Wrinkles are not always the first signs that your skin is aging. In fact, the skin is more likely to have a dull appearance and suffer from pigmentation problems sometimes referred to as hyper-pigmentation before wrinkles make an appearance.
Dull skin results because the regeneration of new skin cells slows down with age. This means old and even dead skin cells remain as the surface layer of the face giving the skin a dull appearance.
Pigmentation problems can occur for similar reasons but also because of sun damage and other bad experiences your skin may have endured. Initially this will result in an uneven skin tone and as it gets more pronounced small patches of skin will look markedly different in colour or tone from the rest of the face. These patches are often described as sun spots.
Both of these problems can be treated or prevented by getting a facial peel and this is becoming a popular skin care option for many people. But what exactly is a facial peel ?
What Is A Facial Peel ?
It sound excruciating doesn't it ? Whoever came up with the name may have got top marks for accuracy but not so much for creativity.
Deep layer facial peels that were first used 20-30 years ago did literally peel the top layer of skin away from your face. This could result is extremely sensitive and inflamed skin for a week or longer in some cases. The substance used for these treatments is called tri-chloroacetic acid (TCA).
TCA peels are still used today but generally in less concentrated form. They will still make the skin sensitive and sore during and after the procedure and are not as popular as the newer formulas.
Alpha Hydroxy Acids
These days, facial peels are considerably less invasive and you can be up and running a few hours after a treatment. Many treatments comprise of a few sessions that peel off dead skin cells gently resulting in less skin sensitivity afterward.
Most facial peel treatments consist of applying a glycolic acid to the face. Glycolic acid is extracted from sugar cane and not only helps to smooth the skin but can also encourage natural collagen regeneration.
There are other acids that can be used for the treatment that are categorized as Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs).
These include :
- Lactic acid which is found naturally in milk,
- Citric acid from citrus fruits,
- and malic acid from apples.
The formula that is applied to your face is usually a mix of some of these acids and also a substance known as salicylic acid that is extracted from willow bark The reasons for this is that the various acids work on different parts of the skin.
For instance, Salicylic acid is thought to smooth out the top layers of the skin better than Glycolic. Whereas Glycolic works out on deeper lying skin cells. Plain glycolic acid is also thought to be milder than some other forms so is often given to people having a a peel for the first time. A lactic acid formula can have a more moisturizing affect on the skin.
Home Facial Peels
The popularity of facial peels as a way to rejuvenate the skin, remove dead skin cells, diminish uneven skin tone and reduce fine lines has lead to the creation of many home facial peels. People don't want to go to a spa or dermatologist to get this procedure done and it is so much more convenient to do it at home (also cheaper in many cases). But do they work ?
Home facial peels are not as concentrated as one you might use in a salon or at a dermatologist but it will still have some glycolic acid or such like as the active ingredient. With this said, you should really check what is in a product you might be buying and read reviews before you make a decision.
Some products could simply be expensive exfoliating creams. Others may appear to be doing a good job by making your skin go red and sensitive but the end result is disappointing. You may also find that some products work better for certain skin types or age of skin.
Alternative To Facial Peels.
An alternative to peels is light therapy (LED therapy). The idea behind the treatment is that the light waves can heal and rejuvenate skin cells. Light therapy is thought to be better at reaching deeper skin cells than your traditional facial peel.
This procedure also allows you to customize a session for your individual needs.
- For instance, infrared light is thought to treat the dermal and epidermal layers of skin. It also helps to heal damaged skin.
- Red light is thought to stimulate natural collagen.
- Orange light is thought to make dull skin glow more.
- Green light is thought to help with uneven skin tone and hyper-pigmentation or sun spots.
Other lights in the spectrum are thought to have other benefits such as anti bacterial and inflammation properties.