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Peel Away the Mysteries of Acids

By: Rhonda Allison
Posted: February 28, 2013, from the March 2013 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

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One common misunderstanding is that one treatment is all that’s needed. The truth is that typically several applications must be administered over multiple months or years, depending on the skin damage. As the skin care professional, it’s up to you to evaluate and determine what is best for your client’s skin. In some cases, layering technology with acids and enzymes is beneficial because it provides more control. Watching the skin closely allows you to stop if the skin frosts or shows any signs of unusual erythema, rash or swelling. Blending and sectioning are techniques that create more specific results. It allows the esthetician to customize the treatment to each client’s needs.

Another common myth is that skin-peeling will cause scarring. If a trained skin care professional performs the peel, permanent scarring will not be an issue. Redness and peeling are normal with deeper peels, but numerous superficial options are available, as well as advancements in cosmeceutical formulas that reduce inflammation, and rebuild and heal the skin. The long-term effects of the peels are healthier, smoother, more youthful-appearing skin.

Finally, it is a common belief that chemical peels are contraindicated for those with rosacea, pigmented or higher Fitzpatrick skin types. Various levels of superficial chemical peels are the answer. Most skin types, including those with pigmentation issues or darker skin, respond well to progressive treatments. In fact, peels can have a very positive effect. Acid blends, such as 10% trichloroacetic acid (TCA) and 20 % lactic and salicylic, along with L-ascorbic and azelaic, work well with these skin types. Some acids are geared toward rosacea/sensitive skin more than others, such as salicylic acid and retinoids, while using ingredients with added lighteners supports pigmented conditions, such as kojic acid and azelaic acid.

To determine what will work best for sensitive or highly pigmented skin, professionals should follow guidelines from companies that offer skin peels, as well as advanced education and personal experience.

Treatment intensities

At the core of a peel treatment, highly specialized acid and enzyme solutions are applied to remove damaged layers of cells from the skin’s outer surface—revealing more glowing, youthful skin. Treatments vary in intensity, and a client’s skin type and desired results will dictate which peel treatment is best. Intensities include progressive, mid-depth and deep peels.

Grow your understanding of chemical peels with Terri Wojak from True U Esthetics in the newest video from Skin Inc. Video Education, Superficial Chemical Peels!