Considering A Body Peel? Here’s Everything You Need To Know

Written by Miriam Gonzalez, RN, Registered Nurse on January 16, 2024 No Comments

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Are you looking to enhance your skin’s appearance and achieve a smooth and vibrant complexion? Look no further than body chemical peels. While chemical peels are commonly associated with facial treatments, they can also be highly effective for various parts of the body. Body peels offer a multitude of benefits, from rejuvenating tired skin to addressing specific concerns like hyperpigmentation, acne, and uneven texture.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the benefits, types, and process of body peels, helping you understand how they can transform your skin from head to toe.

What are Body Chemical Peels?

Body chemical peels are minimally invasive cosmetic procedures that utilize one or more acids to gently remove layers of dull, dead, or damaged skin. These treatments use various chemical compounds, such as alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) like glycolic acid and lactic acid, beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) like salicylic acid, or other ingredients like enzymes and retinoids. Body peels work by exfoliating the outermost layer of the skin, revealing fresher, healthier skin underneath. Unlike facial chemical peels, body chemical peels contain higher concentrations of active ingredients, making them more potent and suitable for areas with thicker skin, such as the legs, arms, back, chest, and hands.

How do Body Peels Work?

Body peels work through the process of chemical exfoliation. These peels contain active ingredients that penetrate the skin, breaking down the bonds between dead skin cells and encouraging their shedding. This controlled skin damage accomplishes two goals. Firstly, old and dull skin is peeled away to unveil fresher, younger-looking skin with improved texture and tone. Second, the damage stimulates the production of skin healthy proteins like collagen and elastin.

Different peels may have varying strengths, ranging from mild exfoliation that address superficial skin to deeper peels that can target more significant skin concerns. The strength and ingredients used in the peel determine the depth of exfoliation as well as the potential downtime (recovery time) associated with the treatment.

What benefits can body peels provide?

Body chemical peels offer a wide range of benefits, making them a versatile solution for various skin concerns. Here are some of the key advantages of body chemical peels:

  1. Reducing Scars and Hyperpigmentation

Whether it is acne scars, surgical scars, or hyperpigmentation, body chemical peels can effectively diminish their appearance. By removing the outer layers of the skin, these peels stimulate cell turnover and promote the growth of new skin cells, leading to a more even skin tone and texture.

  1. Treating Acne and Preventing Breakouts

Body chemical peels, particularly those containing salicylic acid, are highly effective in treating body acne. Salicylic acid penetrates deep into the pores, unclogging them and reducing inflammation, resulting in fewer breakouts.

  1. Smoothing Rough and Bumpy Skin

If you struggle with rough and bumpy skin, known as keratosis pilaris, body chemical peels can provide significant improvement. These peels exfoliate the skin’s surface, helping to smooth out the rough texture and reveal softer, more radiant skin.

  1. Improving Skin Tone and Texture

Body chemical peels can enhance overall skin tone and texture, leaving you with a smoother, more youthful complexion. By removing dead skin cells and promoting cell regeneration, these peels can help you achieve a more even and radiant skin tone.

  1. Enhancing Product Penetration

One of the notable benefits of body chemical peels is their ability to improve product penetration. By removing the barrier of dead skin cells, these peels allow subsequently applied skincare products to penetrate deeper into the skin, maximizing their effectiveness.

  1. Stimulating Collagen and Elastin Production

Body chemical peels stimulate collagen and elastin production, two essential proteins responsible for maintaining skin elasticity and firmness. By boosting the production of these proteins, these peels can help reduce the appearance of fine lines or wrinkles, giving your skin a more youthful appearance.

  1. Safe for Sensitive Skin and All Skin Tones

Body chemical peels can be safely used on sensitive skin and are suitable for all skin tones. However, it is crucial to choose the right type and concentration of peel based on your skin type and concerns. Consulting with a dermatologist or skincare professional is recommended to ensure the best results and minimize the risk of adverse reactions.

Types of Body Peels

Body chemical peels come in various strengths, with each type tailored to address specific skin concerns. The type of peel recommended for each patient depends on factors such as skin type, skin color, and desired outcome:

Superficial Peels

Superficial chemical peels target the epidermis, the outermost layer of the skin. These peels use low concentrations of alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) to exfoliate the skin gently. Examples of commonly used acids in superficial peels include glycolic acid, lactic acid, and mandelic acid. Superficial peels are ideal for minor skin concerns, such as clogged pores and dull skin tone. Minimal downtime is required with these types of peels.

Medium-Depth Peels

For individuals with deeper skin issues like acne scars and fine lines, medium-depth peels may be recommended. These peels penetrate deeper into the epidermis and typically contain higher concentrations of acids like glycolic acid or trichloroacetic acid (TCA). Medium-depth peels are effective in treating age spots, hyperpigmentation, and persistent skin concerns that may not respond well to topical products.

Deep Peels

Deep peels are reserved for severe discoloration and long-term scars. This type of peel removes several layers of the skin, improving the appearance of persistent blemishes. Deep peels typically use stronger acids in higher concentrations and thus entail thorough preparation and aftercare. While they produce a more dramatic result, deep body peels also require longer downtime. They are generally performed once every few years and are not recommended for individuals with sensitive skin or darker skin tones.

How is a body peel treatment performed?

Body peel treatments should be performed by a licensed skin care professional who has experience using a variety of peels. Each treatment should start with an in-person consultation to allow the applicator to assess the patient’s skin type, concerns, and medical history to determine the most suitable type and strength of body peel. Expected outcomes, potential risks, and pre- and post-treatment care instructions during the consultation.

Next, the skin is thoroughly cleansed to prepare for the peel. Any makeup, oils, and other impurities are removed from the treatment area. The chosen body peel solution is then applied to the targeted areas of the body using a brush, sponge, or applicator.

During the treatment, the skincare professional carefully monitors the skin’s response to the peel solution. The duration the peel solution remains on the skin depends on the type of peel and the individual’s skin sensitivity. This period can range from a few minutes for milder peels to around 30 minutes or more for deeper peels.

Once the appropriate amount of time has elapsed, the peel solution is neutralized or removed using a neutralizing solution or water, depending on the type of peel used. Neutralization stops the exfoliation process and prevents further penetration of the peel solution.

What body areas can be treated?

Body peels can be applied to numerous areas of the body to address specific issues in the treatment area or to improve overall skin texture and appearance. Common areas for body peels include:

  • Back
  • Chest
  • Arms
  • Abdomen
  • Legs
  • Hands
  • Feet
  • Buttocks

Are multiple treatments necessary?

Most patients will achieve noticeable improvements to the skin after a single treatment. However, multiple sessions of body peel treatments may be recommended to achieve optimal results. The frequency and number of sessions depend on the individual’s skin concerns, the type of peel used, and the desired outcome. Often, improvements skin texture and tone can be observed within one or two treatments. However, deeper skin concerns like significant sun damage, brown spots, or fine lines may require a series of treatment sessions, each spaced apart to allow the skin to heal between sessions.

Periodic maintenance treatment sessions may also be suggested to sustain the benefits obtained from the body peels.

What should I expect after my peel treatment?

The post-treatment recovery experience will differ from patient to patient and depends on the type and strength of the peel applied as well as the body area addressed. After the peel, the skin along the treatment area may appear red or feel sensitive. A soothing mask or calming topical product can be applied to alleviate any discomfort. Most patients will experience itchiness, dryness, and tightness as the skin beings to peel and shed. It is important to refrain from picking or scratching during this period as such actions can damage the skin. Patients should also avoid excessive sun exposure and use a gentle cleanser until cleared by their peel provider.

Are There Side Effects?

Most side effects of body peels are minor and resolve without the need for intervention. Common side effects include dryness, redness, and irritation, all of which often subside within a few hours to a few days of the peel. As the skin heals, its normal to experience crusting, peeling, and flaking of the skin. Deep peels may often result in swelling along the treatment area.

While less common, other side effects like temporary pigmentation issues (either hypopigmentation or hyperpigmentation), infection, and scarring are possible. Following all post-treatment instructions, specifically refraining from picking at the skin and avoiding UV exposure to the area during the healing process, is crucial to minimize these risks.

Miriam Gonzalez, RN

Miriam Gonzalez is a dedicated and highly skilled registered nurse at Westlake Dermatology. Miriam has completed extensive procedural training alongside renowned Dermatologist Dr. Gregory Nikolaidis as well as advanced injectable trainings with Allergan and Galderma. She offers appointments for dermal fillers, neurotoxin injections, hair restoration with PRP, cryolipolysis with Coolsculpting, chemical peels, skin tightening, and laser resurfacing.

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