All You Need to Know About Chemical Peels

Aeworld   |   25-12-2022

It used to be the case that immediately after a chemical peel treatment, you would resemble an extra from “Stranger Things”. But times have changed and the latest generation of chemical peels can really offer tremendous benefits to the skin with little to no downtime.


“Chemical face peels can improve skin’s texture, even skin tone, minimize fine lines, and clear up acne by unclogging pores,” according to Spirithoula Koukoufikis, Senior Medical Aesthetician at acclaimed London aesthetics clinic, Skinfluencer.The peel involves an acidic solution that varies in degree of pH being applied to the skin to loosen the intercellular cement between skin cells to trigger exfoliation, causing the outer layer of your skin, the dead skin cells, to be removed and a new, refreshed layer of skin being revealed.”


In essence, there are three levels of peel, namely:  superficial (light), medium, and deep. Each one utilises different chemical solutions and levels of acidity to resurface the skin, explains Edwige Gandin, Beautician at Pastels Salon. “Lights chemical peels are more superficial and are often referred to as the “lunchtime peel” because they have little to no downtime. Superficial peels use AHAs (Alpha Hydroxy Acids) such as lactic or glycolic acid and BHAs (Beta Hydroxy Acids) such as salicylic acid and are fantastic for anyone who wants to brighten up their skin and have a smoother complexion. These peels can also reduce fine lines and sun damage and improve dry skin.”



Medium peels are stronger than superficial peels and are typically made from something called Trichloracetic acid (TCA) and are reserved for more serious skin issues, such as acne scars, sun damage, wrinkles and fine lines. “Because medium peels provide a deeper “peel,” the treatment time can be a bit longer and the side effects are more noticeable,” says Koukoufikis. “Medium peels use a stronger chemical to resurface the skin and there is some downtime post the treatment, peeling, redness, and itchiness are very normal post this type of peel and can last anywhere from 5-14 days depending on the individual’s skin type and condition.”


Deep peels are the strongest peels available, and they’re made from phenol or a high-strength Trichloracetic acid. “These are only used in exceptional circumstances and under the supervision of a skincare expert and aim to stimulate collagenesis and tissue regeneration,” says Koukoufikis. “As this type of peel is more advanced a longer downtime is to be expected, the skin will usually heal within a few weeks, but redness can last for months in some cases.”

Peels can maintain healthy skin by boosting cellular renewal while simultaneously maximising the benefits of the other skincare actives you are using in your daily regime. “In using a peel, you are resurfacing the skin and removing the accumulated layers of excess dead skin cells and dirt that sometimes can be missed with the everyday skin regime. Naturally, therefore they are a terrific treatment for prepping the skin for more advanced treatments”, adds Gandin.


Whatever chemical peel you choose, Gandin recommends the same aftercare programme. “Always use a topical Vitamin C serum for extra anti-oxidant protection, a hyaluronic acid for added moisture and at the very least a broad-spectrum sunscreen as the skin is more sensitive to excess UV rays so it is essential to protect your skin as its healing.”


Words by Maria Stapleton