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Return of the Chemical Peel
Written by Amanda Beisel   

chemical peelsAging is an inevitable part of life. We can't prevent it; however, with the help of today's anti-aging treatments, we can definitely slow it down. One way of doing this is with the chemical peel – one of the oldest cosmetic procedures in the world, dating back to ancient Greece, Rome and Egypt. Peels are inexpensive, safe and efficacious techniques that produce excellent results, require little to no downtime, and have virtually no significant complications when performed by a skilled practitioner.

Today, peels seem to have taken a back-seat to more popular treatments such as injectables and light-based technologies like lasers and IPL. Though there is no denying the great results these modern-day treatments offer, we should be careful not to brush aside the incredible results that have been achieved with chemical peels.

The Efficacious Chemical Peel

Acid peels were the pioneers of the chemical peel revolution. From hydrating lactic peels, to acne-fighting salicylic peels, all the way to the age-fighting glycolic, Jessner, and TCA peels, the chemical peel has been helping people achieve great skin for many years. Chemical peels range from the very mild, which require no downtime, to deeper, more intensive peels which can require a few days' recovery time.

Peels are not just for the face. They can be used on the neck, chest, back, arms, hands, and more. Any area of the skin you wish to rejuvenate or improve can likely be aided by a peel. Chemical peels are most effective for the following skin problems:

  • Sun damage (photo-aging)
  • Age spots
  • Melasma /pigmentation
  • Acne and acne scars
  • Rosacea
  • Dehydrated, dull skin
  • Fine lines and wrinkles
  • Poor skin texture
  • Uneven skin tone

Unwrapping the New "Infusion Peel"

A newer kind of peel to hit the cosmetic beauty market is called the "infusion peel." Infusion peels utilize the latest science and technology in skincare, combining vitamins, herbs, enzymes and botanicals to heal, strengthen, protect and rejuvenate the skin. While we work toward living a healthy lifestyle by feeding our internal body with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, our skin needs nurturing as well. This new breed of infusion peel works to not only exfoliate but simultaneously feed the skin with much-needed vitamins, minerals, enzymes and antioxidants. Two major causes of aging skin are inflammation and decreased blood circulation. Infusion peels are capable of both reducing inflammation of the skin and improving blood flow.

As consumers, we are often misled when it comes to skincare. One important factor that every consumer should know is that for ingredients to enter the skin and reach the dermis, they need what is called a delivery system; otherwise, the products will have little to no effect. Infusion peels contain an advanced delivery system so these powerful substances are able to penetrate deep into the dermis where aging occurs.

A Closer Look at Popular Peels

Aside from the new infusion peel, there are a number of popular peels available that you may have heard of. Let's take a closer look at each one.

AHA Peels: The family of AHA peels are the mildest peels available and are derived from fruit acids. There are five main fruit acids: citric acids (citrus-derived), glycolic (derived from sugar cane), lactic acid (although derived from milk, this is still considered a "fruit acid"), malic (derived from apples) and tartaric (derived from grapes). Lactic acid is a natural constituent of your skin and will leave your skin hydrated and supple. It is a non-irritating rapid exfoliator and is best suited to those who prefer a gentle peel. It removes the outer layer of damaged or thickened skin to reveal a healthier and smoother complexion. It speeds up cell turnover, reduces acne outbreaks, and gradually lightens pigmentation. This peel is excellent for dehydrated, sensitive skin that needs a boost. A lactic peel is a great introductory peel.

BHA Peels: BHAs are simple organic fruit acids that can be natural or synthesized. These acids include the salicylic acid peel, which is an anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, sebum regulator, perfect for oily skin, acne, congestion, blackheads, rosacea and melasma.

AHA-BHA Combination Peels: When you have skin issues that go beyond what an AHA and BHA alone can treat, you may need to have a Jessner peel. A Jessner peel is a medium-depth peel that combines salicylic acid, lactic acid and resorcinol. It results in deeper penetration and greater exfoliation of the outer layers of skin cells and is great for mild to severe acne, discoloration, moderate wrinkling, and sun damage. Peeling the face, neck, hands, and upper chest is also quite effective. This deeper exfoliation produces noticeable flaking and exfoliation in the three to seven days following the peel, depending on the percentage used. A week later you will notice smoother, healthier skin with improved barrier function.

Vitamin A Infusion Peels: The vitamin A infusion peel uses the most potent and least irritating form of vitamin A on the market, called retinaldehyde. This peel infuses the skin with powerful antioxidants, nourishing vitamins, and damage-reversing retinaldehyde. Made entirely of organic ingredients, it treats such conditions as acne, scarring, sun damage, aging, loss of elasticity, fine to deep lines, and hyperpigmentation. Many clients experience very mild skin flaking over the course of the week following treatment, but there is no fear of downtime or sun sensitivity because this peel feeds the skin and doesn't wound it. The peel is gentle, but the results are significant!

Herbal Infusion Peels: Herbal infusion peels combine Chinese herbal medicine such as ginseng, burdock root, goji, angelica, mulberry park and many other eastern herbs with a UGL complex. This treatment can be performed on both facial and non-facial areas including the neck, chest, hands, back, arms and legs, or anywhere that skin has been damaged.

A Word of Caution

If you are looking for a cost effective, minimally invasive anti-aging treatment, peels may be the perfect option for you. However, it is crucial that you find a skilled practitioner to administer both the chemical peels and the infusion peels. To determine if you are a candidate for a peel, it is important to have a thorough consultation prior to any treatment to discuss your health and medical history as well as your goals and expectations.

Amanda Beisel -

Amanda Beisel is the owner of the award-winning SKN Holistic Rejuvenation Clinic in Yaletown. She is a registered acupuncturist specializing in Cosmetic acupuncture and medical skin needling. Amanda is also the founder of Skin Addix, a natural cosmeceutical line focused on skin restoration. To learn more about SKN Clinic and Skin Addix visit SKNClinic.ca and SkinAddix.com

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