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Chemical Peels

The use of chemical peels to soften and improve the appearance of the skin dates back over 3,500 years to the ancient Egyptians. Historians describe the use of several different techniques, including the use of animal oils, salt, and alabaster to smooth the skin. Egyptian women bathed in sour milk, or rubbed fermented grape skins from the bottom of wine barrels over their skin to enhance beauty. Little did they know that they were benefiting from the superficial skin peeling effects of a family of chemicals called hydroxy acids which remove the outer layers of the skin.

These acids have now been identified as lactic acid in milk and tartaric acid in grape skins and can be found in a huge number of modern beauty products.

Chemical peeling (chemexfoliation) involves the application of a chemical solution to the surface of the skin to produce the careful removal of its outer layers. The amount of skin removed will depend on the type of chemical used, the strength of the product (superficial, medium and deep) and how long it is left on the skin. They are commonly used on the face or the backs of the hands to improve rough skin texture, fine lines and wrinkles, age spots, sun damage, blemishes,  or acne and actinic keratosis (precancerous skin growth).

Today, scientists have identified numerous forms of acid which can be used to induce beneficial changes for our skin, including salicylic acid, trichloroacetic acid (or T.C.A.) and phenol peels. Facial peels have grown enormously in popularity over the past twenty-five years and now it can be a very effective treatment when performed by an experienced practitioner.

The diagram below shows where the different layers are and where different types of peels act on the skin.

SUPERFICIAL PEELS

Remove the outer layer of the skin or the “epidermal layers”.

MEDIUM DEPTH PEELS

Remove both the epidermal layers and upper dermal layers. These are the next layers down as you can see on the diagram.

DEEP PEELS – please note, we do not offer deep peels.Chemical Peel

Peeling extends deeper into the lower dermal layer of the skin.

No matter how deep the peel, your skin will re-grow and should heal fully.

The Consultation

At your first consultation, you should explain what you expect from the treatment and how you would like to look afterwards. You  should then be told exactly what the treatment will involve and how long it will take for you to recover from it. A medical history will be taken, to ensure that there are no reasons why you shouldn’t have the treatment. Once this is established, you will be asked to read some information and sign a consent form indicating that you have understood the potential benefits and risks associated with the peel procedure recommended.

Photographs may also be taken by the practitioner, for use as a “before and after” comparison at a later date.

Depending on the depth of peel and combination of peels used, different treatment procedures are recommended.

You should avoid any changes in your normal skincare routine 1 - 2 weeks prior to peel treatment. Things to avoid include electrolysis (facial hair removal), an exfoliating facial, sunbathing, tanning beds, or the use of any new creams as these could alter your response to the peeling agent. What happens next depends on the type of peel used. A week before, avoid waxing or exfoliating any area to be treated.

 

SUPERFICIAL PEELS

For one of the commonest peeling agents used, glycolic acid, the procedure is generally quick and easy to perform. The face is cleansed to strip the skin temporarily of its natural oils and allow the glycolic acid to be absorbed into the skin. The peel is then quickly painted onto the area to be treated and is left for between 2 - 10 minutes, depending upon the strength and type of glycolic peel used.

A number of ‘coats’ can be applied if tolerated.

This mild peel generally needs to be repeated weekly for 4-6 weeks to obtain a good result, which can then be maintained with monthly peels.

 

MEDIUM DEPTH PEELS

The skin is again thoroughly cleansed before application of the peel. An even layer of the peeling agent is applied to the area to be treated, which makes the skin slowly becomes whitish – grey, or “frosted”. A fan is sometimes used to help cool the face. Application continues until ‘frosting’ appears.  Once frosting has occurred, which may take several minutes, a neutralising solution is applied.

This type of peel may be repeated monthly until the desired effect is achieved. Thereafter, maintenance peels every 6 – 12 months should keep your skin looking good.

 Complications and side effects.

As you can probably guess, the depth of peel relates directly to the pain experienced and number of side effects.

SUPERFICIAL PEELS

During the procedure most people experience a mild stinging sensation whilst the glycolic acid is on the face. The face is often pink after the solution is removed, and there may be a faintish white discoloration in some areas, or a blotchy appearance to the skin that usually fades within a couple of hours. Some patients do not experience any visible peeling off of the skin after treatment, but the treatment still has a beneficial effect, like a very good exfoliation.

Side effects or risks of superficial peels can be hyperpigmentation (too much pigment which causes brown blotches on the skin) and a high factor sunscreen should be applied at all times to help reduce the potential for this problem.

In rare cases, patients may experience an infection in the skin or an out-break of cold sores. This normally only occurs in patients who have a history of such complaints. ( Anti- viral medication may be recommended if such complications occur.)

MEDIUM DEPTH PEELS

The face may swell shortly after the solution has been applied and turn pink, with some burning and stinging of the skin that can last for 30 minutes to an hour following 25% - 35% TCA peels.

Over the next few days, the face may turn a dark brown colour, with streaks of white appearing amongst the brown. The skin will then begin to peel, over a 5 - 6 day period, and may begin to itch during this healing phase. After peeling, the face will be bright red – this will fade to a fresh pink tone in most people over the following 3 - 6 weeks. With the milder TCA peels it is less likely that these symptoms are problematic.

Hyperpigmentation or brown spots may occur, even if you follow your doctor’s advice and apply sunscreen before going outdoors, especially if you tend to ‘scratch’ the itch! Bleaching creams may be used to help reduce the appearance of these brown areas. Your practitioner will be able to recommend one which is suitable for you.

Redness of the face may also last for longer than 2 - 3 months in some patients; however, this should disappear over time. Very rarely, some patients may develop scarring following a medium depth peel. This can occasionally be permanent, but you should be aware that such a result is extremely unlikely.

Post treatment instructions.

It is very important that you carefully follow the advice of your practitioner following a peel treatment to help to improve the benefit of the procedure and reduce the risk of complications or side effects.

SUPERFICIAL PEELS

  • cleanse the face gently with a soap-free cleanser, pat the skin dry with a towel;
  • moisturise twice a day;
  • do not picking off any dead or peeling skin as this may cause bleeding and discoloration, or even mild scarring;
  • do not expose yourself to the sun without a minimum factor 30 sunscreen for at least 6 weeks after treatment to reduce the risk of hyperpigmentation (brown blotches on the face) A high factor (min SPF 30) sunblock should be used daily to protect the skin;

MEDIUM PEELS

  • use mild painkillers, such as paracetamol, if required;
  • gently splash your face with warm water and patting dry with a towel. Mineral oil may also be recommended to help to cleanse the skin gently;
  • apply a thin layer of cream (recommendations given at consultation) several times daily to reduce the risk of infection;
  • if itching is severe during the healing phase, antihistamines may be recommended to help stop this symptom.
  • sleep on your back with your head propped up by a few pillows to help reduce swelling in the face;
  • avoid strenuous exercise for a couple of weeks to allow healing to happen without sudden jarring to the face;
  • avoid scratching or picking at the skin to reduce the chances of scarring, use Vaseline or soft yellow paraffin to keep peeling skin soft and supple;
  • starting using a sunscreen (high factor) after the skin has healed, and avoiding any direct sun exposure for around 6 weeks;

Additionally, when you leave a clinic after a chemical peel treatment you are likely to suffer from varying degrees of redness depending on the depth of the peel, which may not be the most attractive face that you wish to present to the public as you walk down the street. There is however a solution.

Lycogel® are the first truly breathable, completely safe camouflage and concealer products that oxygenate skin at the cellular level, and are suitable for immediate use after cosmetic procedures such as chemical peels. Doctors, skin specialists, aestheticians and beauty therapists use Lycogel® Camouflage & Concealer, because it is the only foundation that has the ability to promote the healing of damaged or postprocedural skin and can be used on the skin immediately following treatment, allowing you to face the world without a red face.  We can offer an application of a similar concealer post treatment and can order some for you if required.

Our range of peels are;

SkinTech products-

Easypytic - 70% Glycolic acid with mendolic acid and phytic acid.

Easypeel - 15% Trichloroacetic acid (TCA)

Easyphytic are superficial peels

EasyTCA are medium peels

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Dermal Fillers

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