Whatever our age, we all strive for a glowing and healthy complexion. A build up of dead skin cells, however, can make the skin appear dull and pasty, clog pores and cause a number of different skin problems for men. Skin peels remove these dead cells through a process of chemical exfoliation and results include reducing the signs of aging, clearing up acne, reducing sun damage, and other pigmentation problems.
What is it?
Skin peels have been used for many thousands of years – just think of Cleopatra’s milk bath, which was in effect a lactic acid peel. In modern times, scientists have discovered many different acids that can exfoliate the surface of the skin. These include hydroxy acids, salicyclic acid, trichloroacetic acid (or TCA), and phenol.
Very superficial peels can be performed by beauticians if they’ve been trained by the manufacturer, as they cause minimal damage to the skin, but for a deep phenol peel you should see an experienced dermatologist or plastic surgeon.
Who is suitable?
Superficial and medium peels are suitable for most men unless you have a history of bad scarring or issues with pigmentation. If you have darker skin, it is important to see an experienced practitioner as the peel can cause skin bleaching.
Before having a deep phenol peel a patient will need to undergo a thorough assessment at The Clinic – which includes heart, liver, and kidney function.
What is the treatment like?
Superficial peels, usually glycolic acid, are applied to the cleansed treatment area and left on from between two and ten minutes before being washed off and neutralised. They can be repeated weekly if necessary.
For medium peels, the skin is cleansed and the peel is applied – this can sometimes dry to a white or grey coating on the skin. Once this occurs, the peel is removed and neautralised. These are usually repeated on a monthly basis.
A deep peel is a very different experience to the superficial peels, as it uses an extremely strong chemical agent, but that also means that the results may be very dramatic.
What happens afterwards?
Again, this depends on the strength of the peel – superficial peels have no downtime, medium peels can take a few days to a week for skin to return to ‘normal’, and deep peels can involve weeks of downtime.
Scarring is not an issue for superficial peels, and should be seen as a very rare complication for medium peels. However, scarring is relatively common after phenol peels and it should be considered before embarking on treatment. For the most part, the scarring will heal if you follow The Clinic’s aftercare advice.