For those looking for a slightly deeper chemical peel than the regular “lunchtime peels” with Alpha Hydroxy Acid, the next level is Beta hydroxy acid (BHA) peels for getting deeper into the skin’s pores. An example of a beta hydroxy acid is Salicylic acid. In addition to that, another popular mid-range peel is a combination of Trichloroacetic Acid (TCA) and Glycolic Acid. One of the main reasons Trichloroacetic Acid peels are so popular is due to its immediate effects and the ability to apply different percentages or strengths to different areas of the face. In Dr. Michele Green’s NYC based office, medium depth peels are usually done with TCA. In most cases, the chemical peels of this type are used to treat sun spots, melasma, pigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles, acne scars or balance skin tone, and texture.
Chemical peels promote new collagen and thicken the skin while regenerating new healthy skin. It’s applied via sterile applicators and left on the skin for a few minutes. The amount of times that the peel is left on the skin varies based on both skin type and the condition that is being treated. Once the acid is placed on the skin, it is neutralized by applying water to the treated area. Sunblock is applied to the treated area before leaving the office.
The overall process creates a dryness to the skin. The skin will start to peel in a few days and and can continue to peel for up to one week. This type of medium chemical peel is generally performed multiple times in order to achieve the full effect– and so a series of appointments would be made. Skin will likely be quite sensitive for the first couple of days, and one should moisturize and wear sunscreen during this time to avoid any risk of hyperpigmentation.
While Glycolic acid helps with acne and skin tone, another popular method for acne tends to be Salicylic acid. Salicylic acid (also known as 2-hydroxybenzoic acid) is based on a substance that comes from Willow Tree bark (salicin) and is also used to reduce scars from acne by breaking down oils and fats in the top layers of skin. Like other peel solutions, the concentration needs to be a set amount – in this case around 20-30% and any higher can cause damage to the skin. If you are allergic to aspirin – Salicylic acid should not be used (Trichloroacetic acid would be the option for that case).
Last but not least, the VI Peel is another popular medium depth Chemical Peel. Created by VI aesthetics, it is known as the first painless chemical peel and can be used multiple times (every few weeks), as part of an overall skin care plan that can be discussed with Dr. Green.
VI Peel can cause peeling to start a few days in, and last almost a week. Like other peels though, you should avoid heavy exercise and sun in the first few days post-treatment. VI Peel can also work well with laser treatments and is formed by a mix of Vitamin C, Salicylic Acid, TCA and Phenol – making it a sort of mix of other treatment methods. It is commonly used for hyper-pigmentation, erasing fine lines, shrinking pores, building collagen and more – including treatment for acne. And it can be used on Acne Patients as young as 12-13 years old, patients with hyperpigmentation, rosacea or if you are seeking skin rejuvenation.
With Dr. Green, Medium depth peels are usually done using VI or TCA (up to 20%), Glycolic acid (up to 70%), or Glycolic acid. These chemical peels can be used to treat other areas than the face including the neck, back, chest, arms, legs, and various other body areas. Chemical peels are often combined with other skin care treatments such as the V-Beam laser for redness and scars, as well as Microdermabrasion and PRP with Microneedling for fine lines and wrinkles. In many cases, these options are also less expensive than laser treatments. Recovery from medium depth chemical peels can generally take about a week.
*Disclaimer: Results may vary with each patient.