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What are the different types of Chemical Peels?

When it comes to revitalizing the skin, chemical peels are the most common cosmetic treatment in the world of dermatology. Chemical peels are a customizable way to treat a myriad of skin conditions, including acne scars, age spots, discoloration, fine lines and wrinkles, melasma, and even rosacea. Chemical peels are designed to exfoliate the skin and eliminate dead skin cells from the top layer of the skin, which allows for healthier, younger-looking skin. Dr. Michele Green was one of the first dermatologists in NYC to incorporate TCA, Cosmelan peels, Glycolic acid, salicylic acid peels to treat melasma and other disorders of hyperpigmentation in her boutique New York City dermatology practice.

The American Academy of Dermatology specifies three different types of chemical peels. The different types are determined by the strength of the chemical peel, as well as how deeply the layers of skin are affected. The three major classifications of chemical peel are a light or superficial peel, a medium depth peel, and a deep chemical peel. Within those three major classifications are four common types of peels: Alpha Hydroxy acid peels, Beta Hydroxy acid peels, Trichloroacetic Acid Peels (TCA), and Phenol peels.

Chemical Peels contain a tailored chemical solution designed to target specific skin care needs, and range in depth and intensity of treatment. Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Michele Green, in NYC, has over 25 years of experience treating patients with chemical peels, and determines the best type of chemical peel for each patient based on both your skin type and skin care needs. When developing a treatment plan, Dr. Green customizes your skincare routine with a combination of the best cosmetic products and types of chemical peels tailored especially for you. Choosing the correct chemical peel for your skin type and skin condition is the most important aspect to chemical peel treatment. If you’re interested in revitalizing your skin through chemical peels, contact the NYC office of Dr. Michele Green today to learn what are the best options designed for you.

How do chemical peels work?

A chemical peel is a type of skin resurfacing treatment that uses a chemical solution to remove outer layers of dead skin. Through a process of chemical exfoliation, chemical peels can stimulate cell turnover, which in turn unclogs pores and corrects skin discoloration, giving the skin a vibrant glow. The chemical solution is applied to the surface of the skin and targets the top layers of the skin in order to eliminate dead skin cells. This “controlled trauma” to the skin stimulates the natural peeling of the skin, which can improve the texture of the skin for a variety of skin types. Chemical peels rely on a variety of acid types, including glycolic acid, lactic acid, salicylic acid, and trichloroacetic acid (TCA). The depth and effect of the peel varies depending on the intensity and make-up of the chemical peel.

Chemical peels have been approved by the FDA for decades, and this skincare treatment has actually been around since the 19th century. They are used today to create a customizable skin treatment that can both reduce the signs of aging and revitalize irritated skin with little downtime required. Specifically, chemical peels can be used to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, eliminate the appearance of hyperpigmentation including melasma and age spots, and rid the skin of acne and acne scars. The concentration and active ingredients in the different types of chemical peels can address varying skin conditions for rejuvenation and hydration of the skin.

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What types of chemical peels are there?

The types of chemical peel for face are incredibly varied, each type tailored to the needs of the patient. The peels are divided into a few different categories that address the depth of the treatment, light, medium, and deep chemical peels. The strength of the peel is determined both by the skin texture and tone, but by the skin problem that one is trying to address. Melasma and hyperpigmentation require a different type of peel from fine lines and deeper wrinkles. In addition, darker skin tones require more gentle chemical peels than lighter skin types.

Light Chemical Peels

Light chemical peels, or superficial peels, are formulated with mild peeling agents to gently exfoliate the skin. The lightest chemical peels have an exfoliating chemical solution that only affects the top layer of the skin (epidermis).

What are the different types of superficial peels?

When it comes to superficial peels, there are a few common acids that are used. Alpha Hydroxy acid peels are considered the most gentle form of chemical peel, which can help to reduce the appearance of very fine lines, dry skin, minor acne, and mild pigment or uneven skin tone. Beta Hydroxy acid peels have lipid-based chemical solutions that help to control oil production, which can be particularly useful for those with naturally oily skin or who are acne prone.

Jessner’s peels combine lactic acid, salicylic acid, and resorcinol in order to move acids deeper into the layers of the skin. Jessner’s peels are often followed up with the application of retinoid acid. Retinoid acid (retinol) provides a deeper peel penetration, which can help to trigger faster skin healing and new skin growth.

Alpha Hydroxy acid (glycolic acid) Peels

Alpha Hydroxy acids (AHA) refers variety of different acids, including  citric acid (from citrus fruits), lactic acid (from fermented milk), magic acid (from apples) and tartaric acid (from grapes). However, the most popular AHA peel is a glycolic acid peel in order to exfoliate the skin and stimulate collagen production in the body. Glycolic acid, derived from sugar cane, has a very small molecular structure which allows it to penetrate the layers of the skin, and varies in strength to balance active exfoliation with skin sensitivity.

Beta Hydroxy acid (salicylic acid) Peels

Beta Hydroxy acid Peels, or BHA peels, are an excellent option for those hoping to reduce the appearance of blemishes or congested skin. The lipid base of BHA peels can reach farther than many AHA peels, as the solution can penetrate deeper layers of the dermis by attaching to the skin’s natural oils. Salicylic acid, the most common acid in BHA peels, acts as a clear-out for the pores, and has anti-inflammatory characteristics that reduce irritation due to acne breakouts.

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Jessner’s Peels

Jessner’s peels can vary by strength depending on the percentages of the acids used. Jessner’s peels can also contain additional acid combinations, such as mandelic acid (from almonds) for anti-inflammatory benefit, phytic acid to treat patients with sensitive skin, or lactic acid to brighten and hydrate the skin. Oftentimes, for patients with rosacea, chemical peels can be tailored with a solution that includes phytic, mandelic, and lactic acids.

Medium Depth Peels

Medium peels vary in terms of chemical solution, but the most common medium depth peel is a Trichloroacetic acid peel.

Trichloroacetic Acid Peels (TCA)

Trichloroacetic acid peels, or TCA peels, are offered in a range of strengths and combinations. TCA can be used in combination with salicylic acid, among others, at a lower percentage within a solution. However, when the TCA percentage exceeds 20%, it is administered solely by a medical professional, such as Dr. Green. TCA peels are an excellent choice for patients who experience pigment irregularities and sun damage, as well as deep wrinkles and acne scars. Additionally, TCA peels can be used to treat pre-cancerous growths on the skin, also known as actinic keratosis.

Deep Peels

Deep peels are designed to penetrate deeper into the layers of the dermis. Deep chemical peels tend to require more recovery time, but they offer long-lasting, dramatic facial rejuvenation.

When considering a deeper peel, patients may also consider laser resurfacing as a means to reinvigorate the skin. Laser resurfacing has become a popular treatment for convenient, safe, and successful skin rejuvenation.

Phenol Peels

Phenol peels use carbolic acid as their peeling agent. Phenol peels have perhaps the strongest chemical peel solution to produce the most dramatic results, and the concentration of carbolic acid can shift or be combined with resorcinol or salicylic acid to wonderful effect. Due to the intensity of the phenol peel, results can be transformative, but in some concentrations a phenol peel can only be administered once in a lifetime. For both safety and consistency of results, a phenol peel should always be administered by a board-certified physician, such as Dr. Green.

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What are the side effects of chemical peels?

The side effects of chemical peels are typically temporary and mild, and include burning, dryness, redness, and swelling. After any chemical peel, and particularly if you are administered a deep peel, it is essential to avoid sun exposure and apply sunscreen regularly. Within the first few days post-treatment, you may experience lighter or darker skin tone, though this is temporary. Occasionally, patients experience herpes simplex (cold sore) flare-ups, in which case Dr. Green can prescribe an antiviral medication.

In rare cases, side effects from chemical peels can include scarring, as well as heart, liver or kidney damage. These side effects are more likely to occur when the incorrect chemical peel is administered, which is why it’s vital that a chemical solution be determined by a medical professional, such as Dr. Green.

What kind of chemical peel do I need?

When determining which chemical peel is best for you, Dr. Green considers your skin condition, skin type, and concerns. Ultimately, each individual will have different needs that will lead to the correct customized chemical solution but, in general, certain types of chemical peels are designed to target specific skin conditions.

What chemical peel is best for acne scars?

When it comes to acne, the best option is a superficial peel that has a chemical solution of glycolic acid or light TCA concentration. These acids are designed to unclog pores, exfoliate the skin, and remove the dead skin cells from the epidermis. This peeling procedure is able to get acne breakouts under control, and to clear out pimples and blemishes. BHA peels are also commonly used to treat acne, though this can cause some redness irritation for those with sensitive skin.

When it comes to acne scars, a AHA or TCA peel is actually able to lighten the appearance of blemish scarring when new skin is formed. Dr. Green often recommends a superficial peel in combination with her MGSkinLabs acne products, which can help to improve the appearance of acne and acne scarring  further after chemical peel treatment.

What type of chemical peel is best for wrinkles?

When it comes to reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, a Jessner’s peel, Mandelic chemical peel, and Retinol chemical peel are all excellent options. a Jessner’s peel is an effective choice for those hoping to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, melasma, hyperpigmentation, and even acne scares when used as a superficial peel. Mandelic acid is a common anti-aging peeling agent, as it encourages new skin growth and can strengthen collagen in the skin to provide smoother, firmer skin. Retinol is a very popular skin care ingredient, as its a form of vitamin A that encourages the development of new skin cells. Retinol is able to reach deeper layers of the skin in order to trigger renewed skin cell growth, and it can hydrate and refresh almost any complexion.

What type of chemical peel should I get for hyperpigmentation?

The cosmelan peel is Dr. Green’s recommendation for reducing the appearance of hyperpigmentation. A cosmelan peel is designed to target dark marks from acne, acne scars, melasma, and wide-spread hyperpigmentation, healing the skin and evening out skin tone. The cosmelan peel can be used for all skin types and skin tones, and is able to reduce issues of hyperpigmentation through a combination of in-office application and at-home treatment. In order to achieve optimal results, patients must avoid sun exposure and use a high SPF sunscreen post-procedure.

Another option for treating hyperpigmentation is a Vi Peel. A Vi Peel is a distinctive chemical peel that uses a chemical solution of salicylic acid, Vitamin C, TCA, and retinoid acid. A Vi peel can sun damage, melasma, acne scars, and other pigmentation and discoloration of the face. As the Vi peel addresses the skin texture, it is also able to tighten pores and reduce the appearance of fine lines, acne, and surface irregularities. Like many other chemical peels, the Vi peel can be offered in combination with laser skin resurfacing, Botox, and Juvederm.

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Cosmelan – 10 weeks before and after 

What type of chemical peel is the best for melasma?

When looking to treat any form of hyperpigmentation, including melasma, Dr. Green recommends the use of the Cosmelan peel. Melasma is a common skin condition that occurs due to an overproduction of melanin in the skin, which results in brown or gray patches on the surface of the skin. Melasma common appears on the face and can be easily treated at a dermatologist’s office with a Cosmelan peel. The Cosmelann peel contains five key ingredients – kojic acid, azelaic acid, arbutine, phytic acid, and ascorbic acid – which serve to inhibit the production of melanin by melanocytes in the skin. Further, the chemical peel works to exfoliate the pigmented layer of skin for lighter, clearer skin.

What is the best facial peel for aging skin?

There are many chemical peel options to address signs of aging, from reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, to eliminating age spots from the surface of the skin. When you have your initial consultation with Dr. Green, the two of you will discuss your aesthetic goals and Dr. Green will assess the treatment area in order to determine the treatment plan that will work best for you. There is no need for plastic surgery when it comes to rejuvenating your skin when there are many non-invasive, non-surgical options available, including chemical peels. For patients with sensitive skin, or who are looking to reduce the appearance of fine lines, a superficial chemical peel such as a Jessner’s peel may be the best options. Medium depth peels, such as TCA peels, can be used to address deeper wrinkles, as well as hyperpigmentation such as melasma and sun spots. Mandelic anti-aging chemical peels and retinol-based peels can also be used to refresh, hydrate, and revitalize aging skin.

What is the best chemical peel for dark skin?

There is a commonly held belief that chemical peels are all unsafe for patients with darker skin tones, but in fact, there are many chemical peel options that are safe and effective for Patients of Color or patients with darker skin. When it comes to chemical peels, People of Color are at a higher risk of developing post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation after receiving a chemical peel, which is when dark patches form on the surface of the skin. That is why, it is important to find a dermatologist who has worked with patients of all skin tones, such as Dr. Green, who understands how to treat darker skin. To start, it is best to use superficial chemical peels at a lower concentration, such as glycolic acid and salicylic acid peels. Retinol and Jessner peels are also safe and effective when used at a lower concentration. Medium depth peels can potentially be dangerous, particularly TCA peels at a concentration of 25% or above. Patients with darker skin tones should also avoid all deep chemical peels and any peels containing hydroquinone, as they pose the highest risk of damaging darker skin.

What are the different types of facial peels?

There are three main types of facial chemical peels: superficial peels, medium depth peels, and deep peels, each serving a different function and able to address a variety of skin conditions. Superficial peels are the lowest concentration facial peel and are best for reducing the appearance of fine lines, addressing acne, and brightening and hydrating the skin. Most superficial peels are safe and effective for all skin types. Medium depth peels can be used to treat skin conditions, such as hyperpigmentation, melasma, age spots, and actinic keratosis, as well as address deeper wrinkles and acne scars. Deep chemical peels have the highest concentration of exfoliating ingredients and may require some downtime. Deep chemical peels should not be used on patients with darker skin tones.

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Chemical Peel Before & After – 2 months

What types of facial peels are there?

Within the three categories of facial chemical peels, superficial peels, medium depth peels, and deep peels, there are many different types of peels with varying ingredients to treat a variety of conditions. Different acids, which are the main ingredients of chemical peels, will have a chemical reaction with the surface of the skin, which serves to exfoliate the skin, leading to new cell turnover. Different acids and different concentrations of acids will have different results. The most common acid found in the superficial alpha hydroxy acid peels is glycolic acid, which is good for reducing the appearance of fine lines, acne, and mild skin irregularities. Beta hydroxy acid peels will often contain salicylic acid, which is effective at reducing acne. Salicylic acid peels are often combined with Trichloroacetic acid peels, which are medium depth peels. Phenol peels, which are deep peels, contain carbolic acid as the peeling agent, which serves to address more severe skin conditions. When you have your consultation with Dr. Green, she will be able to determine the type of chemical peel that will work best to address your specific needs.

How does laser skin resurfacing compare to chemical peels?

Both chemical peels and laser treatments are cosmetic skin resurfacing procedures that are designed to remove dead skin cells from the top layer of the skin. Both lasers and chemical peels ca be used to rejuvenate the skin, reduce pigmentation or sun damage, and make the skin smoother and firmer. However, depending on your skin condition or skin type, you may be better suited for one treatment over the other.

Those with a lighter skin tone can be safely treated by a variety of laser treatments and chemical peels, but unfortunately those with a darker skin tone can be sensitive to certain lasers. Dr. Green has helped a variety of patients to reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation that has been caused by lasers, and therefore encourages patients to do their research before considering laser skin resurfacing. Dr. Green will always work with you to determine if a chemical peel or laser skin resurfacing treatment is best for you.

How many types of chemical peels are there?

The four most common types of chemical peels are AHA peels, BHA peels, TCA peels, and Phenol peels. AHA and BHA peels are classified as light chemical peels, whereas TCA peels are defined as medium depth peels and Phenol peels are labeled as a deep peel. However, the chemical solution of a peel can be custom designed for a patient in order to optimize results, which leads to a variety of possible acid combinations and concentrations. Dr. Green is an expert in determining which chemical solution is best for each individual patient.

Who can perform a chemical peel?

Depending on the type, strength, and PH content of the chemical peel, it may only be provided by an authorized physician. Superficial peels can generally be performed by a licensed aesthetician, whereas deeper peels require a licensed medical professional. A chemical peel experience provided by a certified medical professional will provide you with the tailored chemical peel experience you need in order to achieve optimal results. A board-certified dermatologist such as Dr. Green is incredibly knowledgeable about how chemical solutions will affect different skin types and skin conditions.

Why choose Dr. Green for a chemical peel?

Dr. Green is a veteran in the world of cosmetic dermatology and specializes in skin rejuvenation and revitalization. Her goal with any treatment is ensure the safety and satisfaction of her patient, and she will work with you to create a curated skin care treatment plan that maximizes results while minimizing downtime. Dr. Green will help you to feel like the very best “you” possible through her care and expertise.

What is the best type of chemical peel?

Though it may surprise you, there is no one “best” type of chemical peel. The best chemical peel for you will always be different than the best chemical peel for another patient, as a chemical peel must be matched with your skin type, tone, condition, and area of the body. In general, fair-skinned patients can be treated with stronger chemical peels than patients with darker skin tones, but again this varies depending on the needs and skin condition of the patient. Dr. Green always works with her patients to best match the chemical peel with their particular skin type, and is incredibly knowledgeable in treating patients with all skin types and skin tones.

How do I get started with a chemical peel?

If you are looking for a way to revitalize your skin and rejuvenate your appearance, a chemical peel is an excellent non-invasive treatment option that will provide you with the cosmetic results that you’re after. Chemical peels are a completely customizable treatment option that can be used to target and resolve a myriad of skin conditions including acne scars, age spots, discoloration, fine lines and wrinkles, melasma, and even rosacea. Chemical peels are designed to exfoliate the skin and eliminate dead skin cells from the top layer of the skin, which allows for healthier, brighter, more youthful looking skin. Dr. Green often incorporates chemical peels into the treatment plans of her patients as they are a quick, painless way to achieve an overall improved complexion without any downtime whatsoever.

If you’re interested in refreshing the look and feel of your skin via treatment with chemical peels, Dr. Green is here to help. Dr. Green is a board-certified cosmetic dermatologist with over 25 years of experience providing the best in non-invasive cosmetic treatments, from Botox, Juvederm, Fraxel, Thermage, CoolSculpting, and laser treatments. Her dedication to her patients and to her practice is well-reflected by the fact that she is consistently voted as one of New York’s best physicians by New York Magazine, Super Doctors, and Castle Connolly. To learn more about chemical peels and other non-invasive cosmetic treatments that will leave you looking and feeling like the best version of yourself, contact the office today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Green or call 212-535-3088 to create a customized skincare treatment plan for you.

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