The Basics of Peeling

Although they may seem like another innovation of modern skin care, chemical peels have a long history dating back to ancient times. The agents and methods used for peeling have evolved with technology and research, the overall goal of peels, however, has remained the same: glowing and rejuvenated skin.

Peels are a popular and beneficial choice for those seeking to slough away dead skin, reduce the appearance of acne scars or discoloration, or even turn back the clock a bit. Many modern skin peels can revitalize your appearance, by improving skin texture and luminescence, diminishing fine lines and tightening sagging skin.

A woman reclining comfortably in a professional spa setting, receiving a chemical peel treatment by a skilled aesthetician. The aesthetician is carefully applying a peel solution to the woman’s face, focusing on rejuvenation and skin health.The Skinny on Peels

Chemical peels work by removing the top layers of the skin. Though this may sound scary, peels provide a controlled “injury” to the skin, which stimulates the body’s natural reaction to heal. Regenerative growth factors are directed to the area and stimulate collagen and elastin production, making your skin stronger, more supple and giving it smoother appearance. Also, by removing this top skin layer, any rough texture or superficial discoloration is also removed, bringing out new, more luminous skin. Peels also make your everyday skincare more effective, allowing it to penetrate deeper to achieve optimal results.

There are a variety of peels made to suit most skin types. Each peel offers different levels of strength, skin penetration and end results. Visible skin shedding may be significant or minor, depending on the type of peel chosen. Medical-grade chemical peels are categorized as superficial, medium-depth or deep based on their penetration depth into the skin. Superficial peels are typically used for milder issues like dullness and fine lines. Medium-depth peels are effective in addressing moderate problems such as acne scars and pigmentation, while deep peels arereserved for severe skin damage and deep wrinkles.

Types of Peels

Enzymatic Peels

These peels use natural enzymes like papain and bromelain to gently exfoliate the skin. Those enzymes “eat away” superficial dead skin cells, leaving behind brighter and healthier complexion. These peels are perfect for home use and are gentle enough for sensitive skin. Their action is immediate, and there is zero down time, but the effect is shorter acting than with traditional chemical peels.

Alpha Hydroxy Acid Peels

Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) are mild organic acids (glycolic, lactic, tartaric, and malic) that often come from fruit, sugar, or milk. Peels containing AHAs slough off dead skin and are used to improve overall skin tone and texture, as well asreduce the appearance of fine lines, dark spots or acne. AHA peels are mild, causethe least irritation and require the least amount of downtime.

Beta Hydroxy Acid Peels

Beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) peels address the same issues as AHAs (dark spots, fine lines and dead skin) but penetrate more deeply than AHA peels. The most commonly used BHA is salicylic acid, which is found in wintergreen leaves and birch bark. Because BHA peels penetrate more deeply into the skin, they not only address superficial concerns, but also stimulate collagen and elastin production in your dermis leading to improvement in overall skin quality. BHA peels are an excellent choice to improve skin texture, reverse signs of mild photodamage orpost-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and control melasma. These peels are also anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial, therefore work well for sensitive or acne-prone skin.

Trichloroacetic Acid Peels

Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) peels penetrate deeper than most chemical peels. Penetration depth depends on concentration of TCA and the number of applications performed. TCA peel works by coagulating skin protein, which dissolves the top layer of skin. It can be used to treat deeper skin discoloration, fine lines, and wrinkles. TCA peels should be used with caution in patients with darker complexion, as it may result in hyperpigmentation.

Combination and Customized Peels

Combination peels are exactly what they sound, several active ingredients, usually in lower concentrations, are combined into one peel solution to give you the best result with the least down time. Peel treatments can also be combined with other therapies, such as microneedling or laser treatments, to amplify results and improve skin tone and texture.

Safety and Precautions

Professional Assessment

Before undergoing any chemical peel, you should receive a thorough assessment by a trained skin care professional, who can determine the most suitable treatment based on your skin type and concerns.

Pre-Peel Preparation 

Some peels may require preparation up to several weeks before the treatment. This may include discontinuing certain skin care products and medications to minimize the risk of complications. Pre-peel preparation with corrective skin care helps ensure maximum benefit of results.

Post-Peel Care

Following a peel, you should adhere to a specific skin care regimen as advised byyour skin care professional. This may involve gentle cleansing, moisturizing and the use of prescribed products and specific ingredients, such as vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin E, to enhance results and minimize possible side effects.

Sun Protection

After a peel, the skin is more susceptible to damage from the sun. Vigilant sun protection is a must following a chemical peel, using broad-spectrum sunscreen and avoiding excessive sun exposure.


Innovative chemical peels and cutting-edge techniques have transformed the way we approach our skin. With a focus on customization, safety and minimal downtime, these advancements provide us with more various options to achieve healthy looking, radiant skin. As technology and skin care science continue to evolve, the future holds even more exciting possibilities for achieving the skin of our dreams.


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