Face & Skin

The Complete Guide to Chemical Peels

The Complete Guide to Chemical Peels

We all want our skin to look it’s absolute best. Chemical peels are an exceptional treatment to reveal, maintain, and restore your skin’s health and youthful appearance. Chemical peels are potent but safe treatments used to exfoliate the uppermost layer of the skin and reveal new healthy skin underneath. 

Chemical peels can be formulated in various concentrations to target specific skin issues and concerns, including fine lines and wrinkles, enlarged pores, sun damage, blemishes, and uneven skin tone. This treatment is best left to the professionals because each patient’s skin is different, and the exfoliating acids and ingredients used to perform these services are powerful. At Coastal Aesthetics, our highly trained staff can customize your chemical peel for maximum results with as little discomfort as possible.  


What Are Chemical Peels?

A chemical peel works by exfoliating the outermost layer of skin to improve its texture. By lifting away dead skin cells on the surface, chemical peels can also reduce the appearance of blemishes, improve skin health and leave your skin with a radiant glow. In addition, a chemical peel enhances the skin’s ability to turn over skin cells, leaving your skin looking and feeling fresh and new. 

Chemical peels are typically made of acidic chemicals. Some common chemicals used in professional chemical peels are alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) to treat fine lines and wrinkles, dullness, and uneven texture, and beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs) to improve problematic skin concerns such as large pores, excessive oil production, and blemishes. In addition, trichloroacetic acid (TCA) is typically used to treat more advanced signs of aging such as discoloration caused by sun damage, acne, or hormones. 

It’s always best to work with a professional for a service like a chemical peel because peels are available in various strengths and formulations. Skincare professionals also have access to the highest-performing peel solutions clinically proven to deliver results. It’s also possible that your skincare professional will recommend advanced skin care products for use at home to extend the results of your chemical peel and improve the condition of your skin. 


How Do Chemical Peels Work?

Chemical peels utilize acids to raise the skin’s pH level. Typically the skin has a pH level of 5.5, but applying acid to the skin changes the pH level to 3.8. (On the pH scale, the lower the number, the higher the acidity.) Once the skin becomes more acidic, the existing bonds between dead and healthy skin cells physically loosen. With that bond reduced, the dead skin is easily removed to reveal healthy skin. Most chemical peels are neutralized with a buffering solution or water as the last step. Neutralizing the peel is a crucial part of the treatment because it creates a controlled injury to the skin and prompts the skin to naturally repair itself and reveal new, brighter, refreshed skin.  

Chemical peels also promote the growth of new, healthy skin cells. As the skin sheds off the outer layers, the skin’s surface improves, and fine lines, blemishes, wrinkles, and skin tone are less visible. Overall, the skin is smoother and healthier. 

A professional chemical peel far outweighs at-home treatments. Your skin care professional will be able to determine the best peel formulation for your skin type and will recommend a specific customized post-procedure regimen to provide optimal results at home. 

Chemical peels are highly customizable and should be formulated based on the patient’s goals as well as the sensitivity of the patient’s skin. When you book your appointment at Coastal Aesthetics, we will examine your skin and listen to your treatment goals. 


What Are The Best Types Of Chemical Peels?

Because everyone’s skin is different, chemical peels are highly customizable to fit your skin’s specific needs and aesthetic goals–that’s the beauty of them. Chemical peels are broken down into three main categories, and your skin type and skincare habits will determine which one best suits your skin.


Superficial Skin Peel

Superficial peels penetrate only the uppermost layer of your skin. Therefore, they are commonly performed as a series of treatments to improve the look of fine lines and wrinkles. These are typically formulated to gently exfoliate the skin, making them ideal for all skin types, especially sensitive skin. Patients like superficial chemical peels because there is little downtime, yet they dramatically improve the skin tone and radiance. At Coastal Aesthetics, we offer SkinCeuticals peels, a clinical-based skincare brand. Our most popular superficial peels are the MicroPeel for Sensitive Skin (Glycolic Acid 20% and 30%) and the MicroPeel Plus Salicylic (Acid 20% and 30%).


Medium Depth Peel

Mid-level peels are more effective for patients with moderate skin damage, like sun spots, age spots, freckles, and actinic keratosis. Often, medium peels are paired with laser treatments to maximize the results.


Deep Chemical Peel

Deep chemical peels are the most aggressive peel and require a topical anesthetic before application. These peels affect the skin down to the deep layers of the dermis (the deepest layer of skin). Deep chemical peels are less common today as new technologies can deliver significant results with more control and minor discomfort. 

If you want more information about which chemical peel is right for you or if skin resurfacing treatment would better meet your skin’s needs, call us today to schedule your consultation. 


Are Chemical Peels Right For Me?

In general, chemical peels can benefit most skin types. However, considerations must be made based on the condition of your skin, where your skin tone falls on the Fitzpatrick scale (which will indicate your skin’s ability to interact with certain acids), and your skincare habits. For example, chemical peels are not recommended for skin that is currently injured (such as sunburn, abrasion, or rash) and is not recommended for skin experiencing a barrier dysfunction such as eczema or psoriasis. 

If you are curious about getting a chemical peel and want to know more about if you’re a good candidate for this or other cosmetic services, call our office today and book your consultation.


Are There Alternatives To Chemical Peels?

A chemical peel is a specific cosmetic treatment designed to treat issues on the outermost layer of the skin. However, some patients are interested in a more powerful treatment where skin resurfacing treatment would be necessary. If you want the benefits of a deeper treatment, like Opus Prime, call us today to schedule your free consultation.


What Will I Experience During My Chemical Peel?

Mild chemical peels are often associated with minimal discomfort at most. However, any uncomfortableness (usually just some minor stinging) tends to subside as soon as the peel is neutralized. Deeper peels can cause more pain, and anesthesia is often used before treatment to make them more tolerable. Many patients find that if their skin has become accustomed to using acids in their at-home skincare routine, chemical peels are more tolerable than those new to them. 


Following a mild or superficial peel, you can expect your skin to be mildly red (similar to what you would experience with a mild sunburn) for 3 to 5 days. Medium-depth and deep peels can result in noticeable redness, swelling, and even blistering. In the case of deep peels, these side effects can last 7 to 14 days. If you have questions about what depth of the chemical peel is best for your optimal results, call us today and schedule your consultation. 


Following your practitioner’s instructions for care after your chemical peel is also essential. Post-peel, your skin will be highly sensitive, especially to sun exposure. Therefore, it’s important to refrain from using exfoliating acids for a few days, keep sun exposure to a minimum, and always wear sunscreen.


Where Do I Go To Get A Chemical Peel?

Choosing a professional for your chemical peel is an important decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Kimberlee Smith, FNP, has worked in the medical field for more than ten years. She received advanced training at the Esthetics Skin Institute and National Laser Institute in Boston, MA, and private training throughout the country to continuously advance her skills and stay up-to-date on safety. She also earned the elite status of Master Injector from Allergan (the manufacturer of Botox). 

Since 2017, Kimberlee and her medical team have served the coastal York, Maine community. Patients love working with the staff at Coastal Aesthetics because of their thoughtful attention to detail, precision treatment, and attentive patient care. In addition, our team seeks to improve upon natural beauty. We have a reputation for excellence, and we can’t wait for you to see it yourself. 


Are you ready to see the difference Coastal Aesthetics can make for you? Then, call us today at 207-363-2300 to book your consultation. You won’t be disappointed.

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