Peeling After a Peel
Frequently Asked Aesthetics Question: I didn't peel after a
chemical peel. Is this normal?
A common misconception in aesthetics is that you must peel after a "chemical peel." I hear
this all the time and this is just not so. There are many types and strengths
of chemical peels. The term "peel" actually refers to a multitude of products
that are available to qualified providers at a medical grade concentration. The
term "peel" does not imply that you will
peel, should peel or need to peel.
Superficial peels, such as glycolic acids and salicylic
acids, may induce little to no peeling. This does not mean that the peel was
not performed properly. This means that the peeling agent is superficial (think
little down time, less pain, etc.) and working microscopically to induce
positive changes in the skin.
These peels are excellent before an event when a patient wants
a glow and little down time. Especially when performed in a series (every 2 to
4 weeks depending on the type), these peels can achieve great results.
Deeper peels, such as TCA (Trichloroacetic Acid) peels, are
much more likely to cause peeling or significant sloughing of the skin.
Depending on the percentage and the contact time, skin after this peel tends to
darken or crust before the skin is fully exfoliated off.
Not all skin types are a candidate for this depth of a peel
because of potential adverse reactions (hypo or hyper pigmentation, etc). This
depth of a peel also comes with more discomfort (think "burning sensation");
however, most patients tolerate these peels well with the use of a hand held
While the name may imply otherwise, a chemical peel may or
may not cause physical peeling of the skin to occur. If the proper peel and
technique are used on an individual patient, the results should be noticeable
regardless of any actual "peeling." The most important things to consider are
what agent is going on your skin and what it will do for your skin.
What are your favorite peels? Did you peel after the
treatment? In my next post, I will discuss some of my Go-To Peeling Agents.