The Truth About Chemical Peels

Honestly, to label some of the chemical peels around a “peel” is a bit unfair. 

The beauty of chemical peels is that they have effects on deeper layers of the skin to assist in regeneration and rejuvenation, at not only a fraction of the cost but also with less down time compared to some other methods. The humble peels has been around for a long time, I mean even Cleopatra used to have milk (lactic acid) baths to pep-up her skin. 

To put it simply, chemical peels use acids to cause trauma to the skin. Although this kind trauma is beneficial to our skin as it triggers the repair of damaged skin cells or the removal of dull useless ones. These peels use acids to remove the top layer (or layers) of the skin to treat fine lines and wrinkles, large pores, acne, uneven skin tone or dark spots and to generally brighten the skin.  

What’s in a Peel? 

Chemical peels use different acids in different concentrations to affect change at different depths of the skin. Most are derived from milk (lactic acid) or plants (malic, ferulic, kojic, glycolic) but then there is also trichloroacetic acid, which is the acid found in vinegar.
Without diving too deep into the science of it, different acids having different properties. Basically the higher the concentration of the acid, the deeper it penetrates and the longer the down-time. 

The most popular peels are the low concentration peels that act on the superficial layers of the skin and have little to no downtime. At most there may be some irritation or redness for up to one hour after the procedure but the irritation shouldn’t last longer than a few hours. There may be a few days of dryness or flaking, but this doesn’t require time off work. 

It's more like these kinds of treatments can be done in your lunch break! 

An example of a stronger peel includes a 30- 35% trichloroacetic acid and kojic acid combination peel. These medium-depth peels can help treat skin that has a significant amount of photo damage, sun spots, mild to moderate acne scars, crepey skin under the eyes or dark circles. The disadvantage is the downtime of 5-7 days and sometimes longer for sensitive skin.  Stronger peels require the regular application of hydrating agents to keep the skin hydrated and protected. 

The deepest peels available require regular medical attention as the skin is red raw, prone to infections/scarring and there is also the risk of hypo-pigmentation in darker skin types. These peels are definitely not for the faint-hearted and carry greater down time of 7-14 days - so keep that in mind. 

What happens during a chemical peel?

After a very important consultation where I will evaluate your skin type and and obtain your consent - we are ready to go! 

We start with a thorough cleanse of your skin to remove makeup and excessive oils, then sensitive areas (lips, corners of the mouth, dyed and tattooed eyebrows) are protected with an ointment. The chemical peel solution is then applied and left on until it self-neutralises or neutralised with bicarb solution. 

Here at Halcyon Skin, I am a firm advocate for your skin being treated with Synergie de-stress serum before the exposure to healing LED light treatment and then under the LED light to encourage further stimulation of collagen and help to repair your damaged skin cells.  

You'll find the LED makes you relax and feel good too!

Dr Lizzy's Helpful Hint

If downtime is an issue, start with light peels and work your way up in strength. This way the skin becomes “peel-fit” and there is less down time and better results with the higher concentration peels.  Peels are best when done regularly for optimal results and I always suggest a series of chemical peels prior to a big event is a great way to look fresh. 


If you have any further questions about skin peels  or any other treatment at Halcyon Skin, feel free to email me at and remember that all profits from the $109 peel and LED promotion this month is going to help Anne build her mum a house in Vietnam.
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