Peeling Predicaments: Can There Be Too Much of a Good Thing?


Throughout history, the epitome and cultural aspects of beauty have included the vision of smooth, clear and flawless skin, and it has been well promoted that exfoliation and peeling of the skin has been a staple concept in attaining such.

History and Pioneers

In earlier centuries, a variety of techniques were employed for skin exfoliation that included precarious materials to create le belle peau. These included animal oils, salt, sour milk, mustard, sulfur, pumice, frankincense, myrrh, hydrochloric acid, phenol and nitric acid.1 What may be considered “modern” chemical peeling was introduced in the 19th century in Vienna, Austria by Ferdinand Ritter von Hebra. His techniques employed the use of croton oil, phenol and nitric acid which are still used in the medical community today.2



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Learn all about peeling predicaments and the physiology of the skin as well as check out a cross reference chart for peeling agents in our digital magazine


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Erin Madigan-Fleck, N.M.D., LEI, LMC, is a licensed esthetic instructor and esthetician with over 30 years of experience in the esthetic and wellness industries. She is a nationally certified natural health professional and holds a doctorate degree in naturopathic medicine. Madigan-Fleck can be reached at [email protected].

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