Chemical peel practices have been used in skincare routines for centuries and find their roots deep in world history. Ancient Egyptians used lactic acid from sour milk as an active agent for exfoliation. In 1903, the future chairman of NYU’s dermatology department, George Miller Mackee, began using phenol peels to treat acne scars. So what exactly is a chemical peel? Off of first impressions, it might not sound exactly like the safest thing – but chemical peels have a proven history to resurface smoother, more supple skin.
A Chemical Peel is a cosmetic procedure that can be done on your face, neck, and hands. Different types of acids are used as resurfacing agents to strip layers of skin so brand new, supple skin grows back in its place. Each type of procedure uses a different type of acid that penetrates different layers of your skin, so you want to know what your skin needs before buying that cream or booking your next appointment. You might not need a deep chemical peel if you’re just looking for some gentle exfoliation. There are three different types of chemical peels that all do different things for your skin.
TYPES OF CHEMICAL PEELS AND WHAT THEY DO FOR YOU
The three types of chemical peels are: superficial, medium, and deep. With all three types, your skin will be more sensitive to the sun and will require you to wear strong SPF following your chemical peel.
SUPERFICIAL CHEMICAL PEEL
A superficial chemical peel is the lightest type you can get. A superficial chemical peel only removes your epidermis, the outermost layer of your skin. It’s commonly used to treat wrinkles, fine lines, acne, uneven skin tone and texture, and dryness. Superficial peels usually use Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) because they're milder but still yield great results. AHAs are chemical compounds derived from both plants and animals. There has been extensive research on AHAs, including by the FDA, that support the power, efficacy, and safety of their use in skincare products. You can regularly use superficial chemical peels as long as you give your skin time to breathe. You might experience some initial stinging and redness, but you might not experience peeling of the skin like with the other two types. It depends on the type of application and procedure. It’s generally like a gentle exfoliation that buffs your skin.
MEDIUM CHEMICAL PEEL
A Medium chemical peel also removes your epidermis but also the upper portions of your dermis, the middle layer of your skin. Medium chemical peels are generally used to treat wrinkles, acne scarring, and uneven skin tone. Before getting a medium chemical peel, you’ll most likely have to use another resurfacing agent, like retinol cream, in order to break up the current layers of skin and make it easier for the chemical peel to penetrate the skin. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the chemical agents you could find in a medium chemical peel are trichloroacetic acid, Jessner's solution, and glycolic acid. Jessner’s solution is a combination of Lactic Acid, Salicylic Acid, and Resorcinol. The symptoms following a medium chemical peel are commonly compared to the same of a deep sunburn. After the application, the peeling begins about 48 hours after application and can last up to a week.
DEEP CHEMICAL PEEL
A deep chemical peel is the most intensive form of skin cell resurfacing. So intense, you usually get a sedative, a pain killer, and the results can last up to 10 years. A deep chemical peel penetrates all the way into the lower layer of the dermis. Deep chemical peels are often used to treat deep facial wrinkles, sun-damage, scarring, or even pre-cancerous growths. The main chemical used in deep chemical peels is called phenol. Using phenol, your skin can lose its ability to tan normally and cause discoloration even after using sunscreen. Phenol can also be a risk for people who suffer from heart disease. Similar to a medium chemical peel, you’ll most likely have to use another resurfacing agent prior to getting a deep chemical peel, like retinol cream, in order to break up the upper layers of your skin and make it easier for the chemicals to penetrate the skin and perform more effectively. Your face can swell up to two weeks after your procedure and your eyelids can even swell shut. It may take a few months for the redness to subside and it’s extremely important to keep your skin moisturized and protected with SPF. Despite the risks with chemical peels, studies have shown that using chemical peels can make your skin and your skincare products work better. According to David Bank, an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Columbia University/Presbyterian Hospital in New York City, "As that topmost layer is shed, signals are sent to the living cells below to multiply and move up, to increase collagen production, to make more hyaluronic acid—to act younger.”
LACTIC ACID PEELS - MOONMAG’S APPROACH
When it comes to skin rejuvenating, our philosophy at MOONMAG is we want you to see miraculous results without feeling like your face is burning off. That’s why we took a note from the infamous aesthetically gorgeous Ancient Egyptians. We use goats milk + kefir skincare to treat your beautiful faces with a gentle kind of chemical peel. Goat milk & kefir are naturally packed with AHAs, specifically lactic acid - just like the Egyptians’ skincare. The lactic acid in our goat milk cleanses out dead cells and turns over new, healthy cells without causing any irritation or flaking on your skin. We don’t formulate medium or deep chemical peels, so we use lactic acid in our creams, cleansing milks, lotions, scrubs, deodorants, and soaps for a mild but effective skin restructuring. Because of lactic acid’s gentle nature, you can use lactic acid all over your body and face. Our products that contain lactic acid provide a gentle peel and exfoliate dead skin to reduce dark spots, fine lines, and wrinkles.
Giving your skin new life can be as simple as incorporating products with goat milk & kefir into your skincare routine. Check out our MOONMAG SkinCare Products in our Ultimate Guide To Natural Beauty.