Woman receiving chemical peel treatment

All About Chemical Peels

Pure Bliss Med SpaFace

If you find yourself scrolling on social media quite often, more specifically TikTok, then I’m sure you’ve seen the recent viral Chemical Peel disaster video (https://www.complex.com/pop-culture/tiktoker-neyo-white-to-sue-atlanta-spa-over-chemical-peel-burns). I feel most people who haven’t had a chemical peel think “will this happen to me?” But rest assured, this is not the norm, and as long as you find a well-versed skincare specialist, like our aestheticians who are knowledgeable on all things chemical peels, you have nothing to fear and are indeed in good hands. 

We, Pure Bliss Med Spa, are Atlanta’s very own premier Med Spa. We offer some of the best Chemical Peels on the market. But before we get into further details, let’s dive deeper into understanding the peels themselves.

Are you interested in receiving a chemical peel? Schedule a consultation

Understanding Chemical Peels

Chemical Peels are an advanced procedure using highly concentrated solutions and acids to break through the barrier of the skin and correct minor to significant concerns. Chemical Peels range from gentle to aggressive and have different depths from medium to deep. Some pose more like a deep exfoliation, while others are more penetrative, going deeper into the layers of the skin. Peels also vary in percentage levels. The lower percentage is gentler and serves as exfoliation rather than aggressive peeling, but as the percentage increases, so does the peel’s intensity. It’s essential to start with lower percentages to build your skin’s tolerance and resilience. This gives us a chance to learn about your skin and how it reacts to products and ensures that you have the proper at-home skincare regime for pre and post peel. If you are unsure which peel is for you, consult with a skin care professional to help you decide which is best for your skin. 

Different Types of Peels

Several different peels are offered, but let’s help you get familiar with some, so you know what you’re in for.

Gentle (Exfoliating) Peels: Enzymes

Although they are not technically chemical peels, Enzyme Peels are the gentlest form of a peel. They are non-aggressive exfoliators of high concentrations of acids that derive from fruits. Enzymes help rebalance, regenerate and restore the skin while maintaining its youthfulness. The most popular Enzymes are:

  • Lemon, Pumpkin, and Orange – to help with lightening hyperpigmentation
  • Pomegranate – to help decongest the skin
  • Coconut and Papaya – help with hydrating and balance

Light (Exfoliating) Peels: AHAs + BHAs

AHA – also known as Alpha hydroxy acids, are a group of natural and synthetic water-soluble ingredients that exfoliate the uppermost layers of skin to help smoothen texture and lighten pigmentation. The most popular AHA Chemical Peel(s) are:

  • Glycolic Acid 
  • Lactic Acid 

BHA – also known as Beta Hydroxy Acids, are a group of mild oil-soluble acids derived from plants, tree bark, and fruit designed to break down oil and treat acne. The most popular BHA Chemical Peels are:

  • Salicylic Acid 

Strong (Penetrating) Peels: TCA + Jessners

TCA – also known as Trichloroacetic Acid, is a medium depth to deep peel that penetrates the first layer of skin, exfoliating oil and skin cells while pushing the body to renew and heal. It’s great for acne concerns, hyperpigmentation, and sun damage, improving texture and scarring.

Jessner – A Jessner peel combines salicylic acid, lactic acid, and resorcinol (a flaking agent). It’s typically a medium-depth peel removing dead skin cells from the top layer of skin and skin cells from the middle layer. It’s great for oily and acneic skin types and clients dealing with sun damage.

Who Are Chemical Peels For?

Perfect candidates for chemicals are not limited to clients dealing with:

  • Acne and Congestion
  • Dark Marks and Hyperpigmentation 
  • Fine Lines and Wrinkles
  • Skin Pitting, Acne Scarring, and Texture Issues 

Who Is Not a Candidate for Chemical Peels?

Although chemical peels can be suitable for most, they aren’t safe for everyone. Chemical Peels may not be for you: 

  • If you are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • If you are allergic to any peel ingredients listed on the peel pamphlets
  • If you are allergic to Aspirin
  • If you have open wounds, infected skin, sunburn, cold sores, or lesions
  • If you have used Accutane within the past 4-6 months
  • If you have a history of cold sores (herpes simplex) and have been given an antiviral three days prior
  • If you have recently had treatments such as waxing, laser hair removal, electrolysis, or chemical defoliants
  • If you are undergoing chemotherapy and/ or radiation therapy
  • If you currently have or have a history of an autoimmune disease or any condition that may weaken the immune system

Do you want to know what other facial services we offer? Contact us to learn more

How to Prep Your Skin For a Chemical Peel

Preparation is essential no matter how gentle or intense your selected peel is. You’re going to need to pause using a few products and treatments until your skincare professional gives you the ok to use them again. About seven days before your peel, it is essential to avoid any chemical exfoliants, advanced lightening products, retinol or any vitamin A derivatives and all hair removal procedures, including laser hair removal, electrolysis, waxing, and other depilatory hair removal products/methods. 

In the days leading up to the peel (for about 72 hours), avoid using physical exfoliants, facial masks, self-tanners, and bleaching or skin-lightening agents. This includes both over-the-counter and prescription skin care products.

Be cautious of your sun exposure within the four weeks leading up to your peel. Unprotected skin with sun exposure can cause harm and further damage to the skin during the peeling process. Therefore, WEAR YOUR SUNSCREEN! This helps prevent irregular pigmentation in treated areas. Using broad-spectrum sunscreen (that is between SPF 30-50) daily and hydrating products, like Hyaluronic Acid, ensures your skin is protected and prepared for your chemical peel. 

Products That Help Prepare Your Skin Before a Chemical Peel

It is important to ensure that the skin is prepped and ready for a chemical peel. Using a chemical exfoliating solution at home 1-3 times a week (depending on your skin type) weeks before your peel is a great way to help get rid of stubborn hyperpigmentation. 

Some of those include but are not limited to two acids mentioned earlier: glycolic acid and lactic acid. Others include kojic acid, which derives from rice water, azelaic acid, and mandelic acid. Low percentages/concentrations of these are recommended. 

Hydroquinone, a lightening agent for hyperpigmentation, is another great ingredient to help prep the skin for a peel. 

Lastly, retinol, a derivative of vitamin A, can help with the anti-aging benefits of a chemical peel. But always be sure to speak with your aesthetician or skincare specialist before making that decision. 

What to Expect During And After The Chemical Peel Process?

Light (Exfoliating) Peels 

DURING: During the process of the light peel, we first cleanse the skin, then prep with medical-grade acetone. Once the skin is dry, we protect the face’s sensitive areas, such as the orbital rim of the eye, the nostrils, and the lips. After this, the light peel is applied and begins to exfoliate and absorb. Depending on the selected peel, this will determine the allotted time, but no light peel exceeds seven minutes. You will feel a warm tingling sensation which is completely normal. Once the peels time is complete, the skin will be neutralized with a solution that stops the peel from exfoliating more, and after we hydrate the skin and protect it with broad-spectrum sunscreen.

AFTER: Light peels are very simple and easy treatments. Normally there is little to no downtime. The sensation you feel during the procedure goes away minutes after the peel is removed. You may experience some redness but only on the day of your peel. Some clients experience flaking, but not all will and not as long as an advanced peel. It honestly depends on how much exfoliating your skin may need. The good thing that most people enjoy about light peels is the minimal downtime and the beautiful afterglow it gives your skin. You may want to avoid exfoliating for the next four days, but you’re able to jump right back into your regularly scheduled program.

Advanced (Penetrating) Peels

DURING: This procedure takes about 10-20 minutes (30 min. for resilient skin). During this process, we apply the peel to the skin one layer at a time. Each layer applied pushes the layer applied before it further into the skin. It is a self-neutralizing peel; therefore, you will not wash it off for the first eight hours to activate it. During your service, you will experience a slight burning sensation. This is normal because we are using professional-grade chemicals to renew the skin. Then you will start to feel a numbing sensation on your skin due to the peel containing numbing agents. You will experience redness (erythema) and see white patches (frosting), which means that the peel has passed through the first four layers of the epidermis (the first layer of your skin) and reached the fifth and final layer. 

AFTER: After your service, you will experience erythema (redness of the skin) and frosting (white patches), which will disappear within the first day. Your skin will feel extremely tight and dry. Also, you may experience slight itching and discomfort. These reactions are normal and will occur within the first 2-3 days after your peel. Around day three (sometimes four), you’ll begin to see peeling, typically around the mouth because that’s the part of your face you will move the most. As tempting as it may be, DO NOT tug on the excess skin that will flake. You can simply cut away the hanging pieces. Avoid activities that make you sweat and facial movements that stretch your face to speed up the healing process. I know this can be an uncomfortable process, but you don’t want to rush the peel. Just let it flow and fall off naturally so that you receive the best results. Around Day five or six, you will be in your final stages of peeling, and by day seven or eight, your skin will officially be renewed! 

Aftercare And Things to Avoid After a Chemical Peel

It is essential to follow the Post Peel instructions perfectly because your skin is sensitive and needs the proper TLC to peel and receive the best results fully. Post peel, your skin will be most sensitive to the sun. Therefore it is also important to protect it when outdoors. So, the biggest thing to avoid directly before, during, and after your peel is THE SUN! Avoid exfoliating treatments and products until your skin has completely peeled. 

As you can tell by this lengthy read, there is a lot to know about all things relative to chemical peels, and it doesn’t stop there. But we hope that we’ve covered the basics. Now that your chemical peel fears are eased, and you better understand options and expectations, schedule your consultation at our Sandy Springs, Atlanta Med Spa today to begin your journey to better skin.

Are you ready to get your chemical peel? Schedule an appointment with us today