The Science Behind Chemical Peels

Dec 12, 2023
The Science Behind Chemical Peels
Did you ever wonder how chemical peels can reduce discoloration, pigmentation, and wrinkles, and improve the the overall texture of your skin? Read on to discover the science behind chemical peels' many benefits.

The first use of chemical peels, a mild version of them, was first documented in ancient Egypt when Cleopatra bathed in sour milk to improve the appearance of her skin. Sour milk contains small amounts of lactic acid, an acid still used today to treat many skin imperfections. 

Dermatologists have perfected the science of chemical peels and exfoliators, giving us peeling agents in various concentrations that can penetrate the skin at various depths. 

If you wonder why chemical peels are so popular for various skin imperfections ranging from acne scars to wrinkles, read on. Our expert at SafiraMD Medical Aesthetics and Wellness Center briefly introduces the science behind chemical peels.

How chemical peels remove imperfections

Chemical peels raise the skin's acidity, removing the layer of dead skin cells sitting on top. However, depending on the acid used, chemical peels can go deeper. The depth of the peel is correlated with changes in the skin, and the greatest changes are correlated with the deepest peels and longer recovery times. However, not all skin issues require deep peels. 

As the chemical peel removes the damaged layer of skin sitting on top, or several layers of skin, the fresh and youthful skin lying underneath is then revealed. 

In addition, the chemical burn which removes the skin stimulates collagen production and the growth of skin layers with a more evenly distributed melanin. Melanin is the substance that produces the pigment found in your skin. 

What are peels used for? 

There are three types of peels: superficial, medium-depth, and deep. 

  • Superficial peels penetrate only the epidermis and can be used as a treatment for acne, melasma, and sun spots. 
  • Medium-depth peels penetrate the papillary dermis and can be used for pigmentation issues, superficial scars, and sun damage. 
  • Deep peels reach the reticular dermis and are best used to treat deep wrinkles, severe pigmentation issues, and deeper scars. 

Find out what chemical peel works best for you

Chemical peels have few side effects; depending on the peel Dr. Volk recommends, some may not have downtime. 

The downtime is directly correlated with the depth of the peel. With some peels, you may see some redness for a couple of days; with others, you may see peeling of the skin up to seven days after the treatment. If you are unsure if your skin concerns are a good candidate for a chemical peel, contact us to schedule an appointment. Dr. Volk offers many skin treatments and will recommend the best one for your cosmetic goals.