Celebrity favorite chemical peels (how else do you think they get so gorgeous?) are a great way to keep skin looking fresh, smooth and youthful, but despite their popularity many myths remain about what they can do, how they work and what they entail. To help dispel any false ideas about chemical peels we’re stepping in with the facts.
Myth #1: All chemical peels are the same
Not all peels are created equal. “Chemical peel” is actually just a general classification for a number of chemical treatments used to exfoliate and rejuvenate the skin. Some are stronger than others and they provide varying results depending on the skin-saving effects you’re after.
Myth #2: Getting a chemical peels means lots of downtime
Post-peel recovery time depends on the type and strength of peel you’ve had, but many don’t call for downtime. For example, the common alpha-hydroxy and glycolic acid peels have little or no recovery time.
Myth #3: Chemical peels don’t really do anything
If you think chemical peels are just another skin care promise that doesn’t deliver, think again. After all, Cameron Diaz, Halle Berry and the other bevy of Hollywood stars who reportedly love them can’t be wrong. Chemical peels can be effective for photo-aging, such as age spots and wrinkles, improving acne and modest acne scarring, and they’re also very effective at exfoliating and smoothing the skin, as well as improving skin texture.
Myth #4: Chemical peels are bad for you
The word “chemical” might not sound like something you should ever associate with your skin, but when performed correctly chemical peels are a safe way to improve your skin. Many chemical peels actually use naturally occurring acids found in fruits in the case of alpha hydroxy acid, and other foods like sugar cane in the case of glycolic peels.
Myth #5: Chemical peels hurt
During some peels (a TCA or Phenol peel for example), the chemicals act as an anesthetic so pain is minimal. During alpha hydroxy acid peels, which are milder than TCA or Phenol peels, the only feeling is a slight stinging sensation during the treatment.
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Myth #6: You should only get one if you have skin problems
While there are chemical peels that specifically target acne, acne scarring or sun spots, the most popular use of chemical peels is for facial skin regeneration (i.e. getting your glow back), and they’re ideal for anyone who wants to improve the look of their skin.
Myth #7: They cause your skin to literally “peel off”
Contrary to what you might think, nothing actually ‘peels off’ during a chemical peel. A chemical solution is applied to the face, and works by dissolving the upper layers of the skin. As the tissue is dissolved, a wound is created on the skin which stimulates the body’s healing response, causing new tissue to emerge, which is smoother and has improved texture.
Myth #8: At-home chemical peels work just as well
There are some effective at-home options available, but the treatment you get in a physician’s office will typically be more concentrated and last longer.
Myth #9: Anyone can perform a chemical peel
Chemical peels are often performed at spas, but keep in mind that the person administering the treatment might not be as experienced as they should be. Any skin treatments should be performed either by or under the guidance of a board certified physician with knowledge of the skin to ensure optimal results and a safe procedure.
Myth #10: They take a long time
No time? No problem. Generally a chemical peel won’t take more than 20 minutes. The skin is cleansed and a chemical solution is applied. The specific amount of time your treatment takes will depend on the type and strength of peel, but the procedure is not usually a lengthy one.
If you’ve been looking for an effective way to rejuvenate and refresh your skin getting a chemical peel might be the complexion fix you’re looking for. Forget the myths and focus on the facts when deciding whether a chemical peel is right for you.