Chemical peels are an effective cosmetic procedure which remove dead skin cells, stimulate collagen and elastin production resulting in healthier, younger skin. In the harsh Durban climate, chemical peels are proving a popular procedure. 

What are chemical peels?

Used to treat wrinkles, discolouration and scars, the chemical peel is a skin-resurfacing procedure using a chemical solution to remove the top layers of skin. The rejuvenated skin that re-grows is smoother and appears younger. Chemical peels are performed at different depths using different chemical solutions for different needs. These should be performed by a doctor or aesthetician who will perform a full skin evaluation and tailor the procedure to individual needs, minimising any risk.  

Types of chemical peels

1. Light (or superficial) chemical peels

For people with fine wrinkles, acne, large pores, pigment irregularities or dry skin, a superficial chemical peel will remove the epidermis (outer layer) and can be performed every two to five weeks. Typical chemicals used are glycolic, salicylic, kojic acid and malic acid – this mild peel will result in redness for about 20 to 30 minutes and some dryness for a few days, but overall, it’s a quick recovery. 

2. Medium chemical peels

In addition to removing the skin cells from the epidermis, this chemical peel will also remove portions from the upper part of the dermis (middle layer) using trichloroacetic acid. This is very suited to the sunny Durban environment as it is used to treat photodamage and sun spots. It’s also used for treatment of moderate acne scars and dark circles under the eyes. The recovery time is longer, about five to seven days, requiring ointment applied to the skin. 

3. Deep chemical peels

Using more concentrated trichloroacetic acid, the deep chemical peel removes skin cells from the epidermis and mid-to-lower layer of the dermis. It’s used to treat deep wrinkles, severe acne scars, excessive sun damage, loose skin, pre-cancerous growths or scars and can only be performed once. The recovery time of these chemical peels is seven days to two weeks. 

Chemical peel process

For a safe chemical peel procedure, it’s important to consult with a qualified medical professional who can analyse your skin type and the type of chemical peel required. Before the procedure, the face will be cleaned and ointment applied to protect various areas of the face. 

Depending on the chemical peel procedure, the specific acid type is applied and will remain on the face – longer for a stronger chemical peel. In the case of a light chemical peel, the acid will neutralise itself and can be washed off, for the stronger chemical peels, a neutralising agent must be added. 

Chemical peel results

As with all cosmetic procedures, the results of a chemical peel will differ from patient to patient, depending on skin type and the treatment option. However, to give an overview of the results you can expect from a chemical peel:

  • Light chemical peels will improve skin texture and tone, decreasing the appearance of fine wrinkles. Repeated treatments will increase the end results. 
  • Medium chemical peels will produce a noticeably smoother appearance, with sun exposure to be avoided for several months. 
  • Deep chemical peels will result in a dramatic improvement of the treated areas with sun protection a lifelong factor to prevent colour changes in the skin tone. 

While all cosmetic procedures carry some risks, if they are performed by skilled professionals with knowledge and experience of the procedure, then safety should not be a concern. There are many qualified professionals able to perform chemical peels in Durban, and for those seeking a really effective skin improvement option, then chemical peels are worth considering.