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What to know before chemical peel

Chemical peels are a non-invasive, medical procedure that uses acids to exfoliate the skin. The most common type of chemical peel uses alpha-hydroxy acids to remove the outermost layer of skin and reveal newer, healthier cells. This process can result in smoother skin and improved texture, tone, and color—but there are a few things you should know before getting one.

First, we should talk about what chemical peels are not: they are not laser treatments! Chemical peels also differ from microdermabrasion because they do not remove as much skin or create microscopic holes in the top layer of your skin. They also differ from fractional radiofrequency (RF) treatments because RF is an ablative treatment that removes deeper layers of your skin. Next, let’s talk about what chemicals can be used for chemical peels: glycolic acid (AHA), trichloroacetic acid (TCA), salicylic acid (BHA), Jessner’s solution (a mixture of resorcinol and lactic acid), TCA cross linking solution (TCA with two other ingredients), phenol/phenol derivatives (such as monophenol

You may find it hard to access the right information on the internet, so we are here to help you in the following article, providing the best and updated information on What to know before chemical peel, chemical peel at home for hyperpigmentation. Read on to learn more. We at cosmeticsurgerytips have all the information that you need about at home chemical peel vs professional. Read on to learn more.

What to know before chemical peel

So, you made an appointment for a chemical peel. Good for you! Not only are they important in maintaining the health of your skin, but they are also one of the most effective facial treatments there is. Chemical peels can be used to correct issues such as uneven tone, fine lines and wrinkles, dark spots and even acne. Another wonderful asset of chemical peeling is that there is a peel available for most every skin type.

So, you made an appointment for a chemical peel. Good for you! Not only are they important in maintaining the health of your skin, but they are also one of the most effective facial treatments there is. Chemical peels can be used to correct issues such as uneven tone, fine lines and wrinkles, dark spots and even acne. Another wonderful asset of chemical peeling is that there is a peel available for almost every skin type.

But now what? A lot of people are intimidated by chemical peels. And while there really isn’t a need to be, there are a few things one needs to know beforehand to ensure the best experience (and results!) possible.

9 Things You Should Know Before Getting a Chemical Peel:

1. HAVING YOUR SKIN IN GREAT SHAPE BEFORE THE PEEL IS IMPERATIVE.

Sure you can get a peel without healthy skin, but if you really want great results, healthy is definitely better. Theraderm’s Skin Renewal System will have your skin in tip-top shape and ready for any facial procedure. 

2. PEELING IS NOTHING MORE THAN EXFOLIATION.

It seems kind of scary to have your skin flaking off, but this is the only way to get down to the newer, healthier skin. If you would like to speed up the peeling process so you don’t have as much downtime, you can use Nupeel Enzyme Peeling Gel. Not only does it speed the process, but it also adds much-needed micronutrients to the skin. 

3. USING A SKIN BRIGHTENER 2 WEEKS PRIOR CAN HELP REDUCE YOUR RISK OF POST-PROCEDURE HYPERPIGMENTATION.

Theraderm’s Enlighten Skin Brightener helps suppress melanin production after a peel to ensure dark spots don’t pop up afterward. This is particularly effective for those with darker skin.

 

4. ASK YOUR SKIN PROFESSIONAL WHICH PEEL IS RIGHT FOR YOU.

You may not want to visibly see the exfoliation process (zero downtime) so a 70% lactic acid peel may be better for you! Peeling doesn’t bother you? A Jessner’s Peel or TCA may be what you are looking for. Make sure you let your skin care professional what makes you most comfortable. 

5. CHEMICAL PEELS ARE NOT JUST FOR YOUR FACE.

That’s right! Don’t save all the good stuff for your face. Peels can also be applied to your hands and chest to remove dark spots or acne trouble spots like chest and back. A Jessner’s Peel on your feet will leave them as soft as a baby’s behind!

6. GO IN WITH REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS.

If you have raised scarring, a chemical peel isn’t going to remove it. If you have several years of damage on your skin, a single peel isn’t going to remove that, either. It will, however, smooth, tighten and brighten your skin leaving you with a more youthful appearance. 

7. ONE PEEL ISN’T GOING TO DO THE TRICK.

Unless you opt for a deeper TCA peel, one isn’t going to give you the results you want. A series is by far the best way to get optimal results. Your skin care professional can you determine what type of series would be best for you.

8. SUNSCREEN SHOULD BE YOUR BEST FRIEND.

You already know how we feel about wearing sunscreen every day anyway, but after a chemical peel, it is a necessity to maintain your results. Platinum Protection Facial Sunscreen is the perfect choice because it is broad-spectrum and oil-free so you can easily wear it under your makeup.

9. YOUR SKIN CARE PROFESSIONAL SHOULD PREP YOUR SKIN PRIOR TO APPLYING THE PEELING SOLUTION.

You want the solution to be applied directly to your skin so you can get even results. They should exfoliate your skin with Nupeel Enzyme Peeling Gel to remove any loose, dead skin cells, first. 

Chemical peel at home for hyperpigmentation

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If you’ve ever been hesitant to reach for a chemical exfoliant to help fade unwanted hyperpigmentation, there’s a good reason. “In general, chemical peels are intentionally irritating and not essential to balanced skin, unless indicated otherwise by a board-certified dermatologist for things like acne vulgaris or melasma,” dermatologist Dr. Ellen Marmur tells Elite Daily, adding, “Self-directed treatment is rife with overdoing it.” When needed, the best at-home chemical peels for hyperpigmentation contain a lower concentration of chemical exfoliants to lessen the chance of irritation. “If you’ve ever experienced hyperpigmentation, as I have in my 20s from patches of melasma on my upper lip and face, you want to do anything bionic to remove it,” Dr. Marmur says of her own experience. “But slow and steady is the only way to conquer hyperpigmentation, so be patient,” she advises, while stressing the importance of checking in with your dermatologist before using any at-home chemical exfoliants.

In addition to taking things slow and consulting with a professional, Dr. Marmur advises that it’s best not to exceed a concentration of 5% of the active ingredient in question. “Mandelic acid and tranexamic acid tend to be slow and steady for hyperpigmentation treatment at home, along with proper sun protection and LED green light,” shares Dr. Marmur. She also adds that other AHAs and BHAs, like glycolic acid and salicylic acid, are popular when it comes to at-home chemical treatments for hyperpigmentation.

As for the delivery method, Dr. Marmur confirms that mechanical exfoliants, like scrubs, should be avoided because they can worsen hyperpigmentation. “Liquids and serums applied and massaged into the skin with your fingertips work much better than pads, which increase waste,” she adds. “Never brush, scrub, or rub chemical exfoliants on skin that’s prone to excess pigment because this will backfire and put you back at square one,” she stresses. “Baby your skin, protect it well, and let your derm help you in your journey against hyperpigmentation.”

Keep scrolling to shop five of the best at-home treatments for hyperpigmentation, from serums to cleansers to face masks.

1. Best Tranexamic Acid Serum For Hyperpigmentation

Naturium Tranexamic Topical Acid 5%

AMAZON

Naturium Tranexamic Topical Acid 5%

$20SEE ON AMAZON

Tranexamic acid is typically a well-tolerated ingredient when it comes to fading unwanted hyperpigmentation and preventing new dark spots from forming. Naturium’s Tranexamic Topical Acid 5% gives you a potent concentration of the active ingredient, while other effective brightening ingredients like kojic acid, licorice root extract, and niacinamide bolster the acid’s skin-evening effects. This combination makes it one of the best hyperpigmentation treatments you can buy for $20 — while plenty of hydrating ingredients like glycerin, panthenol, and hyaluronic acid prevent it from drying out your skin.

2. Best AHA Serum For Hyperpigmentation

Honest Beauty Resurfacing Serum

AMAZON

Honest Beauty Resurfacing Serum

$23SEE ON AMAZON

Honest Beauty’s Resurfacing Serum combines three AHAs to target unwanted hyperpigmentation: Glycolic, lactic, and citric acids. Additional ingredients like hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and aloe leaf juice all work to soothe and hydrate skin, while niacinamide offers double the skin care benefits by helping to treat hyperpigmentation and calm inflammation. At less than $25, it’s a great entry point into the world of chemical exfoliants. For best results, use it at night and don’t forget to apply sunscreen the next morning (as is the case with any AHA product).

3. Best BHA Exfoliant For Hyperpigmentation

Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant

AMAZON

Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant

$32SEE ON AMAZON

Among the 40,000-plus five-star ratings on Amazon, you’ll find dozens of reviews that specifically mention how helpful Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant is when it comes to treating hyperpigmentation. The tried-and-true formula uses a 2% concentration of salicylic acid to clear out congested pores and exfoliate dead skin cells, while green tea extract soothes and provides antioxidant protection. Because of salicylic acid’s pore-clearing benefits, this is a great choice if your primary skin concerns are hyperpigmentation and acne or blackheads.

Though it doesn’t have nearly as many Amazon reviews, the brand’s Discoloration Repair Serum, which features tranexamic acid, niacinamide, and bakuchiol extract, is another solid pick for treating hyperpigmentation.

4. Best Exfoliating Mask For Hyperpigmentation

Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel Full Strength Exfoliating Mask

AMAZON

Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel Full Strength Exfoliating Mask

$49SEE ON AMAZON

If you like to use the occasional skin-pampering mask, Juice Beauty’s Green Apple Peel Full Strength Exfoliating Mask gives you a powerful chemical treatment in just 10 minutes. AHAs in the form of malic, glycolic, and lactic acids combine with the BHA salicylic acid to slough away dead skin cells and even out your skin. Bakuchiol and vitamin C give you more skin-brightening benefits, and aloe leaf juice, grape seed extract, and glycerin help with hydration. Though the mask is formulated with mostly naturally derived ingredients (many of which are organic), it still has the potential to cause irritation. Because of this, the brand suggests doing a patch test on your arm before putting the mask on your face.

5. Best Splurge

Sunday Riley Good Genes Lactic Acid Treatment

AMAZON

Sunday Riley Good Genes Lactic Acid Treatment

$85SEE ON AMAZON

This multi-purpose treatment can be used as a leave-on serum morning or night, or as a 15-minute mask that you rinse off if your skin is hyper-sensitive. Sunday Riley’s Good Genes Lactic Acid Treatment is a cult favorite for its ability to improve the clarity and texture of your skin, while still being pretty gentle. In addition to the AHA lactic acid, licorice root extract works to brighten skin and fade unwanted hyperpigmentation, while soothing and hydrating ingredients like squalane, arnica, aloe leaf, and prickly pear keep the formula balanced. It offers both immediate and long-term benefits, and has a lightweight texture that layers under other products beautifully.

You May Also Like

Dermalogica Daily Glycolic Cleanser

AMAZON

Dermalogica Daily Glycolic Cleanser

$35SEE ON AMAZON

Though not exactly a peel, a cleanser with chemical exfoliants, like Dermalogica’s Daily Glycolic Cleanser, is a great place to start because the active ingredient gets rinsed right off (as opposed to treatments and serums that are left on and therefore pose a higher risk of irritation). This cleanser uses glycolic acid to exfoliate away dead skin cells, the buildup of which can contribute to hyperpigmentation. You’ll also find jojoba seed oil, hyaluronic acid, glycerin, calendula, and allantoin in here to help condition skin and calm any signs of irritation.

At home chemical peel vs professional

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Dullness. Dark spots. Acne scars. Fine lines and wrinkles. What do all of these skin concerns have in common? They can be treated with medical-grade chemical peels. Depending on your aesthetic goals and needs, chemical peels are available in an array of potencies and have the ability to resurface the skin for more even tone and texture. For those looking to achieve glow-inducing results at-home, less concentrated chemical exfoliators can slough away dead skin cells for a more radiant complexion. Here, we’re breaking down everything you need to know about in-office chemical peels and at-home chemical exfoliators.

What Is a Chemical Peel?

Professional chemical peels employ chemical solutions of varying strengths to target and remove the outer layers of the skin. “The benefits of a medical-grade chemical peel are endless,” says Lizette Ludwig, RN, an aesthetic nurse and injector in southern California. As she explains, they are a good option for anyone looking to address skin imperfections. “Chemical peels allow you to remove dead skin cells and address fine lines, hyperpigmentation, and uneven skin tone in a safe and effective way,” she shares.

Professional chemical peels can be broken down into three categories:

  1. Superficial chemical peels
  2. Medium chemical peels
  3. Deep chemical peels

These classifications are based on the potency of the peels and the ingredients used in the chemical solution. “Ingredients found in medical-grade peels usually include alpha hydroxy acids (lactic acid and glycolic acid), beta hydroxy acids (salicylic acid), trichloroacetic acid (TCA), and phenol,” Ludwig says. Below is an overview of each:

SUPERFICIAL CHEMICAL PEELS

The lightest and gentlest of the group, superficial chemical peels remove the epidermis (i.e. top layer of the skin) and are generally tolerated by most skin tones. “These peels are usually made from alpha hydroxy or beta hydroxy acids, but they can also include enzymes or other natural exfoliating ingredients,” Ludwig notes. Because they focus on the epidermis, superficial peels provide a slight improvement to the skin and usually require a series of treatments for best results. Some mild dryness and flaking are a part of the healing process and can last for three to five days.

MEDIUM CHEMICAL PEELS

Falling in the middle of the scale, medium-depth chemical peels produce a more dramatic result in a single treatment than light peels. “Skin will be significantly smoother with an even tone and blemishes removed,” Ludwig says. This type of peel usually contains trichloroacetic acid (TCA) to penetrate the skin and remove layers below the epidermis. Peeling, redness, and swelling are all to be expected post-peel and can last three to 10 days.

DEEP CHEMICAL PEELS

Needless to say, deep chemical peels are the strongest and most invasive. They usually involve a potent formulation of TCA or phenol that can penetrate the deep layer of the dermis. As Ludwig shares, the depth allows them to produce “drastically smoother” and “youthful-looking” skin. “Deep peels can achieve amazing results for sun damage, scarring, and wrinkles,” she says. Due to their strength, however, deep peels can be painful and healing requires patience. Several weeks of downtime is needed, and full recovery could take weeks or months.

Professional Chemical Peel Treatments

Medical-grade chemical peels involve the application of a chemical solution to the face and (possibly) neck. The chemical solution is either applied lightly or rubbed more vigorously onto the skin using a gauze pad. During the application, you may experience a slight tingling (superficial to medium peels) or burning (deep peels). “I like to give my clients a mini fan which helps the tingling or burning sensation,” Ludwig shares. With certain types of chemical peels, the solution may need to be ‘neutralized’ after the appropriate time has elapsed, though most chemicals neutralize on their own.

Regardless of what strength peel you choose, patients are usually sent home with post-care instructions. “Make sure to discuss with your provider how to care for your skin after the peel,” Ludwig says. Even for the lightest peel, you’ll likely need to make changes to your skincare routine for a few days pre- and post-treatment. If you’re planning on a medium or deep peel, antiviral medication may be prescribed beforehand.

CHEMICAL PEEL SAFETY

Professional chemical peels are meant to be performed in a doctor’s office or a medical spa by a licensed skincare professional. As we’ve reported, the DIY dermatology trend that’s fueled by social media and social distancing had led some to try medical-grade treatments (like TCA peels) at home with dangerous and damaging results. “Beware of chemical solutions sold online, as they are usually sold illegally and can cause permanent damage to your skin,” Ludwig warns. “Chemical peels should be applied by a licensed professional.”

Professional Chemical Peels vs. At-Home Chemical Exfoliators

The main difference between a superficial in-office peel and chemical exfoliators or treatments you can find at, say Sephora, is that at-home solutions do not provide the same chemical concentration as their professional counterparts. While similar active ingredients may be found in both versions, the potency is quite different. As Ludwig explains, at-home percentages of glycolic acid, for example, max out around 10 percent, while medical-grade glycolic acids (applied by a professional) can reach as high as 70 percent.

At-Home Chemical Exfoliators

If you’re dealing with mild cases of uneven skin tone and texture or wish to maintain your complexion in between in-office appointments, at-home chemical exfoliators and enzyme treatments can impart a subtle and sustained glow with regular use.

When it comes to choosing a treatment, Ludwig suggests reading the label closely. “I recommend looking for brightening ingredients like AHAs, BHAs, vitamin C, and active enzymes such as pumpkin, papaya, and pineapple,” she explains. “Every ingredient serves a purpose, so do your homework when it comes to the ingredient list.”

CHEMICAL EXFOLIATOR SAFETY & RESULTS

While your skin likely won’t peel or flake the way it will after a professional treatment, irritation is possible with at-home exfoliating products. “Read all instructions carefully when it comes to at-home peels,” Ludwig cautions. “Most will ask you to wash it off after 10 to 15 minutes of application and gradually build up to leaving it on overnight.”

Another way to ensure your skin ends up radiant, not ruddy? “I recommend skipping out on ingredients like retinol and other active serums on days you choose to exfoliate at home,” Ludwig shares. She suggests exfoliating one to two times per week and alternating days with any actives already in your routine. “Less is more, in my opinion,” she says. “Over-exfoliating can disrupt our skin’s microbiome.”

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