Believe it or not, chemical peels have long been used to achieve brighter, more beautiful skin. In fact, records indicate that ancient Egyptians benefited from similar acids found in modern-day peels. They would apply sour milk containing lactic acid (a type of alpha hydroxy acid) to their skin as a way to revitalize both tone and texture.
And if it was good enough for Cleopatra, it’s certainly good enough for us!
Today, chemical peels have come a long way since ancient times, and recent scientific advancements have made formulations even safer and more effective. For those looking to give skin a brighter, smoother, and more youthful look and feel, this treatment will produce stellar results. How? Here’s what you need to know.
Chemical Peels: What’s the Story?
If you’re new to the world of chemical peels, the name itself can be rather intimidating—the words “chemical” and “peel” aren’t exactly the soothing descriptors you’d associate with beauty and self care. But rest assured, modern-day chemical peels are neither scary nor painful—in fact, they are exceptionally safe, effective, and cause little discomfort.
“Many solutions today are blended with anti-irritants and modified to be somewhat neutralized, which reduces discomfort,” explained Elizabeth Weiler, OVME’s Director of Education and Development. “They are also exceptionally safe. The formulations are so precise that we know exactly how deep they will penetrate and what results you can expect.”
So, how do they work exactly? Chemical peels involve applying a chemical solution to the skin that triggers your body’s cell turnover process, ultimately regenerating newer, healthier skin.
“What we’re trying to do is stimulate your body to go into a healing process and create new skin cells—out with the old and in with the new!” Elizabeth said. “So when we use these chemicals in very measured and safe ways to penetrate the skin, we can remove the dull, dry outer layers to reveal brighter, healthier skin underneath.”
The dead skin often flakes or peels off, hence the name “chemical peel,” but don’t be disappointed if you’re skin doesn’t flake—the treatment is still doing its job.
“Many people are expecting to see visible peeling after a chemical peel, so I like to tell clients beforehand and set the expectation that an absence of peeling doesn’t mean that the treatment isn’t working,” Elizabeth said. “Whether or not you peel depends on many factors such as how oily your skin is, how many peels you’ve had in the past, the time of year, the climate you live in, and so on. Regardless, the chemicals are still stimulating turnover and accelerating new skin growth.”
Another common misconception about chemical peels? Many people are concerned that they thin the skin when in fact, the opposite is true.
“Our goal is to thicken and increase the health and density of the tissue underneath,” explained Elizabeth. “The analogy I like to use is that your bottom layers of skin are like grapes—that’s where all the hydration is. The next layer is like raisins; this is where some of those lower grapes are moving up, they’re getting compressed, and they’re drying out. And finally, the top layer is like cornflakes, and when you get a chemical peel, the treatment not only removes those cornflakes but stimulates and actually thickens the lower levels of grapes. The results deliver both a superficial refinement but also the long-term benefits of healthier, thicker skin.”
The Benefits of Chemical Peels
Speaking of benefits, there are many when it comes to this particular treatment. While commonly used to treat tone and texture, there are many reasons a chemical peel could be the right option for you. Here are a few of the skin concerns a chemical peel can address and the results you can expect:
- Brightens skin tone
- Reduces visible signs of aging including fine lines and wrinkles
- Improves skin texture and clarity
- Helps with acne and acne scarring
- Treats sun damage
- Reduces hyperpigmentation and melasma
Another notable benefit of chemical peels is that just about anyone can get them. Many people believe that those with darker skin tones can’t or shouldn’t get peels, and while that might be true of older formulations or specific chemical agents, it certainly isn’t true at OVME. Our peels are approved for all skin types, and we offer different levels to boot. They include:
- Level 1: This is ideal for mild skin imperfections and can be repeated every 2-3 weeks with zero downtime.
- Level 2: This is ideal for mild to moderate skin imperfections and can be repeated every 3-4 weeks with minimal downtime.
- Level 3: This is ideal for moderate to severe skin imperfections and can be repeated every 5-6 weeks with minimal downtime.
On the other hand, you should not get a chemical peel if:
- You’ve had any sort of facial waxing in the last 48 hours
- You are pregnant or nursing
- You have active cold sores
- You have a sunburn or rash
- You’re going on vacation or planning to be in the sun
As always, your experienced OVME provider will help you determine what is best for you and your skin type. Which brings us to our next segment…
The Dos & Dont’s of Chemical Peels
Here are a few things to keep in mind following a chemical peel.
- Wear SPF and avoid excessive sun exposure. Of course, you should always wear SPF, and it’s just as important after a chemical peel as your skin will be extra sensitive.
- Expect some peeling (not in all cases or for level 1 peels) and be mindful of healing times. Depending on the level of chemical peel you receive, healing times can vary. Expect 2-5 days of peeling for levels 2 and 3.
- Keep moisturizer on-hand for little touch-ups throughout the day if you are tempted to pick at flaking skin.
- Over moisturize. Touching up throughout the day is perfectly fine, but piling on excessive creams can cause peeling skin to come off too soon.
- Go to hot yoga, the sauna, a steam room, etc. Excessive sweating can cause moisture beads to accumulate under the top layer of skin. While not harmful, this can cause an undesirable appearance for several days.
- Undergo any sort of waxing or hair removal treatment. If you must, use tweezers.
- Pick your peeling skin! This is a big no-no as your flaking skin is actually protecting the new skin underneath. It will flake off on its own when you’re healed and ready.
At the end of the day, a chemical peel is a safe and effective way to achieve incredible results for your skin. Whether you’re concerned about aging, tone, or texture, a chemical peel at OVME can get you gorgeous, glowing skin with little to no downtime.
Ready to try one for yourself? Make an appointment at an OVME Studio near you.