Chemical Peels: more paleo than paleo!

Willow bark, and fermented milk and sugar. These ancient little chemicals could give you the best result of any skin treatment you have ever tried.

While the word “chemical” may set off alarm bells, don’t panic. Many “chemicals” used in prescription skin peels are organic acids that are found in nature and help treat inflammation.

Dating back to ancient Rome and Egypt, the chemical peel is still one of the best anti-aging tools in the skin care arsenal. Peels differ in their ingredients and strength and the best results come from a medical prescription peel. 

Which skin conditions can a chemical peel improve?

acne / rosacea / fine lines and wrinkles / age spots / freckles / hormonal pigmentation / large pores / dull skin

The term “peel” is misleading because oddly enough most “peels” do not result in obvious skin shedding.  Glycolic and salicylic acid chemical peels dissolve the glue that holds dead skin cells together so most exfoliation does not flake because the skin inconspicuously melts away. However, the peel prescribed for ageing and pigmentation produces a very obvious layer of snake-like peeling that may last 7 days.

Skin prepping for 2-4 weeks prior will give better results so your doctor may prescribe a prescription vitamin A or suggest a nightly acid serum. My favourite is Rationale's Number 5 exfoliating serum. During the peel a solution is applied to the skin for a matter of minutes and there is minimal discomfort and little downtime. Some peels are washed off and others left on overnight. There may be slight redness for minutes to hours. 

The chemistry bits…. Glycolic acid is little wrinkle hero with numerous studies showing an increase in collagen growth after the use of glycolic acid at appropriate concentrations. Work your way to a higher percentage of acid with each session for best results. Salicylic acid loves oily skin so it’s not a surprise that acne responds beautifully to this peel. And it’s a very potent anti-inflammatory: great for inflamed pimples and acne rosacea. A Jessner’s peel is a traditional formula that combines 3 ingredients to give dramatic skin shedding that lifts away both superficial and deeper pigment. 

Combination treatments...Peels can be performed in conjunction with other treatments to boost their results. Work with your skin therapist and cosmetic doctor to create a bespoke treatment plan based on sound scientific evidence and experience. Milder peels start at $50 and are performed as a series and more intense peels that are performed twice yearly or annually cost $250.