Last updated on Aug 7th, 2018 at 11:07 am

You must have heard how good skin peels are for you – but do you understand how they work?

In just about every variation of an anti ageing article you’ll find a few basic points – one of them being skin peels. Most people I know go for skin peels, but most of them don’t know what the effects are aside from smooth, glowing skin for a couple of weeks.

What is a skin peel?

A skin peel is a chemical treatment that contains specific acids in an already acidic formulation that removes the outer ‘dead’ or damaged layers of skin. This does not always necessarily mean you’ll see your skin actually peeling off, as many superficial peels have no telltale signs afterwards aside from smooth, bright skin. Peels are generally applied to the most exposed areas – face, neck, chest and hands.

What are the benefits of skin peels?

There are different types of peels, and they benefit different skin conditions. With the right peel you can improve fine lines, pigmentation, uneven texture, acne, scars and sun damage. It’s vital to see a professional – a certified skin therapist for superficial peels, or an aesthetic doctor for medium and deep peels.

Don’t feel too polite or shy to ask for case studies with before and after pictures of previous clients and patients. Make sure you’re getting your money’s worth!

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How do skin peels work?

The appropriate exfoliating acid (or combination of acids) is applied to your skin. Some acids are time dependent (meaning they need to be neutralised after a certain period), and others are layer dependent (meaning the more layers applied, the deeper or longer it will work).

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The application of the acids breaks down the bonds between older, damaged cells, creating a controlled injury to the skin. This encourages cell turnover and promotes healing.

Congratulations, you’ve just tricked your skin into peak performance – it’s now producing brand new healthy cells to replace your lazy and damaged ones (aka ones that are pigmented, fine lines or acne scars).

What happens after you have a skin peel?

The four weeks post peel can vary greatly depending on the type of treatment and your skin. With most superficial peels you can generally expect a bit of tightness, light flaking (if at all) and then great skin after about 10 days.

With deeper peels you can experience anything from mild discomfort to moderate pain, and you’re likely to see skin discoloration followed by visible peeling. After 2-3 weeks you’ll have gorgeous skin to show off though.

Can anyone have a peel?

Most people can have peels. There are so many different versions available that it shouldn’t be difficult to find something that works for your skin. There are exceptions, but you’ll only have certainty once you’ve had a consultation with a pro.