Chemical peels are truly “old school,” centuries old in fact. Beauty-conscious women of ancient Egypt used sour milk and grape juice to reduce sun damage and the effects of ageing. The chemical peel process has come a long way since then.
Today, one of the most common chemical peels involves TCA (trichloroacetic acid), which is widely used by dermatologists. It can brighten up ageing faces and remove damaged skin cells. Concern about TCA has been growing since the 1990s, however, when some studies began linking it to cancers in animals.
That’s why we’re excited to share news about a new treatment that is kinder and gentler to your skin and to your body. The hero of our story: the glycolic chemical peel.
Chemical peels differ depending on how deeply the chemical penetrates and what type of chemical solution is used. Things that may affect the depth of a peel include:
Depending on which type of chemical peel you choose, your recovery time could be as little as a few hours or up to two weeks of at-home rest.
Glycolic is formulated from sugar cane, and a glycolic peel creates a mild exfoliating action while also stimulating collagen growth. Beyond that, glycolic peels can help
Before you fall head over heels in love with the idea of recapturing your youth with a chemical peel, you should be aware that the results are not permanent. Though chemical peels may reduce visible wrinkles and fine lines, they should not be thought of as an alternative toinjectables or laser facial rejuvenation.
First the skin to be treated is cleaned. Then glycolic acid is applied with a small brush, gauze, or cotton-tipped applicators and left on the skin for 10-15 minutes.
You may feel a modest burning sensation while the chemical is on your skin, but nothing like what you would experience with TCA or phenol. Interestingly, a handheld fan can help cool the skin and relieve any discomfort.
When time is up, water or alcohol is used to neutralise the acid and end the chemical reaction. The glycolic acid is then wiped off, and you’re good to go.
The treatment is done in-clinic, with no anaesthesia required.
Cleansing the skin frequently with water or a special doctor-recommended wash is an important step in achieving optimal results from a glycolic peel. Other steps you can take include:
Chemical peel treatments can and should be customised for each person. Your doctor can help you decide, based on your skin type, what depth of peel and what type of chemical solution is most appropriate, which areas you want peeled, what kind of results you want, and how much risk you are willing to take. “If you want a glow for a few days, a glycolic peel is likely your best bet,” says Oprah Winfrey on her website.
And even if you are considering using an over-the-counter product at home, you should still consult with your dermatologist or doctor before going ahead.