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Discover 4 Types of Chemical Peels

Thursday, 20 March, 2014 Guest Chemical Peel 0 Comments
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ALPHA-HYDROXY ACID PEELS The beauty of alpha-hydroxy acid peels is that they are safe for almost everyone and result in minimal down time for your client. Both glycolic and lactic acid peels are alpha hydroxy acid peels, yet they react very differently with the skin. For example glycolic acid is derived from sugar cane and is corrosive. Glycolic acid penetrates the acid mantle and goes through the inter-cellular matrix to the basal layer. This creates a slow shedding of the epithelial layers and an inflammatory response creating new cell turn over in the epidermis and as new cells rise to the surface old cells will be slough gradually with daily cleansing. In essence, glycolic peels work from the inside out. So typically, with glycolic peels, your clients will see very little surface peeling. Glycolic acid comes in strengths of 20%-70% with pH ranging from 3.5 down to 1.6 for Medical settings. The best glycolic acid will come in a stabilized formula with an aloe Vera carrier and a pH factor ranging from 3.0 to 2.0.


Lactic acid which is also an AHA is known for its NMF (Natural Moisturizing Factors). Lactic acid peels tend to penetrate the skin slower, softening hardened keratin from the surface down. The result is a plumping of the stratum corneum making it easier to physically exfoliate. 


Salicylic acid or Beta peels is hydroxybenzoic acid found in willow bark. Salicylic peels usually come in two strengths of 20 and 30 % and a ph of 3.0 to 2.0. Salicylic peels work best for excessively oily skin, retention keratosis, and active acne grades 3 and 4. Salicylic acid peels chemically devour surface lipids and keratin creating more visual sloughing of the stratum corneum than AHA's. Your client will feel heat ranging from warm flushing to extreme heat due to the quick inflammatory response in the skin from Salicylic acid peels. Thus the phrase "melt down peel". You can help alleviate any discomfort they may have by offering your client a hand held fan.


Jessner's peel solution is a combination of three different acids: 14% lactic acid, 14% salicylic acid and 14% resorcinol in a denatured alcohol base. Jessner's peel is light sensitive due to the resorcinol, so be careful to make sure the lid is closed tight after each use and store away from light. It is difficult to over peel with Jessner's due to the fact that this peel works primarily in the stratum corneum. Some people can be very sensitive to the resorcinol so it is best to take a patch test several days before the scheduled peel to be safe. Jessner's chemical peels create a marked vasodilation in the skin and a lot of heat reponse. Temporary darkening of the skin can occur due to the resorcinol. Jessner's chemical peels also cause excessive exfoliation which some clients may or may not want. All these symptoms are temporary and subside within 10 to 14 days. If your client has a very compact normal stratum corneum or has recently undergone deeper peels, do not be surprised to have little to no exfoliation. It is possible to perform a Jessner's chemical peel on your client and see no sloughing because of this. So proper skin assessment to determine how much stratum corneum is present is important.
By understanding these four chemical peel options, you can determine which peel is best for your clients.

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What is a chemical peel?

A chemical peel is a safe and effective skin-resurfacing and regenerative procedure in which a chemical solution is applied to skin to peel away the top layers.

  • Performed by fully qualified skin care professionals.
  • Short healing time.
  • No post UV sensitivity.
  • Cheaper than other techniques.
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