After the procedure is done, the skin will look as though it has been sunburned, and for about a week after the procedure has been done, the skin will start to peel, exposing the skin underneath. It can be a few weeks before the skin heals properly. Medium-depth peels, however, may result in swelling or blisters that crust or break down over time and can take a longer time to heal.
Before the procedure even begins, the professional who’s going to perform the procedure will first apply a chemical solution — usually trichloroacetic acid, glycolic acid, trichloroacetic acid, salicylic acid, lactic acid or carbolic acid (phenol) on small areas of your skin. Doing so can create a controlled wound, allowing the new skin to take its place.
I needed very little convincing before making my way down to the Cadogan Clinic, one of the very best locations in London (might I add) to speak to Nurse Libbie Wallace, a master in her field. After filling in a short consultation form, Nurse Libbie asks me how old I am. After replying 28, she chuckles a little, but continues… I’m not the youngest client she’s had walk through the door, but she does tell me that she would only ever treat those that actually can benefit from the treatment, ‘It’s important that I manage patients expectations’.
They come in a range of strengths, from deeper phenol-based peels to more superficial peels like glycolic acid. Deeper peels may not be right for everyone, particularly if you have sensitive skin. A few light or medium-depth peels can often achieve similar results to one deeper peel treatment, with less risk and a shorter recovery time. Talk to a qualified provider about your goals to see if a chemical peel would work for your concern and skin.
Look for products that have 2 to 10 percent glycolic acid, which is typically enough to improve the appearance of mature and sun damaged skin. Make sure your skin is makeup-free and clean of grease/residue before applying products, and read directions carefully. Afterwards, don’t shave, scrub, laser, exfoliate or exposure your skin to much sunlight for 24 to 48 hours. (11)
Moderate peels require longer healing time, 7 to 14 days, due to more intensive blistering and peeling. Moderate peels are usually done with glycolic acid, trichloroacetic acid, or a combination of acids that reach both the outer and middle layers of your skin. Moderate peels may cost anywhere from under $200 to over $600, depending on the provider.