Updated: Nov 17, 2021
What is Skin Peel?
Skin Peel has come a long way since ancient times where royalties and ultra rich people soak their bodies in yogurt (lactic acid) and found that they have a much smoother and supple skin after that. It has since evolved many folds to the current much controlled and deeper peels.
How does skin peel improve my skin?
Skin peel in different depth works differently. Physicians generally categorized peels into Superficial peel, Medium Depth Peel and Deep Peel.
Superficial peel – A very mild acid is applied to the skin with the aim of just exfoliating the superficial dead skin. The skin generally looks brighter and cleaner after the treatment without much down time. Most people gets only a few hours of redness and the maximum down time is one day. This is sometimes called the celebrity red carpet peel as many celebrities wanted their skin to be perfect on events and they perform this treatment just before the big day.
Medium depth peel – A stronger acid/more layers of acid are applied to the skin to completely remove the epidermis, leaving behind the dermis. This treatment is good for patients who have pigmentation, deep acne scars, pores issue as well as wrinkles. Following this treatment, your skin will look firmer, brighter as well as clearer all due to the increase collagen and elastin, making your skin more youthful. Due to its depth, this treatment has a down time of 7 – 10days (this is the treatment that I have it done on myself, *see pictures)
Deep peel – much deeper than medium depth peel, this reaches the superficial layer of the dermis. This is seldom done nowadays as it is very painful hence warrants general anaesthesia as well as the risk of scarring is very high. Also ingredient for this peel such as resorcinol are toxic to the heart at high dose. Hence, it has since many years ago lost it lusts to the medical profession as many other peels can achieve similar result with much less complications.
By scraping certain layers of the skin, the DNA of the skin is forced to work extra hard to form new skin. Hence waking up the slugging dull looking skin, forcing it to form more elastic new skin.
Comparatively, the younger the age, the more active the DNA of the skin, forming better elastic skin. Just like the skin of a baby, that never needed any moisturizer but always soft, supple and has perfect complexion.
How is Skin Peel done?
Skin Peel is a medical procedure done by trained medical doctors. As it is an acid being applied to the skin, the physician must be able to diagnose and tell certain signs that indicate the depth of the procedure.
If it is a superficial peel, normally, there is no pain at all. There will be some tingling sensation during the treatment. The choice of superficial peels can be glycolic acid, mandelic acid, salicylic acid or Modified Jessner peel.
Before any peel, the face will be thoroughly cleansed and degreased so that the peel can be even throughout the whole surface. Without this step, there will be certain areas that will be peeled more severely than others.
The following step is the application of the acid to the face, depending on the depth, more time or more layers are being applied to the face. During this crucial step, doctor has to be diligently looking for signs of peel reaching the dermis such as pure whitish crusting, (texture akin yogurt).
After the desired depth is achieve, depending on the composition of the peeling agent, some may need neutralizer to be applied to stop the acid to continue peeling deeper. Some may not need neutralizer.
The last step is optional depending on doctor’s preference. It is a layer recovery balm/sunblock for faster calming effect.
What To Expect after Skin Peel?
For the 1st 1-3days, your skin will definitely be more sensitive than usual to touch. So, you must handle your face with absolute gentle care. The sensitivity seldom last more than 3 days as your skin’s DNA starts to be awaken up and form new cells.
From day 4-8, there will be peeling like snake changing skin. This layer of dead skin is being pushed outwards by the new cells formed underneath by the awaken DNA layer. One must take note NOT TO peel the skin off, allowing the dead skin layer to fall off by itself during face wash.
From day 7 or 8, you would expect your skin to return to its renewed self.
How often should I repeat Skin Peel?
If you have acne and oily skin, I would recommend a more frequent regime to control the sebaceous gland activity as well as removing more dead skin to prevent them from clogging the pores and forming acne. Acne and oily skin should do this monthly till skin is totally clear.
For fine wrinkles and pigmentation, I would recommend 2 -3 sessions 8 weeks apart. Bearing in mind, the physician will prepare your skin with a set of skin care for 6weeks before this treatment so that your end result is much improved.
For pores and general maintenance, I would recommend 8 weekly regime to maintain skin health.
Who should not be doing skin peel?
If you have any of the conditions below you should discuss your options with your doctor
1. Allergy to any composition of skin peel.
2. Autoimmune disease such as SLE, RA.
3. Active skin condition such as psoriasis, dermatitis.
4. Infected skin such as impetigo, cellulitis.
5. Active viral sores such as herpes zoster, herpes simplex sores.
6. Previous known case of persistent redness after skin peel.
How do I feel during and after the procedure?
As I am quite used to many of the aesthetic procedures, I opted not to apply any numbing cream before the procedure to save me time. Hence, during the procedure I do feel some hot sensation on my face. I would rate the score of 4 out of 10, for 10 being the max pain feeling. That sensation stops after 15 minutes. This sensation will not be there if I chose to wait for 30minutes for the numbing cream to take effect.
My face was sensitive to touch on the first and second day after the procedure. It was back to normal on day three despite the peeling has started.
When the peeling has started, occasionally I do feel some itch due to the dead skin peeling off. I felt like when a wound is healing that kind of itch.
At day five, it was all back to normal without anymore peeling. My skin is refreshed now, although I need another few sessions to complete clear my deep acne scars.