What are Skin Peels?
Skin peels, sometimes called chemical peels, are an aesthetic product; usually in liquid or gel form used to improve skin imperfections. There are many different brands that make and supply skin peels which can be an absolute mind field if you’re new to the skin peel world. Here’s some useful information on the different types of peels:
All skin peels are formulated to a specific Ph level. Often this is a vital indication of the strength of the peel but also often overlooked. The ph scale ranges from 0-14 with 0 being the strongest acidity, 7 being neutral and 14 being the strongest alkaline. Skin peels will always be within the acidic range of 0-7. The lower the Ph, the stronger the peel as it is closer to 0. So a skin peel with a 1.2Ph will be stronger than a skin peel with a 3.4Ph.
Often, the Ph of a skin peel is either overlooked or not clearly shown and therefore consumers can be confused with regards to the actual strength of the peel itself. Skin peels will often be advertised by their percentage instead, so the higher the percentage, the stronger the peel. However, if you have a skin peel at 50% with a Ph of 4.5 compared to a skin peel of 30% with a 1.5 Ph, the 30% peel will actually be stronger than the 50%. Make sense?
Ok, so we’ve looked at the strength of a skin peel now what are the different acids that can be used and what can they be used for:
Some call Glycolic acid master of none as it is commonly misused by a wide range of people. Glycolic acid is the most commonly used alpha hydroxy acid which means it dissolves in water. It can be an amazing skin exfoliator if used correctly. Many people use a 2% glycolic cleanser to keep dead skin cells at bay. Glycolic acid is best used for aging skin with signs of fine lines and wrinkles.
One of the only beta hydroxy acids which means it dissolves in water, fantastic on oily skin types. Salicylic acid, bar blue laser/light is the only treatment that can be used on active acne. As it comes in a range of different strengths and Ph, it can be hugely effective for all types of oily, acneaic and congested skin.
This alpha hydroxy acid is the most underused acid on the market which is a shame as it is fantastic for dry skin. With its naturally moisturising effects on the skin, this acid is fantastic for clients who have a build up of dead skin cells, making their skin dry and dehydrated. The other great property of this acid is that it is, in fact, suitable for highly delicate areas of skin such as under the eyes and neck.
Mandelic acid has a progressive chemoexfoliation meaning it penetrates the skin at a much deeper level than say a glycolic acid will. As this acid can reach the lower levels of the skin within the dermis, it has a great effect on pigmentation and uneven skin tones. Dispersing the unwanted pigment but at the same time causing it to rise to the surface of the skin where it can be exfoliated off. Clients must be aware that pigmentation will often look worse before it starts to look better. You must also make sure you have well hydrated skin to prepare for the mandelic acid. Therefore you could have a course of mandelic peels to hydrate your skin before moving onto a course of mandelic peels.
So Which Peel is Right for Me?
The great thing about skin peels is that you can cater to any skin type, even if they have multiple skin concerns. For example, if they have an oily T-zone and pigmentation on the cheeks then you can use Salicylic for the T-zone and Mandelic for the cheeks. There really is no rule to skin peels, they are completely versatile and greatly effective on all skin types.
Some Tips When Choosing and Using Skin Peels:
- Always check the Ph of the skin peels not just the percentage
- Make sure the shelf life is convenient for the number of peels you will be carrying out
- Check the range of acids available and if they have combined acids
- Always work with cold water, you don’t want any added heat on the skin
- Cleanse the skin twice for a minimum of 2 minutes each time
- Use your skin peels according to the skin area, not the whole face
- Prep the skin with a lower peel and work up
- Always provide adequate aftercare and ongoing support