Superficial imperfections may only be skin-deep, but it can still be difficult to feel confident about your appearance when blemishes, uneven skin tone, shallow acne scarring, and fine lines are very visible. One good solution for correcting these imperfections is chemical peels, which can exfoliate and renew your skin for a more even-toned appearance. The skin experts at ALC Med Spa in Gurnee, IL offer several personalized peel treatments to help you achieve all of your aesthetic goals.
So, what is a chemical peel? It might surprise you to learn that chemical peels are one of the oldest aesthetic treatments in the world – in fact, some of the first documented peels started with Cleopatra in Ancient Egypt, who used the lactic acid in spoiled milk as part of her beauty routine. Since then, peels have become more refined and versatile, so there is a peel treatment ideal for every skin type, tone, and concern.
What Happens During Chemical Peels?
A chemical peel is a very basic aesthetic treatment that greatly resembles your average facial. The overall process for a peel can take about 30 to 60 minutes to complete based on the type of peel you use and the skin concerns you are trying to treat. But before you can start any peel treatment, you will need to speak with a skin expert during a consultation.
At your consultation appointment, a skin expert will analyze your skin and discuss your skin concerns to determine what type of peel is ideal for your needs. Most people will need to choose between a light or medium peel, as these are the most common treatments for superficial aesthetic concerns. We will take into account your skincare routine and aesthetic goals to identify the peel treatment best for you.
Step One: Cleanse
The very first step of your treatment will be cleansing your skin. Ideally, you should arrive at your appointment with clean skin, but we will usually also cleanse your skin to remove any pollutants like dirt, oil, or lingering make-up. Peels are most effective on clean skin since this allows for better chemical solution penetration.
Step Two: Peel Solution
The next step of your treatment will be the application of a peel solution. Peel solutions are selected based on your skin type and skin concerns. At ACL Med Spa, we offer both VI Peels and Environ Cool Peels. VI Peels are ideal for reversing the visible signs of aging, sun damage, and shallow scarring, while Environ Cool Peels are lighter and nourish the skin while also exfoliating the surface skin cells.
Peel solutions will usually be placed on the skin for about 20 to 30 minutes to allow enough time for the solution to fully penetrate the skin. Peels are comfortable to the skin because solutions like VI Peels also contain a lidocaine solution to ensure client comfort.
Step Three: Soothe and Protect
After the peel solution has sat on the skin for several minutes, it will be removed with a neutralizing product. It’s common to apply a soothing moisturizer or serum immediately after a peel to lock in moisture and encourage better results. We may also encourage you to apply SPF after your treatment to protect your skin.
What Should You Do After Chemical Peels?
After your peel treatment, there are several steps you may want to take to encourage better results. Most peels have a downtime of zero to seven days. For our peels, VI Peels may require a healing period of up to a week, while Environ Cool Peels has zero downtime thanks to the nourishing quality of the light peel. That said, you will still want to keep your skin moisturized after your treatment, avoid hot water, and other chemical exfoliants that are part of your ordinary skin routine.
It’s also important to limit any sun exposure after your peel, particularly during the first one to two weeks. The first reason to limit sun exposure is that sunlight can be irritating to the skin, especially when the peeling process is underway and new skin cells are exposed on your skin surface. The second reason to limit sun exposure is to avoid any potential UV damage from sunlight that can cause visible aging like dark spots and fine lines.
How Long Do Results Last?
Typically, you will be able to see the result of a peel treatment within two to four weeks after your treatment, or sooner for very light peels. These results can last for anywhere from one to six months based on the strength of the peel. Light peels typically only last a month or two, while medium peels can last for six or more months. Deep peels can produce results that last for about a year or more, depending on the skin concern being treated.
How Often Should You Have Peel Treatments?
The frequency of your treatment will depend on many factors, including your age, the type of peel used, the skin concerns you are treating, and your at-home skincare routine. It’s common to have light peels several times a year to maintain evenly-toned skin and better skin health, while you may only need a medium peel once or twice a year.
Your age and skin condition are two of the biggest factors that will determine the frequency of your treatment. Younger people with faster cellular turnover may need treatments more regularly, particularly if this treatment is being used to promote better skin nourishment. Older people have a slower cellular turnover rate and may need treatments less frequently, even for the treatment of visible aging like fine lines and dark spots. We can recommend a treatment frequency ideal for your skin type and skin concerns.
Why Are Peels So Effective?
So, why are chemical peels so effective? In general, peels work by tackling both sub-dermal and superficial concerns at one time. For example, your average peel will exfoliate the upper layers of the skin to reduce the appearance of dark spots, blemishes, scarring, and acne. At the same time, the peel solution will also stimulate the production of collagen and elastin within the sub-dermal layers of the skin, which will promote better skin texture and help your skin look more youthful.
Peels are particularly effective treatments because they can be customized to address your exact skin concerns. Some many different acids and chemicals can be personalized to your skin condition and skin type, so even people with sensitive skin or complex concerns can achieve the results they are looking for.
How Are Peels Different From At-Home Exfoliants?
Some may be wondering how chemical peels are different from at-home chemical exfoliants that may already be part of your skincare routine. Chemical exfoliants like AHAs, BHAs, retinoids, and even manual scrubs are all effective at removing the very top layer of skin cells to brighten the tone of your skin. These at-home products are generally gentle enough to be used multiple times a week to regulate the cellular turnover of your skin.
Peel treatments at a medspa are different. Even a light peel will remove several superficial layers of skin to unveil new, unblemished skin cells underneath. Essentially, the difference between your at-home exfoliants and a professional peel is the strength of the treatment. If you use regular peel treatments, then you will usually not need to incorporate other exfoliants into your skincare routine because professional peels are more effective.
Who Are Good Candidates?
Peel treatments have many good candidates, including women and men of all ages. Regardless of your skin concerns or your age, you are likely a good candidate for these treatments if you want to improve the tone, texture, and health of your skin. Particularly good candidates are those who want to make peel treatments part of their regular skincare routine and those who want to promote better skin health. Women who are breastfeeding or pregnant may not be qualified for this treatment.
Banish Imperfect Skin
Skin imperfections like fine lines, blemishes, dark spots, acne scarring, and uneven skin tone can make it hard to feel confident about your skin. If you have tried at-home exfoliants and you aren’t satisfied with your results, then it may be time to consider a stronger solution. Professional peel treatments are effective, yet gentle enough to be used as a regular part of your skincare routine if you desire. Contact us at ALC Med Spa in Gurnee, IL to schedule your consultation appointment with one of our skin experts today.