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Aesthetics Practice Today

Light Chemical Peels

Published January 10, 2012 7:58 AM by Kimberly Cray
Our skin is not only our largest organ, it is our first line of defense against harsh environmental conditions such as UV damage, pollution and irritants. So, have you thanked your skin lately? What better way than with an effective and inexpensive facial treatment? If you are looking to improve a dull complexion on a budget, a light (superficial) chemical peel may be a good choice. See fine lines diminish, pesky brown spots lighten and notice an improvement in overall texture.

Chemical peels offer patients a means to revive and reward their skin. A go-to treatment for years now, I believe they are appealing not only because of their effectiveness but also due to their low cost and little to no down time.

Of course, no two peels are created equal. Peels can range from light (superficial in depth, affecting only the epidermis) to deep (penetrating further into the dermis). Deeper peels have fallen out of vogue as newer technologies emerge to avoid some of the harsher side effects associated with the deeper penetration.

Superficial peels are a great option just several days before a special occasion, to achieve a nice glow and a refreshed look. Peels I love include the Miami Peel, Dermaceutic Milk Peel and Skin Medica's line of peels (Vitalize, Illuminize and the new Rejuvenize).

Most peels in this category use a concoction of alpha or beta hydroxy acids. If you wish to see more dramatic results, I am also a fan of TCA (a medium-depth peel that can be used on untanned skin to target pigment discrepancies) and glycolic acid peels (great for acne patients and safe to use on darker skin types). A series of medium peels would be a good choice for severe acne scars or deep-set wrinkles.

Don't forget to remind patients that they should not use retinoids for at least 5 days prior to any peel or facial treatment. These substances make you much more sensitive and prone to irritation or burns. Explain to them that a light peel will likely not cause them to peel (the peel is an application of a concentrated acid for in office use only). Give them a printed list of posttreatment directions including, you guessed it: sun avoidance and generous sunscreen use!

What are your favorite peels? Do you have any noteworthy experiences with in-office peels?

 

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    Occupation: Physician Assistant/Nurse Practitioner
    Setting: Miami & Upland, Calif.
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