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Chemical Peels 101

For many of us the idea of having a chemical peel can be a bit daunting, however, natural acid based peels can have exceptional rejuvenating benefits. One of the reasons why some are put off by it, is the extreme sounding words: ‘chemical’, ‘acid’ and ‘peel’. To put it more simply, chemical peels are just deeply exfoliating facials that use natural acid-based solutions. When done in a clinical environment and performed by a dermatologist, chemical peels will be perfectly tailored for the client’s skin type and skin condition, ensuring a positive result.

How does it work?

Our skin is made up of layers, where the bottom layer is the newest and the outmost layer is the oldest. As the body renews our skin cells, the fresh and hydrated layers are pushed outward and to make room for these new layers, the outer layer of dead skin cells is shed. This process of continuous skin cell renewal, where the outer layers absorb most environmental damage, keeps our skin looking fresh.

When we’re young this cycle of skin cell renewal takes roughly a month, and our skin looks perfectly healthy. However, when we grow older this process starts to take longer, doubling the time it takes this cycle to complete. For our skin this means two things: it takes longer for the healthy new skin cells to generate, but also, it takes longer for the dead skin cells to shed. These dead skin cells build up and can cause congestion, dull looking skin and an increase in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Because our bodies produce new cells at a slower rate, it takes much longer to repair damage that happens to our skin, resulting in more imperfections, sun damage and uneven complexion.

To speed up this skin cell renewal cycle, Chemical Peels dissolve the glue-like bonds that keep the excessive dead skin cells attached. Getting rid of the dead skin cells results directly in a healthier, fresher appearance of the skin. On top of that, after a couple of days your body will recognize that the outer layer is missing, jump-starting the process of cell renewal. When a chemical peel is done regularly, our bodies adjust and start producing new skin cells more regularly, behaving like a younger skin, repairing and correcting imperfections at a quicker rate.

Types of Chemical Peels

Chemical Peels are usually divided into three categories, as with all things in medicine, choosing which one is right for you should be left to a trained and experienced medical professional. A lot of different factors determine the choice of chemical peel that best suits your needs, including but not limited to: baseline skin pigmentation, the use of additional topical agents, potential for skin irritation, active skin conditions, and the propensity for scarring.

Superficial peel: A mild strength acid is applied to the outer layer of the skin for a gentle exfoliation. This process improves the appearance of mild skin discoloration and rough skin, resulting in fresher-looking skin.

Medium peel: With this peel, a medium strength acid is applied to penetrate the outer and middle layers of the skin. The treatment removes damaged skin cells, improves age spots, fine lines, freckles, wrinkles, and moderate skin discoloration.

Deep peel: High concentration TCA or phenol is applied for a deep penetration of the middle layer of the skin to carefully remove damaged skin cells. This treatment however, is not recommended for darker skin types and sunny climates.

The main difference lies in the concentrations of acid, ph-levels and types of acids used.


Popular Treatments

Chemical Peels can be effectively used to treat a wide range of skin conditions. To give you an idea, here are some of the more popular ones a dermatologist can achieve excellent results for with a Chemical Peel.


A variety of acidic combinations can be used for hyperpigmentation, skin whitening and to combat the effects of photo-ageing. A popular combination peel that is used to treat difficult epidermal pigmentation consists of Azelaic acid, Resorcinol and Phytic acid. This combination of chemical exfoliants inhibits the formation of abnormal melanin pigmentations and breaks the cohesion of the corneal layer of keratinocytes.


To treat acne, Salicylic acid peels can do wonders. Salicylic acid is an acid solution that, when applied topically to the skin, can often reduce imperfections, tightens open pores and smoothens the skin. It will also leave one’s skin fresher and younger looking.


If you are looking to uncover the smooth and younger skin beneath what you have now, you might be considering a glycolic acid peel. As far as chemical peels go, glycolic acid peels are among the mildest and most popular. That’s largely because glycolic acid is considered to be natural.

Often one chemical peel isn’t enough. You will usually be given a series of between 4 and 6 treatments over a prescribed period of time.


Get in touch with our highly qualified dermatologist and find out how you can get rejuvenating results, rivaling more invasive procedures, for a fraction of the cost.