It’s a brand new year - perhaps it’s time for a brand new skin? If you miss those days when your skin was baby soft, or simply wish to maintain your already gorgeous complexion, chemical peeling may be your answer.
In general, chemical peeling uses a peeling agent - typically acid - to increase cellular turnover. It is basically the process of removing dead skin cells to stimulate the growth of new skin cells. Studies have also consistently found the procedure to be capable of promoting collagen and glycosaminoglycan production, the latter of which is responsible for the regulation of cell growth and reparation of wounds. As a result, chemical peeling effectively turns the clock back on your skin, restoring it to its undamaged silky smoothness.
There are three levels of chemical peeling: superficial, medium and deep. As suggested by the names, they involve varying levels of peeling intensity through the use of different peeling agents. While medium and deep peeling can only be done by a dermatologist due to the higher health risks involved, superficial peeling using milder peeling agents are becoming more common and accessible.
Two Common Types of Superficial Peeling Agent
Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA)
AHA includes lactic, glycolic, citric, malic, mandelic and tartaric acids - with glycolic and lactic acid being the most popular. These acids are derived from sugars found in fruits. Much like copper peptide, their tiny molecules penetrate the skin to treat acne, acne scars and wrinkles. It is also great for brightening the complexion, as well as unclogging and minimising pores.
AHA is uniquely hydrating when compared to other acids, making it ideal as an introductory product into the practice of chemical peeling. However, due to its relatively gentle nature, it tends to take longer to produce visible results. Additionally, it lacks the strength required to tackle severe skin inflammation and acne.
Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA)
Within the BHA family, only salicylic acid is used for topical application. This acid possesses a higher penetration power than AHA, making it more effective for both the treatment and prevention of blackheads, acnes and comedonal acnes.
BHA is great on oily skin, as it has the ability to balance sebum production. On the flip side, it has the potential of drying out the skin as a harsher acid, rendering it unsuitable for dry skin users.
A Few Things to Note
Jumping right into chemical peeling with harsh peeling agents is a big no-no, as it could greatly damage your skin. Start with daily application of mild acids like AHA, which will gradually build up your skin’s tolerance towards the practice. Once your skin condition stabilizes, it is important that you pause the application one day per week to let your skin take a break.
At the beginning, it is normal to observe a mild prickling or burning sensation, itchiness, tightness and of course, peeling. Some even reported acne flare-ups as a response to the purging of blind pimples. While these symptoms are known to subside with consistent use, monitor your skin closely and consult a dermatologist if necessary.
Peeling also makes your skin vulnerable, as it essentially strips away the outermost layer of your skin. So it is extremely important to only apply acids at night and perform proper sunscreening during the day. For the same reason, avoid following up the application with exfoliating or whitening products, which tend to be harsh and stimulating. Instead, focus on hydration, which is pivotal post-chemical peeling. Opt for CLEF 9-in-1 Copper Peptide Mask, which minimises inflammation, as well as calms and intensely moisturizes your skin in under 20 minutes.