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Chemical Peels – A Swift Guide

By Expert Author: Gangaram Ragi

A Chemical peel is essentially an accelerated form of exfoliation induced by the use of a chemical agent. It creates changes in the skin through three mechanisms that include stimulation of epidermal growth, destruction of damaged skin and induction of an inflammatory reaction. Let’s see the three mechanisms in detail.

1. The first mechanism of chemical peels is the stimulation of epidermal growth through the removal of the outermost layer of the epidermis, which is known as the stratum corneum and consists of dead cells.

2. Destruction of specific layers of the damaged skin is the second mechanism. By destroying the layers and replacing them with more normalized tissue, a better cosmetic result is achieved. This is true in the treatment of pigmentation abnormalities and actinic keratoses.

3. The final mechanism of a chemical peel is the induction of an inflammatory reaction deeper in the tissue than the necrosis induced by the peeling agent. This is able to induce the production of new collagen in the dermis.

Many dermatologists recommend lighter chemical peels because they induce a sufficient sloughing off process of the dead skin cells without causing too much damage to the live tissue. The latest chemical peel procedures are low-risk and delivers substantial results. Deeper peeling agents create inflammation in the epidermis but have a longer period of recovery or downtime.

Below are a few types of chemical peels and their benefits:

Salicylic Acid: Four out of six patients with medium to dark skin are treated with a series of 20% to 30% salicylic acid peels plus HQ for improving skin discoloration such as melasma. The treatment protocol was well tolerated with no reported post inflammatory dyschromia, or discoloration of the skin or nails. Salicylic acid has an anesthetic effect that is useful in combination peelings. It can be used in active acne breakouts and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. The only disadvantage of this type of peel is the burning sensation during the application.

Glycolic Acid: GA peels combined with retinoid and azaleic acid have superior clinical improvement compared with retinoid acid groups alone. Combined treatment may be an effective and safe therapy for recalcitrant melasma. Glycolic acid results in very mild redness after the procedure and has a short recovery period. It is also useful in repairing photo damage.

Jessner’s Solution: Similar to salicylic acid, Jessner’s solution is effective and can be applied to most skin types. Its recovery time also consists of minimal downtime, which is a plus. Jessner’s solution is utilized for combination peels, as it enhances the penetration of other agents. But you should be careful while choosing this kind of peel, as it has concerns regarding resorcinol toxicity, including thyroid dysfunction.

Resorcinol Skin peel: This type of chemical peel is easy to perform and the burning sensation during the peeling is usually mild. But Resorcinol is not recommended for dark-skinned individuals.

Other types of chemical peels include tretinoin, malic acid, pyruvic acid. Before you opt for any of the above peels, it is advised that you consult with a dermatologist regarding the best treatment for your skin type.

The author has an immense knowledge on chemical peels. Know more about chemical peel procedures related info in his website.

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