How to Safely Peel the Skin While At Home
Chemical peels are exfoliants that are a higher strength level than exfoliants found over the counter. The pH level of chemical peels is around 2.0. While some exfoliants use the same acids found in chemical peels, they are often not classified as such because their pH level is great than 2.0, making them less acidic and lower in strength. Chemical peels work to restore the skin by removing the keratin layer of dead skin cells that is found on the epidermal surface of the skin. Peels also stimulate healthy production of new epidermal cells. During the healing process of chemical peels, the quality of the skin's appearance and texture will improve. While the words “chemical” and “peel” sound pretty scary beside each other, chemical peels are quite common these days. They are often used to treat discoloration, acne, fine lines & wrinkles, melasma, sun spots, clogged pores, blackheads, rough skin texture. They are also helpful in exfoliating the skin for better absorption of serums or other skincare products.
Peeling StrengthsSkin peels consist of three main strengths:
- Superficial. Natural or low-level chemical peels that involve little to no downtime. Great for minor discoloration and textured skin. Also known as “lunchtime peels”, and how low sensitivity to the sun.
- Medium. Penetrates the middle layer of skin to regenerate damaged skin cells. Good for light scarring, fine lines & moderate wrinkles, melasma, sun spots, dark marks, and discoloration. Medium peels have moderate sensitivity to the sun.
- Deep. Deeply penetrates the middle layer of the skin. Deep peels and targets severe scarring, deep wrinkles, heavy discoloration, and damaged or textured skin. High-percentage chemical peels fall in this category and often require downtime. These should not be done at home by a licensed skin professional.
Types of Peels
- Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) - superficial peels that are naturally derived. Examples: mandelic (apple), lactic (dairy), or glycolic (sugar cane).
- Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs) - lipid-based acids. A prime example is a salicylic acid. Great for oily skin.
- Jessner's Peels - a combination of acids.
- Trichloroacetic Acid (TCA) - for medium-deep peels and often administered by a licensed professional.
- Phenol Peels - or carbolic acid. The strongest of all acids and only used for deep peels.