgical grade” peels that are often used during plastic surgery procedures, and require the use of anesthesia as they are not easily tolerated without the use of sedation. “Surgical”- grade peels are more intense, and absolutely require at least 4-6 weeks of downtime with a majority of the peeling occuring within the first 2-3 weeks, and are overseen by a medical professional, or physician. Surgical peels are very active, and not well-suited for all skin types and conditions. A patient can also expect to be red and/or pink for several months post-peel as true collagen stimulation is occuring for months after the procedure. 

What is a “Fitzpatrick Type” and why is that important when considering chemical peels? The Fitzpatrick scale is a skin type classification scale that was designed to measure how each skin type may react to sun exposure, and how likely you would be to burn. While the scale is still used for this purpose, it is also used in the treatment room to help providers know and measure the safety and efficacy a specific acid blend and chemical peel could be for a potential patient/client.

How much does a chemical peel cost? Depending on the blend and if it is used with another modality (ie; dermaplaning, microdermabrasion, etc.) patients typically pay between $100-300 per treatment.

Have more questions or want to book a treatment? Find a professional in your area using the PCA Skin Locate a Pro tool here.

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