Types of Chemical Peels: Which Peel Is Right for Me?
You may already know that chemical peels are one of the most popular non-invasive treatments for improving the skin. A chemical peel is a topically applied chemical compound that revitalizes the skin by creating a controlled shedding of skin cells. Peels can address a myriad of skin issues including acne, sun damage, hyperpigmentation, wrinkles and lines, clogged pores, and even pre-cancerous skin lesions.
But did you know there are many different types of chemical peels? Peels can differ in terms of their strength (ranging from mild to aggressive) as well as which skin issues they can correct. Below is an overview of popular peel options.
Common Types of Chemical Peels
As the name suggests lactic peels are derived from milk (lactose). Lactic peels are great for patients with overly dry or sensitive skin. It’s a good option for people who have had negative experiences with retinol. This peel is relatively easy on the skin, providing a gentle exfoliation that can lighten minor pigmentation or correct minor sun damage.
One of the most popular types of chemical peel, glycolic peels are formulated with glycolic acid which as an alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) that exfoliates the skin while promoting the production of collagen on other skin proteins. Glycolic acid has a very small molecular size which is ideal of penetrating the skin. This is why of all types of peels glycolic peels tend to penetrate the deepest. Glycolic peels can also be formulated in different strengths.
Beta Hydroxy Peel
A beta hydroxy peel uses salicylic acid (a beta-hydroxy acid or BHA) to address acne while also improving blotchiness, texture issues, and uneven skin tone. It’s a great peel for people with combination, oily, or acne-prone skin that have acne and post acne inflammatory pigmentation issues.
TCA peels use Trichloroacetic Acid to remove old, dead skin cells from the outer layers of the skin in order to reveal new underlayers of skin that are softer, smoother, brighter, even toned, and more radiant appearance. This peel can treat a variety of skin problems including wrinkles, fine lines, dark spots, dullness, rough areas, melasma, and blotchiness. TCA peels are superficial peels and commonly formulated with light to medium strength concentrations, making it a great choice for users with darker skin tones and more sensitive skin.
Which Peel Should I Choose?
Everyone is unique in both the characteristics of their skin and the issues they seek to correct. Fortunately, chemical peels are highly customizable and can be tailored to meet the needs of each individual patient. The best person to determine the right peel for you is a licensed skin care professional. A skilled aesthetician or dermatologist will be able to properly asses your needs and formulate the best chemical peel for your needs and desired end result.