Chemical Peels

How to choose the right chemical peel

Chemical peels are non-invasive procedures using specific chemical solutions to rejuvenate the skin. They are helpful in treating a variety of skin concerns including wrinkles, pigmentation, sun damage, scars and acne.

There are several types of chemical peels ranging in strength from mildly superficial to deeply resurfacing; alpha hydroxy acid peels (AHA), beta hydroxy acid peels (BHA), retinoic acid peels, trichloroacetic acid peels (TCA), and phenol peels. The type, concentration and acidity will determine whether the chemical peel can safely be performed by a trained aesthetician (superficial peels) or under the direction of a medical doctor (deeper peels). Certain chemical peels may only be administered by medical doctors.

With all the options that are available, how should you choose the chemical peel that is right for you?

At Captivate Aesthetics (a.k.a. The Wrinkle Doctor) we will help you choose after a thorough evaluation of your skin and its needs.

Below is a short summary of the different peels available.

Superficial Peels

Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) are usually derived from citric acid (citrus fruits), glycolic acid (sugar cane), lactic acid (fermented milk), malic acid (apples) and tartaric acid (grapes). AHAs are the mildest of all chemical peels. They have proven to be effective in treating dry skin, acne, liver or sun spots, lessening fine facial wrinkles, and improving skin texture. Generally, glycolic acid is the commonly used AHA. Glycolic acid has been shown to increase skin thickness up to 15% in patients with sun damaged thin skin. This occurs through the stimulation of collagen production, the skins natural support protein. AHAs also work by loosening and removing dead skin cells.

Captivate Aesthetics offers NeoStrata glycolic acid peels in 20, 35, 50 and 70% concentrations.

Lactic acid is a very mild AHA, and is hydrating and brightening to the skin.

Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs) are lipid based and the most widely used is salicylic acid. They tend to work very well on oily skin types, helping to control oil production, on acne prone and congested skin, and to a certain extent can penetrate the skin better than AHAs due to their lipid base capabilities attaching to our own natural skin oils. Salicylic acid has anti-inflammatory properties, which can reduce redness and irritation from breakouts.

Kojic acid, though normally synthetized in a laboratory, is naturally produced by certain species of fungi and mushrooms. Kojic acid is popular as a peel ingredient because of its lightening effect on the skin, preventing abnormal melanin from forming.

Naturally the ideal peel would have all the properties of glycolic, lactic, salicylic and kojic acid combined, which is why the Obagi Radiance Peel is the chemical peel that we do most often at Captivate Aesthetics. It is not concentration based like a normal glycolic acid peel, instead the strength depends on the number of layers that are applied. This means that it is customizable and suitable for most patients with very little downtime, if any.

We can also combine the Radiance peel with a Dermapen treatment for additional effect, it is called a Pixel Peel. It ensures better penetration of the peel and more collagen stimulation.

Medium to Medium-Deep Peels

Trichloroacetic Acid (TCA) is perhaps the most frequently used acid for a medium depth peel. It is available in a range of strengths and combinations with other acids. TCA peels are a great choice for advanced pigment irregularities, sun damage, deeper wrinkles and acne scars. When used as a stand-alone agent with percentages above 20%, it is routinely administered only by a physician. Bronzing and peeling of the skin are typical with this type of peel, therefore it is reserved for patients that can afford to have a few days downtime.

We offer a lighter medium depth TCA peel, but we also have the Obagi Blue Peel for a medium-deep peel in patients with severe sun damage. The Blue Peel consists of TCA mixed with a bright blue base that ensures even penetration of the acid. Mostly for Braveheart and the brave-hearted, but very effective with great results.

Our most effective way of treating larger sunspots is to do a Spot Peel with TCA on the dark spots, and a lighter glycolic or Radiance peel on the rest of the face. There is less downtime, with bronzing and peeling restricted only to the areas treated with TCA.

Deep Peels

Phenol peels are not very commonly used, but are very powerful and can result in dramatic rejuvenation. These peels require sedation, have a long recovery period and can have many side effects. We do not offer phenol peels at Captivate Aesthetics.

So, which peel should I choose?

In conclusion, deeper peels have the most dramatic results, but also the most downtime due to the extended healing of the skin. Superficial chemical peels are a great choice for patients looking for skin maintenance and can in long term have similar results than medium depth peels. Peels performed at an aesthetic clinic are not the same as the home peel kits on offer, as the do-it-yourself kits are usually buffered and/or diluted. On the other hand, some acids purchased online could be too strong for use by an untrained person and could result in injury and scarring.

So, when it comes to chemical peels, let our experienced team help you decide which peel is best for your skin and the results that you desire. Easy.

Ask us about a chemical peel for your feet!

News and Advice

Chemical peels with alpha-hydroxyacids are helpful in treating a variety of skin ailments. The alpha-hydroxyacid used most commonly for peels is glycolic acid. Unlike other chemical peels, alpha-hydroxyacids are not toxic to the skin. These acids have been shown to increase skin thickness up to 15% in patients with sun damaged thin skin. This occurs through the stimulation of collagen production, the skins natural support protein. Alpha-hydroxyacids also work by loosening and removing dead skin cells.

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