The uppermost layer of skin, the stratum corneum, is dead skin which functions as a protective sheath against the environment. It faces the onslaught of forces like sunlight, pollution and dirt on a daily basis. This exposure typically causes hyperpigmentation, premature wrinkles and fine lines on the unprotected areas of skin. Lined and wrinkled skin appears duller and darker. The delicate areas of the face, such as the region around the eyes, have a thinner layer of skin making them even more susceptible to damage and increasing the appearance of dark circles around the eyes.
Fortunately, below this surface lies smooth, younger skin which is waiting to be uncovered. Glycolic Peels do precisely that. They exfoliate the skin evenly, taking away dead cells to reveal the underlying layer of fresh skin.
Inherently moderate compared to other chemical peels, Glycolic Peels can be rendered as gentle or mild as a dermatologist wishes them to be. They are versatile enough to address an entire spectrum of skin concerns but they still remain superficial peelings. Glycolic Peels are a time-tested solution, especially as the first line of action, and form an essential part of a dermatologist’s toolkit, especially for treatments such as:
– Skin Glow treatments: where they dissolve and release dead layers of skin to let the radiant, fresh layer shine through.
– Pigmentation Solutions: where they remove the layer of discoloured, hyperpigmented dead skin and reveal an evenly toned layer below.
– Dark Circle Solutions: where the lined, dull and discoloured dead skin around the eyes is gently eased away to reveal bright, smooth underlying skin.
As the name indicates, they are based on glycolic acid which comes from sugar cane and belongs to a family of acids called alpha-hydroxy acids or fruit acids. In fact, the generic term ‘fruit peels’ is often used in common parlance when referring to Glycolic Peels.
Hyperpigmentation is deep-seated, with melanin deposits residing in the dermis, but its overall presentation begins at the epidermal level. This means, visible improvement can be achieved quickly and easily by applying a simple operating principle: let discoloured, damaged or dead skin cell layers peel away, making way for fresh new skin.
During treatment, the Glycolic Peel is allowed to act on the skin for a predetermined amount of time based on the concentration of the solution and the dermatologist’s sense of what the individual’s skin can take. Glycolic acid penetrates the skin and breaks the bonds that hold each layer together. Once the desired number of layers have been separated and removed, the solution is washed off.
Immediately after a Glycolic Peel treatment, the skin will look slightly pinkish. In some cases it may continue to peel for a few days. The entire process from treatment to recovery can take a week or longer, but the results are soon apparent: clearer, brighter skin with a marked reduction in uneven pigmentation or discolouration. Realistically speaking, treatment outcomes are in the realm of improvement rather than dramatic transformation.
- Avoid seeking Glycolic Peel treatment if you have warts, active cold sores, sunburn, or excessively sensitive skin. Likewise, if you have dermatitis or inflammatory rosacea. The procedure could trigger a flare-up.
- A history or rashes or allergies would indicate that you may be sensitive to the treatment.
- Avoid Glycolic Peel treatment if you have taken Accutane any time up to 12 months before your intended treatment.
- Avoid all chemical peels, Glycolic included, if you are pregnant or are nursing.
- A week before the treatment, avoid sun exposure, and treatments such as waxing, depilatory creams and laser hair reduction.
- 2-3 days before the treatment, stop taking any product containing Retinol, AHA, BHA or Benzoyl Peroxide. Do not exfoliate.
- On the day, do not shave the area which will be exposed to the peel.
- Wait at least 48 hours before resuming the regular use of Retin-A or other vitamin A products
- Avoid waxing facial hair for 72 hours after the treatment
- Avoid strenuous exercise until at least the next day or until all the redness has subsided
- Avoid direct sunlight for at least 1 week and use sunblock with SPF 50 or greater
- Avoid scrubbing your face. Use a mild facial wash and pat gently dry
- Avoid other facial treatments for at least 1 week after your peel
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