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Dermatology Diaries

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Chemical Peels - Facts and Myths

Chemical Peels - Dr Niketa's Skin Secrets
Chemical Peels - Dr Niketa's Skin Secrets 

Chemical peels aka Medical Peel Treatments are an indispensible tool in the arsenal of a Cosmetic Dermatologist today. These treatments can do wonders to expedite an otherwise lengthy dermatological treatment process. But sadly, people are unaware of what these treatments are an actuality! Let me help you bust some serious myths and get the facts straight about this wonderful skin treatment!

What are chemical peels?
Chemical Peels are intensive treatments with active extracts done by a Cosmetic Dermatologist. These treatments expedite the rate of renewal of the skin and help to achieve healthy, clear, blemish free skin faster than with conventional skin medications.

What do chemical peels contain?
Most commonly used chemical peels are extracts similar to those found in citrus fruits, sweet almonds, fermented milk, fermented fruits, honey, wine, berries, mushrooms, vinegar and other such ingredients. They may contain vitamins and antioxidants. Medically these are known as Glycolic, Mandelic, Lactic, Salicylic, Pyruvic, Phytic, Retinoids, Ferrulic, Kojic, Argenine, Azelic, TCA, etc. Advanced peels contain a combination of these ingredients.

What do peel treatments do?
Chemical peel treatments encourage the skin cell cycle to become healthy. They exfoliate the damaged skin quickly and encourage healthier new skin to resurface. Depending on the ingredients used, chemical peels can have very specific or rather broad spectrum actions. They can act on the melanocytes to decrease melanin production or on the sebaceous glands to decrease oil production. They may have a comedolytic, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory action. Peels used for anti-aging have an antioxidant action and a stimulatory effect on dermal collagen.

How is the chemical peel procedure done?
Chemical peeling is a painless procedure that requires about 15-20 minutes in the clinic. The area to be treated is first cleaned and then the peel solution is applied on the skin. A slight tingling sensation is expected. Sessions are repeated once in 10-14 days. Usually 4-8 sessions are required to see good results.

Is chemical peeling a painful procedure?
The peel solution is applied on the skin only for 1-5minutes. The application of the peel solution may cause some tingling sensation, similar to the application of lemon juice on the skin. It is a completely painless procedure.

Why is it called chemical / skin 'peeling'?
The application of the peel solution encourages the dull and damaged layers to shed off over the next 4-5 days. This fastens the cell cycle and these layers are replaced with healthy new skin. Depending on which peel solution is used, sometimes this shedding is visible as flaking (peeling) of the skin similar to winter dryness. This peeling is not visible to others with frequent application of a prescribed medicated moisturizer.

When is the improvement visible?
A step by step improvement is seen with every session. Peel treatments reveal healthier, smoother, younger looking skin. The skin is bright with an even skin tone and a radiant complexion.

How safe are chemical peels?
Older versions and cheaper quality of peels in the hands of inexperienced professionals do have nasty effects on the skin. The procedure has to be done by a qualified Cosmetic Dermatologist who has in depth knowledge of the subject. All Skin Specialists do not necessarily have the correct knowledge of Cosmetic Procedures. Poor results are seen only when the choice of peel medication or method of treatment is incorrect.

Are there any side effects of chemical peels?
Chemical peels if done under the guidance of a good Cosmetic Dermatologist will not make the skin sensitive. Thinning of skin and accelerated aging as a result of repetitive peels is a myth. Peels actually prevent age related thinning  and thicken the skin to make it youthful. The only long term effect that peel treatments have is collagen re-modelling and regeneration i.e. anti-aging!

Where to get a chemical peel?
Chemical peels are best done in a Cosmetic Dermatologist's clinic by the Dermatologist. Commercial skin clinic chains offer peels which are usually basic and part of a preset menu. Salons and aestheticians may offer low strength peels, comparable to the prescription creams and cleansers given by a Dermatologist during the pre-treatment priming. 

Now that you know all about chemical peels, here are some secret words if wisdom... 
The charges of peel treatments always depend on the quality of peel solution used and the expertise of the doctor. The best and most advanced peels come from companies renowned  Internationally for manufacturing Peel Solutions. Steer away from commercial clinics that offer a 'Spa like experience' and charge a fortune for basic peels done by aestheticians. Choose a Dermatologist who listens to you and gives time to understand your skin. Never rush into a peel session on your first visit. A proper pre-treatment Priming and post treatment guidance is the key to successful Medical Peel Treatments!

Keep looking beautiful.
Dr Niketa.