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Chemical peeling is one of the cosmetic treatments provided to reverse the signs of ageing and to peel away your skin imperfections. Chemical peel can treat facial skin as well as that of neck and hands. It is one of the most misunderstood cosmetic treatments because of the scary pictures of celebrities showing painful looking skin, redness and flaking.

The fact is, these pictures are the result of old, outdated traditional chemical peels which may result in some unpleasant side effects. Chemical peelings are for those who want dramatic and instant anti-ageing effects. A chemical face peel also corrects skin conditions such as pigmentation, wrinkles, acne, uneven skin tone, clogged pores, poor skin firmness.

There is a lot of improvement in the procedure and the effectiveness of advanced level peels with minimal flaking, redness and no downtime. This has made life easier after peeling.

If you want to know about the procedure, types and the after effects of peeling, KEEP READING…

What Is Chemical Peel?

A Chemical peel is an acidic solution (or less often, basic) which is applied evenly all over the face. It works by removing superficial dead skin layer along with treating pigmentation and sun damaged skin. As a result, it gives a fresh looking and glowing skin.

Chemical peeling also unclog the pores and increase collagen production modestly.

What are the different types of chemical peeling:

Chemical peeling is performed by medical professionals or trained skin aestheticians at Glow and Go – Skin Care Clinic. It is classified into three main types according to the penetration of agents used.

  • Superficial peels
  • Medium peels
  • Deep peels

Chemical peels which are common now-a-days are superficial or light chemical peels. Mild peeling agents are used in the superficial peels which only penetrate the outermost skin layer and gently exfoliate. In contrast to this, medium peels penetrate up to the middle layer crossing the outermost layer.

Medium peels are more effective in removing superficial dead skin as compared to superficial peels.  Deep peels penetrate deeper than the other two types of peels. These peels fully penetrate into the middle layer and remove damaged skin.

How chemical peels work:

During chemical peeling, an acidic solution (or less often, basic) is applied evenly all over the face. It works by removing superficial dead skin layer along with treating pigmentation and sun damaged skin. As a result, it gives a fresh looking and glowing skin.

Chemical peeling also unclog pores and increase collagen production modestly.

The main purpose of chemical peeling is to remove the superficial dull, dead skin layers. Desmosomes are the protein bonds which hold the dead skin cells and maintain the integrity of the basal layer. When these bonds break, it is easy to remove superficial dead skin layer. Alpha Hydroxy acids are very good agents to break these bonds.

skin layer illustration

 Why get a chemical peel:

The main purpose of chemical peeling is to have fresher skin and to treat premature signs of ageing. Improves acne and discoloration. Superficial peels also treat minor skin issues like discoloration, surface scarring, acne, sun spots and fine lines. Sometimes superficial peels are also recommended to prepare the skin for medium and deep peels.

Medium depth peels are effective for superficial discoloration,  mild photo damage, enhance the vitality of skin, remove fine wrinkles and improve overall texture of skin.

Deep peels are not for everyone, people with very deep wrinkles, pigmentation and sun damaged skin must choose deep peels over light or medium depth peels.

Chemical peel is not for:

  • Treatment of deep wrinkles, laugh lines and expression lines.
  • Broken vessels and facial redness
  • Anyone having an active viral or bacterial infection
  • People having a history regarding use of drugs with photosensitizing potential.
  • People having anti-inflammatory dermatoses like atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, eczema and pemphigus.
  • Facial melanoma (facial cancer)
  • People with a history of isotretinoin use in the last 12 months, keloids and atrophic skin.

Chemical peel types:

Salicylic acid peels:

Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid (BHA). It successfully treats acne and control excessive sebum production. The low doses (up to 2%) of salicylic acid is used in over-the-counter products and treatments whereas the concentration of 10 to 30% is used in chemical peeling. Salicylic acid is oil soluble and can easily penetrate into the pores. It unclog the pores and treats acne. People who are allergic to aspirin should avoid salicylic acid peel.

Glycolic acid Peels:

Glycolic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA). Fruits and sugarcane are a natural common source of glycolic acid. Chemical peels usually contain glycolic acid in the concentration of 20 to 70%. You may also find glycolic acid in lesser concentration in over the counter products.

The main purpose of glycolic acid peels is to restore even skin tone, improve sun damage to provide “freshen skin” and treat discoloration. Glycolic acid also unclog the pores and improve acne prone skin. The strength and time duration of glycolic acid peel varies for effects. In order to avoid any side effects, your skin care specialist may remove glycolic acid peels after 2 to 4 minutes of application.

Trichoroacetic Acid Peels:

Trichloroacetic acid TCA is a bit stronger peeling agent which penetrates deeper into skin layers. In superficial chemical peels, 10 to 30% concentration of TCA is used whereas in medium depth peels, 35 to 50% TCA is used. Glycolic acid treats fine lines, wrinkles and sun damage. Your skin may take at least a week to fully heal after medium depth peels. Areas other than face may require more than a week to recover.

Combination Peels:

A peeling solution may contain a combination of two or more active ingredients. A combination of peeling agents include, citric acid, lactic acid or mandelic acid. Exfoliants like glycolic acid, salicylic acid and lactic acid are also available in fusion peels. Salicylic acid peel can be applied in combination with lactic acid peel to treat acne plus pigmentation. The TCA and Glycolic acid are also combined to treat multiple skin issues like pigmentation, acne and premature signs of ageing.

What to expect after chemical Peel:

You may need multiple sittings of chemical peel to get the desired results. Almost 3 to 6 treatment sessions are required 2 to 4 weeks apart. To keep enjoying new results, you may also need to book maintenance treatments as well as a proper skin care routine.

How will you look after chemical peel:

In superficial peels, mild redness may occur during the treatment and dead skin will flake off for almost 5 to 7 days. However, there may be some, mild flaking as well but dryness persists for 10 days maximum. However, in medium depth- peel, it may take at least 7 to 10 days to notice peeling and dryness on your skin.

Possible side effects of chemical Peel:

Usually chemical peels do not have any complications or problems but the possible side effects include infection, skin discoloration or even scarring. The possibility of side effects is less in case of light or superficial peels but the chances are high in medium and deep peels. You must also follow aftercare instructions to avoid or minimize side effects. Try to protect your skin from direct sunlight or wear sunscreen with a higher SPF. Direct sun exposure to sunlight may lead to skin darkening, hyperpigmentation, burning and sunburn.

Physical exfoliation V/s chemical exfoliation:

Exfoliation is the process of removal of superficial dull, damaged, dead skin. After 20s, the natural exfoliation rate slows down due to reduced cellular turnover rate and the dead skin cells start accumulating on the surface. So, removal of dead skin cells is necessary to reveal a fresh looking skin. Physical exfoliation or chemical exfoliation, both can help you achieve that.

Physical exfoliation usually includes harsh scrubs and granular products. By physically massaging on face, these scrubs remove the dead skin but these scrubs act superficially and gives temporary results.

Whereas in chemical exfoliation, peeling agents or exfoliants penetrate deeper into skin layers and removes the superficial dead skin.  Chemical exfoliants increase the cellular turnover rate which leads to skin rejuvenation.


Chemical peels are very useful in treating skin issues and reverse the signs of ageing. To avoid any major side effects or risks, it is very important that a  trained professional performs this in-office chemical peel. Chemical peel is one of the treatments which helps to improve the early signs of sun damage, acne and make skin tone even.

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