Peeling Away the Damage

CHEMICAL PEELS ARE PROFESSIONAL TREATMENTS that can dramatically improve the appearance and health of the skin. They’re easy to learn, extraordinarily safe, and have minimal  complications. While chemical peels can vary in intensity from superficial to medium to deep, a typical treatment, called the “lunchtime peel,” can be performed in a skin care professional’s
office in just a few minutes. There’s little to no downtime after a lunchtime peel, and the only evidence that a client has been treated is their healthy glowing countenance.

These extremely effective procedures take advantage of the body’s ability to repair itself, as well as regenerate healthier and more functional tissue in response to trauma. Biologists call this phenomenon hormesis, and it can be described as the body’s and the skin’s ability to “build back better” in response to stress. In fact, this hormetic effect happens throughout the living, natural world: Plants have bushier leaves when they’re cut back; intermittent fasting (nutrient deprivation) strengthens metabolism and can add years to your life; brains develop more neural connections when they’re challenged with puzzles; and skin can come back healthier and prettier after it’s peeled.

You can think of a chemical peel as the skin’s version of exercise. When we work out, we stress our muscles. This results in the secretion of acid (lactic acid to be specific, and not coincidentally, an ideal ingredient for a chemical peel!) and creates micro-damage to fibers. As we all know, the body responds to the duress of exercise by growing bigger and more powerful muscles.

This same phenomenon of trauma inducing more functional tissue has relevance for the body’s largest organ. By disrupting the skin’s surface in a manner similar to the micro-damage that takes place in our muscles when we exercise, we can make our skin stronger and more resilient. A good chemical peel can induce the production of a more effective barrier, improve the health and function of the epidermis, stimulate the secretion of water by trapping hydrating factors and moisturizing lipids, and activate the synthesis of collagen and connective tissue in the dermis. After an effective chemical peel, skin texture is dramatically improved, appearance of fine lines is reduced, and dark spots are lightened.

Over time and with regular treatments, skin will be conditioned, smooth, and healthy looking. Chemical peels can be especially helpful for blemish-prone skin, and can not only help accelerate the healing of old breakouts but also prevent the development of new ones. And some of the chemicals used in these procedures can eliminate oils (sebum) from the skin surface and slow down their production.

Article by Benjamin Knight Fuchs
This article appears in the Summer 2022 issue of ASCP Skin Deep magazine.


ASCP Skin Deep magazine, Summer 2022ASCP Skin Deep magazine

The award-winning ASCP Skin Deep magazine is the premier estheticians' source for the latest trends, techniques, products, and news from the biggest names in the industry. In this issue:
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