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Pros and Cons of the Chemical Peel: a Personal Testimonial

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The first time I got a chemical peel, I was in high school and trying desperately to find something to help my stubborn acne. I suffered from moderate acne, mainly consisting of closed comedones and a few cysts. I also had a lot of clogged pores on my forehead and cheeks. My dermatologist had already put me on a lot of prescription medications that were mildly helpful, but I wanted a treatment that was more hands-on and customized to my skin’s needs. I thought that having someone manually apply a treatment to my face could only help my skin. I scheduled a chemical peel at my dermatologist’s office.

What’s a Chemical Peel?

The term “chemical peel” might not be very glamorous, but it can give you star-worthy skin. It’s a non-invasive treatment performed on the face by a skincare professional. The chemicals in a chemical peel can vary from synthetic, like a retinoid, to natural, like fruit acid. The most popular ingredients in chemical peels are alpha hydroxy acids, trichloroacetic acid, and phenol .

Alpha hydroxy acids are naturally occurring and include glycolic (sugar) acid, citric (citrus) acid, and lactic (milk) acid. They are the gentlest type of peel and help treat mild acne, dryness, and fine lines. Tricholoroacetic (TCA) acid is generally stronger than alpha hydroxy acids and notable because its strength can be easily adjusted. By far, the most intense of the peels are the ones using phenol. Also known as deep chemical peels, they are primarily used to reduce the appearance of deep-set wrinkles and severe hyperpigmentation. A phenol peel may cause some discomfort, and requires a protective jelly-like substance to be placed over the face for a couple of days following the peel.

My Chemical Peel Procedure

After the dermatologist thoroughly cleansed and dried my skin, he applied the peel to my face. Perhaps what people want to know most about chemical peels is: did it burn? My answer is no, it didn’t burn at all. However, I did have an alpha hydroxyl peel, which is rather gentle. While it didn’t burn, it did feel a itchy and tingly I had the urge to reach up and scratch my face but I knew it was the chemical peel working its magic.

After the peel, my dermatologist performed a few extractions with a lance. They were quite painless compared to other extractions I’d had in the past, and I know it was because the peel had removed the outermost layers of my skin and exposed the extractables to the surface. After the procedure was done, my dermatologist slathered some sunscreen on my face (because just-peeled skin will be susceptible to sunburn) and handed me a mirror.

After My Chemical Peel

I was a little apprehensive to check out my post-peel face, but I was pleasantly surprised. I did look a bit flushed overall, but nothing that didn’t fade within a couple of hours. Best of all, the hyperpigmentation from acne scarring had dramatically faded. The lightest spots had disappeared altogether, while the more purplish-colored scars had faded to a light pink. To the touch, my skin was incredibly smooth.

The chemical peel exfoliated my skin in a way that no scrub or at-home treatment could possibly do. If you suffer from post-acne hyperpigmentation or clogged pores, I recommend that you try a chemical peel. It’s a relaxing, painless treatment that will lead to clearer, more healthy-looking skin. To schedule a chemical peel or a free consultation with a medical spa or skin care clinic near you, contact New Image Specialists today!

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