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The Basics of Chemical Peels

Updated: Mar 1, 2023

People who want to rejuvenate their skin have many options, from microdermabrasion to chemical peels. Although there are some chemical peel products that are sold over-the-counter and that can be used at home, people tend to get more dramatic and visible results when an esthetician performs their chemical peel. During paramedical esthetician training, one of the techniques you'll learn is how to recommend and apply chemical peels. Get the 411 on this popular skincare treatment.

What Are Chemical Peels?

Chemical peels are exfoliating treatments that improve the appearance of the skin. Most chemical peels contain acids, such as lactic acid or glycolic acid, which remove the outer layer of dead skin cells. Once the skin is exfoliated, it produces new skin cells, which give the area a refreshed and rejuvenated look. The new skin cells have less damage than the old ones.

What Types of Chemical Peels Are Available?

The ingredients used in a chemical peel can vary, based on a client's goals. The strength of the peel can also vary. Some peels are superficial or light, meaning they don't penetrate deep down into the skin. Light or superficial peels are the mildest and usually have the quickest recovery time. The results they produce tend to be more subtle compared to other peel types.

Medium peels reach down through the outer layer of the skin and into the middle layer. They can treat more significant concerns, such as deeper lines and wrinkles and discoloration of the skin.

The third type of chemical peel is a deep peel. A deep peel reaches fully into the middle skin layer and provides the most dramatic results. The recovery period after a deep peel is longer compared to recovery after a light or medium peel, as the skin will need more time to heal.

What Do Chemical Peels Treat?

Chemical peels treat a wide variety of skin concerns, from wrinkles to dark spots and from uneven skin texture to acne scars. The type of skin issues a client has, and their overall goals, will help you recommend the peel that will be most appropriate for them.

How to Talk to Clients About Chemical Peels

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When you work as an esthetician, you'll likely have clients who are interested in chemical peels or who want to learn more about the treatment to see if it's right for them. If your clients ask you about chemical peels, there are a few things to discuss with them

The first is their goals for treatment. Some clients want to have a peel to smooth out the first signs of fine lines or wrinkles on their skin, others are considering a chemical peel because they have hyperpigmentation, such as age spots or melasma. A person with deeper lines or with acne scars might also be interested in a chemical peel.

The next thing is to discuss the types of peels available and what a client can expect from each. For example, a light peel might sting a bit and cause the skin to turn red, but it usually won't keep a person from going to work or participating in their other regular activities. After a deep peel, a person might wish to stay home for a few days, to give their skin time to heal.

You'll also want to discuss your client's current skincare routine, as there may be some products they should avoid before the peel, such as retinol or retinoids. Waxing or bleaching hair in the area should also be avoided for about a week before a chemical peel.

Interested in learning more about chemical peels and other advanced skincare treatments? Request more information today about the paramedical esthetician program at Cortiva Institute Massage Therapy and Skin Care Schools.

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