Most of us have heard of the blanket term ‘’peels and microdermabrasion,’’ but do you know what they do and how they work on the skin. Yes, they make the skin glow, feel soft and smooth and are generally nice to have done but a lot of us do not know how we achieve this on the skin and the science behind it.
In this blog we will be covering the different types of chemical peels and what they are used for. We will also explain microdermabrasion – how it works and its indications. We will cover the science of these skin treatments so you understand why your clinician may choose one of these treatments next time you enter your nearest skin clinic.
Chemical peels are the blanket name for a range of topical solutions that are applied to the skin to exfoliate it. The chemical component and strength of the peel gives it its action and determines what skin type we use it for, enabling us as skin therapists to customize a peel program for our patients given their presenting concerns. These peel solutions work by dissolving the bonds between skin cells encouraging cellular renewal whilst hydrating, thickening the outer layer of the skin, and brightening it. Some peels are more targeted to acne and breakouts while others are better for reducing pigmentation.
Below is a list of common peel active ingredients and what they are indicated for.
Lactic acid: Lactic acid is a popular peel used to exfoliate the skin. It acts to hydrate, brighten, and improve overall skin health. It is part of the Alpha Hydroxy Acid family.
Salicylic Acid: Also known as Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA), this not only exfoliates the skin, but it also reduces inflammation in breakouts and reduces pain, whilst dissolving oil in the sebaceous glands and improving sun damaged pigmented skin types. This peel agent when applied to the skin can feel warm and stingy which lasts only a few minutes before it subsides. People that are allergic to aspirin are contraindicated to this ingredient.
Mandelic Acid: Mandelic Acid peels give the skin the best of both worlds. It acts like an Alpha Hydroxy Acid and a Beta Hydroxy Acid but produces less irritation than Salicylic Acid due to its larger molecular size which makes the product penetrate the skin slower. Great for people new to chemical peels and wanting to build up to stronger BHA peels or are sensitive to these.
Glycolic Acid: Glycolic Acid is an Alpha Hydroxy Acid and is reported in research to be recommended for pigmented skins whilst giving the benefits of hydration, brightening and exfoliation.
TCA: TCA peels can be used for scarring and skin rejuvenation purposes. This peel thickens the epidermis and dermis by stimulating collagen fibres. TCA reduces pigmentation and causes the skin to shed in the following days post treatment.
Peels often have other active ingredients in them to target certain skin types. Other ingredients found in peels can include: Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Niacinamide, Kojic Acid, Azelaic Acid, Tranexamic Acid, Plant Botanicals and so on giving peels an added boost, hence making them a popular treatment option.
Microdermabrasion exfoliates the Stratum Corneum – the outer surface of the skin whilst improving the barrier function and thickening the skin. This can be done using a diamond tip, using crystals, bristle tip and the newest technique via the use of water. All techniques use a mechanical action meaning the dead skin cells are removed from the skin using a mechanical force. This treatment can be used for people that are prone to breakouts, are looking to freshen the skin, dry flakey skin, scars, body acne, blocked pores/blackheads, keratosis pilaris, pigmentation, before laser treatments, improve skin texture and general ageing concerns.
If you’re interested in booking a chemical peel or microdermabrasion treatment, phone us on (02)6282 1155 or email: email@example.com
BHSc (Dermal Sciences)