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everything you should know about chemical peels

Scary name aside, chemical peels are perfectly safe when done by a professional, and they do wonders for your skin. So, forget what you saw on that episode of ‘Sex and the City’ where Samantha gets a chemical peel and her face looks like beef carpaccio, and finally learn the truth about chemical peels.

what is a chemical peel?

Simply put, a chemical peel is a type of exfoliation treatment formulated with various acids at different strengths. They work to remove dead skin cells from the top layer of the skin, thereby providing a resurfacing effect and also stimulating cell renewal. This, in turn, results in an improvement in the tone and texture of your skin for an overall more glowy appearance.

There are different types of chemical peels and the one you choose depends on your skin type and what your skin goals are. Glycolic acid peels have amazing anti-ageing benefits, as they penetrate deep into the skin. Mandelic and lactic acid peels are gentler, making them perfect for sensitive and acne-prone skin. There are also those that have brightening ingredients, like kojic acid, which are used to specifically target hyperpigmentation. From fading fine lines to minimising pore size, it’s pretty safe to say there isn’t much a skin peel can't do.

at-home versus in-office chemical peels

Over-the-counter chemical peel formulas have lower concentrations of acids and are less potent than in-office peels, making them safe to do yourself with little risk. Of course, this also means the results won’t be as dramatic. Peels performed in-office by a professional contain higher concentrations of acids for more effective immediate results, but do come with some redness or downtime.

The ProPeel systems have been specifically formulated for in-office use by skincare professionals. For the best results, we recommend a course of six sessions, three to six weeks apart. Here are the options and their benefits: ProPeel glycolic citric: This peel system comes in three different strengths and can be used to improve rough texture, minimise fine lines and wrinkles, reduce pores, stimulate collagen and elastin production and increase hydration. ProPeel kojic: This peel system in conjunction with the above will boost the effect of glycolic acid and help lighten discolouration and hyperpigmentation. ProPeel mandelic lactic: This peel system is suitable for working against rough texture, fine lines and wrinkles, hyperpigmentation and acne on sensitive skin.

Click here to find a skincare professional in your area who uses the ProPeel systems in their practice. If you’re considering getting a professional-grade chemical peel (or are just curious), ahead, we break down what it entails.

what happens during a chemical peel?

First things first: If you’ve made an appointment for a professional peel, you should avoid using any other exfoliating products, like retinol, for at least a week before the treatment. At your appointment, your aesthetician will prep your skin by cleansing and degreasing the surface so the peel can penetrate better. Next, they’ll apply petroleum jelly to areas you want to protect, like around your eyes, nose and mouth. Then comes the chemical solution. How long it stays on your skin depends on the type and depth of peel used. The same goes for how much downtime or redness to expect post-treatment.

Which brings us to…

what’s the best depth of chemical peel for your skin?

Not sure if you should use a superficial, medium-depth or deep peel for your skin? Read on for a breakdown of each.

Superficial Peels: These light peels work to exfoliate just on the surface layer of the skin with little to no downtime and only minimal redness lasting around twenty minutes. This type of peel can be helpful when it comes to gradually improving the appearance of dark spots and fine lines and wrinkles. It’s so quick and painless that you can get one done in your lunch break. That said, you will see an immediate glow-up.

Medium-Depth Chemical Peels: This type of peel generally contains a 30% acid level and requires five to seven days downtime. Your skin will feel raw and must be kept covered with ointment. It’s used to treat significant photodamage, acne scars, sunspots and dark circles.

Deep Chemical Peels: Deep peels usually contain a 50% acid level and are quite useful for more serious skin problems like severe acne, saggy skin or excessive sun damage. It involves up to two weeks of downtime.

how to care for your skin post-peel?

It's completely normal for skin to feel tingly or look red following an in-office treatment. Our advice is to follow your skincare professional’s post-care instructions, but in general, you should avoid using retinol or any exfoliants in the days after your treatment. Also, you must use sun protection and reapply throughout the day.

As always, the most important thing to remember is to get your peel done by an experienced professional, and you should be glowing in no time!