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Chemical Peel vs. Chemical Exfoliation

Chemical peel is a term that is used by many people to describe many different types of exfoliation using chemicals or enzymes.    The term “chemical peel” is frequently used to define a wide range of procedures.  Chemical peels are broadly defined by the depth of damage in the skin that they  produce.  They can be superficial, medium, and deep.

Types of chemical peels

Superficial peels, also referred to as chemical exfoliations, only exfoliate the dead layer of skin or the epidermis, the most superficial  skin layer.  Medium peels may reach to the superficial layer of the dermis,  the deeper layer of the skin.  Deep peels typically affect the deeper layers  of the dermis. The depth of the peel is determined by the type and concentration of the chemicals in the peeling solution, the manner they are applied and how long they are left on the skin.

There are many different acids used in chemical peels and chemical exfoliations, including alpha-hydroxy acids, beta-hydroxy acids, trichloroacetic  acid, and phenol.

At INFUSE Skin and Body, we do chemical exfoliations which only affect the dead layers of the skin.  According to the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation, a chemical peel can only be performed by a physician or under the guidance of a physician.  While many spas advertise chemical peels, they are actually doing chemical exfoliations.  Medium and deep peels must be monitored by a physician.

Advantages of Chemical Exfoliation over chemical peels

chemical peel
See clearer skin

Chemical exfoliations, as compared to chemical peels, are the low-dose approach to skin care.  This can be a very effective way to maintain the health and beauty of the skin without any downtime.  Chemical exfoliations are typically recommended every four to six weeks.  There are times, when trying to correct certain problems, that every two weeks will be recommended.

Many people often believe that more is better.  But by going slow, we are not creating more inflammation, which is the cause of many skin conditions.  Gently exfoliating the skin can produce dramatic and consistent results over time.

Which conditions can benefit from Chemical Exfoliations

Because all of our chemical exfoliations are customized the day of treatment, all skin conditions can benefit.  There are specific protocols for

  • Mature skin
  • Dry skin
  • Oily skin
  • Rosacea
  • Acne
  • Hyperpigmentation
  • Melasma
  • Large pores

If there is more than one condition present, different protocols can be blended and modified to treat all problems at one time.

Remember, more is not always better.   A low dose approach will give consistent results over time with no pain or downtime.

By:  Mary Hayse, Licensed Esthetician

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