Skin Peeling: choose the best one for you

Mechanical peeling

Mechanical peeling usually refers to Microdermabrasion which is considered to be a light peel. Microdermabrasion is a procedure in which tiny particles "sand" or "polish" the skin and gradually remove epidermal tissue. The surface skin cell turnover is enhanced and the skin becomes visibly fresher. In this procedure the stratum corneum is partially or completely removed by light abrasion to improve sun damaged skin, acne scars, dark spots and even fine lines and wrinkles. This treatment is not painful, requires no anesthesia, and usually takes about 30 minutes to complete. Typically, it is recommended to get monthly treatment sessions to maintain the results.
Today most microdermabrasion devices have a wand with a roughened or diamond surface which is used to rub the skin. Currently there are a few different microdermabrasion methods available:

Crystal microdermabrasion: This method is considered to be the traditional one and it relies on tiny crystals that are thrust onto the skin to perform the peeling process. This method tends to be fairly inconvenient, as the crystals scatter everywhere, including in the patient’s eyes, nose, mouth, etc.

Diamond microdermabrasion: In this method a diamond-tipped head is used to contact the skin and abrade against it. This method takes microdermabrasion to the next level and offers a gentler way to achieve microdermabrasion, as a crystal-free method that offers many different levels of treatments.

Home microdermabrasion: These systems are an increasingly popular alternative to professional treatments. They are cheap and very easy to perform, and although not as powerful as professional systems, they may be used to maintain the effects of clinical microdermabrasion.
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Chemical peeling


A chemical peel is a technique whereby a special chemical solution is applied on the skin, creating kind of a burn, which causes it to peel off. The main difference between the various kinds of chemical peels is in their different solutions and intensity.
Alpha Hydroxy acid peels (AHAs): This formula is the mildest formula and is intended to use on fine wrinkles, dry skin areas, uneven pigmentation and acne. The formula will also improve sun dried skin texture and smooth rough skin. AHA formula is made of carboxylic acids such as glycolic acid and lactic acid. Glycolic acid is formulated from sugar cane and lactic acid can be found in sour milk. This peel may cause stinging, skin redness, mild irritation and dryness. Multiple treatments may be needed in order to get the desired results.
Beta Hydroxy acid peels (BHA) is becoming more popular than the AHA peel due to its ability to go deeper and remove dead skin cells to a better extent. This formula is made from salicylic acid.
Retinic acid peel: This provides a deeper peeling than the AHA and BHA. Clients leave the clinic with the solution on their face, and the peeling process is expected to occur on the third day. This peel is intended for the removal of scars, as well as for wrinkles and pigmentation problems.
Trichloroacetic acid peels (TCA): This peel is usually aimed at darker skinned patients, and its intended use is for smoothing out fine surface wrinkles, removing superficial blemishes, and correcting pigment problems. This peel may require pre-treatment with Retin A or AHA creams and will always require use of sun block for several months after the treatment. It will usually take a few days for the skin to heal from this procedure, depending on the peel depth. Depth of penetration can be increased when using a higher concentration, but concentrations higher than 35% are not recommended as it may cause scarring.
Phenol peel is one of the strongest solutions available. The phenol peel has a very long lasting effect, some claim even up to 20 years. The improvement of the skin is usually very dramatic and only a single treatment is needed. Healing may sometimes take up to a few months and increased sun protection will be required for life. This peel is used to improve big spots, smooth deep wrinkles and even remove precancerous growths. Some side effects of the phenol peel are permanent removal of freckles and permanent skin lightening.

AHA and BHA peels are considered light chemical peels which are done in dermatologist’s or plastic surgeon’s clinic. Only minimal discomfort is usually involved and this kind of peeling is suitable for all skin colors. Recuperation period is very short and results usually can be seen a week after the treatment. The main disadvantage of this procedure is that it is not efficient in eliminating scars, and the procedure often needs to be repeated every few weeks in order to get the desired result.
TCA is a medium grade peel which is also performed at a doctor’s clinic, but is a bit more painful. Usually some kind of tranquilizer is used while performing this procedure and the feeling is similar to a burning sensation (first degree burn). In this procedure there is a hazard that the solution might injure the cells that are responsible for pigmentation, causing the skin pigmentation to change dramatically. Therefore, this treatment is not recommended for dark skinned patients. Recuperation period usually lasts between 2 weeks to a month, and results typically last for a year.
Phenol is a deep chemical peel and it is a very painful procedure (second degree burn is caused) and therefore most practitioners will perform it under general
anesthesia or heavy sedation. After the procedure the patient is usually hospitalized for 2-3 days. Using a high concentration of phenol can even affect heart bit, therefore prior to this procedure there is a need to check heart and kidney activity. The recuperation period from this procedure is very long and lasts about a month and a half. It is recommended to avoid the sun for at least 6 months after this procedure. Results are very dramatic and usually last between 5 years to life. Deep chemical peel changes the skin shade and therefore it is recommended only for fair skinned patients.



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Laser peeling

Laser peeling is also known as laser skin resurfacing. In this method of skin peeling the removal of the top layer of the skin is done using a focused laser light energy. Most laser peels are performed using a Co2 laser, Erbium YAG and fractional laser. The main outcomes of this kind of laser are intended towards making the skin smoother, tighter and more even in tone, texture and color. The treatment is also good for scars, vascular lesions, enlarged pores, dark spots and more. This procedure is most suitable for patients who are light-skinned, non-smokers and free of active skin infections (including acne). After the treatment it is recommended that the patient rests for about 7-10 days. In addition, they should expect some swelling, discomfort and possible crusting of the skin. Healing period may last up to 2 months, and the need to avoid sun exposure may even last longer. Complications include prolonged redness of skin, tenderness or a burning sensation, itching, and increased sensitivity to light. Long term problems can include changes in skin color and scarring. This procedure is generally the most expensive and the average cost is $2500. The cost usually depends on the size of the area, the depth of the procedure and number of treatments required.
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With the increasing variety of techniques for skin peeling, including some that can even be purchased without a medical license, it is important to consult with a dermatologist or plastic surgeon to find out the specific type suitable for you. It is important to note that most of the peels are not recommended after taking Accutane medication in the 12-18 months prior to treatment.