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The Different Types of Chemical Peels
types of chemical peels


Sep 8, 2022

Published By:

Este Medical

In this article, we take a look at the types of chemical peels available, how they’re grouped differently, and what conditions they can help with. Let’s go!

What are the Different Types of Chemical Peels?

If you’re wondering how many types of chemical peels are there, we’re here to tell you that there are three. The types of peel relate to how strong the chemical peel is and how deeply it affects the skin’s layers. The three types of peel are:

  1. A light or surface/superficial peel
  1. A peel that penetrates to a medium depth
  1. A deeply penetrating chemical peel

To further classify the types of chemical peels, you can then look to the four most prevalent ingredients within these chemical peels. This allows these three classifications of chemical peels to be broken down further to -

  • Alpha Hydroxy acid peels
  • Beta Hydroxy acid peels
  • Phenol chemical peels
  • Trichloroacetic acid peels

What is the Best Type of Chemical Peel?

With so many peels available, you’d be forgiven for wondering which one is right for you. If you’re looking to find out what type of chemical peel is best for acne scars, or which is right for wrinkles, then we’re here to iron things out for you.

Here are the chemical peel types and their benefits:

Alpha Hydroxy Acid Peels

This type of chemical peel is ideal if you don’t have enough time for a deeply penetrating peel but still want great results. AHA peels enhance exfoliation and help to boost skin cell turnover.

AHAs are good at targeting signs of ageing, discolouration, dry skin and blemishes. If used over a period of time, AHA peels should help improve collagen and elastin production too.

Beta Hydroxy Acid Peels

BHA peels are anti-inflammatory and are a great choice if you’re looking to tackle mild to severe acne. They’re also good at addressing signs of ageing.

BHA peels can help slough off dead skin cells, penetrate into pores to clear out blackheads, and help reveal fresh, new skin cells for a rejuvenated complexion.

Phenol Chemical Peels

If you need a serious peel to tackle multiple skin concerns, the phenol chemical peel might be the right choice for you. This is the mother of all peels as it penetrates super deep.

Phenol peels can work wonders on everything from deep-seated acne scars to fine lines and wrinkles, plus discolouration too. It takes a while for skin to recover from a phenol chemical peel, so don’t expect overnight results. The wait will be worth it.

Trichloroacetic Acid Peels

This type of peel takes off the surface layer of skin to reveal a smoother, fresher skin underneath. It’s possible to adjust the strength of TCA so that the peel can work either at a surface level or go deeper into the dermis.

This is a popular choice of peel and has been used for over 50 years by skin specialists. It’s great at focusing on photo ageing skin conditions such as sun spots, discolouration and wrinkles.

Are Chemical Peels Safe for all Skin Types?

In general, chemical peels have been deemed safe for all skin types. However, if you have particularly sensitive skin, are pregnant, have taken oral prescription medication for acne within the last six months, or you have a family history of keloids scar tissue, then a chemical peel may not be right for you.

Speak to the team at Este if you’ve got any concerns.

What Type of Chemical Peel Should I Get?

This depends entirely on what problems you’re worried about, and what results you’re hoping to achieve from your chemical peel. As chemical peel types vary and their benefits are multiple, this will be decided at your consultation.  

How long does a Chemical Peel take?

Chemical peels are a relatively quick procedure and can be carried out in around 30-90 minutes. However, while the treatment itself is quick, the recovery time takes a while.

If you’ve had a medium-to-deep chemical peel expect a recovery time of around two to three weeks. This may feel like a long time, so prep ahead and choose a time that would work best for you.

Are Chemical Peels Safe?

Superficial and medium-depth chemical peels are generally considered very safe. These treatments don’t offer permanent results and you’d need to have repeat peels to maintain the look of your skin.

Deeply penetrating peels like phenol peels are when things get a little riskier. There’s a chance you could develop heart, kidney or liver damage after a phenol chemical peel. This is rare but it’s something to consider.  

Do Chemical Peels Hurt?

This depends on your sensitivity/pain threshold. Most people report that they feel a tingling, or tightening sensation, perhaps a stinging feeling, and maybe a sense of burning with surface-level and medium-depth chemical peels.

These sensations will all subside, and a cold compress can be used to ease any discomfort. You may feel stronger sensations with a deeper chemical peel, and of course, the recovery time is also longer. Chemical peel aftercare is also important!

Are Chemical Peels Worth It?

If you’re looking for a way to improve your skin’s appearance with absolute minimal effort on your part, then a chemical peel is definitely worth it. Capable of tackling all sorts of annoying skin concerns from acne scars to photodamaged skin, a chemical peel can give your skin a new lease of life – quite literally.

If you’re considering a chemical peel, get in touch with Este Medical today and transform the skin you’re in with a tailored peel that will focus on the problem areas you want help with. We can’t wait to hear from you!

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