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Chemical Exfoliation and Peels In Esthetics

Chemical Exfoliation and Peels in Esthetics

In the field of skin care and esthetics, chemical exfoliation is the process of removing excess accumulations of dead skin cells from the corneum layers of epidermis as superficial peeling, exfoliation, keratolysis, and desquamation. This process can be accomplished through mechanical or manual chemical exfoliation.


The process of mechanically is Microdermabrasion. Scrubs are considered manual exfoliation. Chemical exfoliation is the use of specific products such as enzymes, alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), beta hydroxy acid (BHA), light Jessner's, and light trichloroacetic acid (TCA) peels formulated to achieve this result. Peels and chemical exfoliation services yield more significant results: help produce a clinical change in the skin, and are commonly used to address photoaging, acne, and hyperpigmentation, in addition to other conditions.


Chemical exfoliation and chemical peels come in many different formulations and strengths. Your esthetician will determine the guidelines regarding the strength and pH of the products you can use. Your esthetician will also determine the treatment protocol, including the type of acid, the procedure time, the strength, the application process, and the assisting ingredients. Depending on the product line and what the med spa uses protocols will vary.


Peels are often used to restore the skin's natural glow, which can be inhibited in hyperkeratinized skin and skin that is not functioning optimally at the physiological level. When you age your cell renewal factor or cell turnover rate is the rate of cell mitosis and migration from the dermis to the top of the epidermis. This process slows with age. For adults, 28 to 42 days; for those 50 and older, 42 to 84 days. Keeping cell mitosis going is one of the goals of skin preservation.


General Effects and Chemical Exfoliation and Peels

Peels and chemical exfoliation result in:

  • Improved texture of the skin, barrier function, and moisture retention

  • Increased cell renewal factor (CRF), hydration, and intercellular lipids

  • Reduced fine lines, wrinkles, and surface pigmentation

  • Skin that looks and feels smoother and softer

  • Improved skin conditions such as acne, hyperpigmentation, clogged pores and dry skin

  • Potential stimulation of elastin and collagen production

The more intense the peel, the better the results. Depending on the intensity there may be some down time.


General Contradictions to and Precautions for Chemical Exfoliation and Peels

Exfoliated skin needs to be protected from sun exposure and tanning to avoid hyperpigmentation and damage to the skin. Sunscreens must be used daily while using AHAs or other strong exfoliation products or treatments. Your esthetician will advise what products are the best for your skins and concerns.

Contradictions include the following:

  • Recent cosmetic surgeries, laser resurfacing, chemical peels, or dermabrasion

  • Recent injectables, fillers. or Botox

  • Use of Retin-A of other medications that exfoliate or think the skin (Example: client must be off Accutane six months prior to the service.)

  • Allergies or sensitivities to products or ingredients

  • Pregnancy

  • Active herpes simplex

  • Hyperpigmentation tendencies

  • Inflamed rosacea or acne

  • Infectious diseases

  • Open sores or suspicious lesions

  • Sunburn or irritated skin

  • Photosensitizing medications (make skin very sensitive to sun)

  • Other contradictions drugs or medication

Your esthetician will provide instructions and walk you through this process if you are new to skin care.


Woman receiving a chemical peel


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