Skin Peels: Beyond Skin Deep

When most people think of cosmetic chemical treatments typical imagery may include; facial peels, hair relaxers or perms or even specialty body treatments.

A Skin Peel  is a process whereby a chemical solution is applied to the skin, which makes it blister and eventually peel off, revealing smoother more toned skin. The active ingredient (an acid) serves as the primary agent infacilitating the reaction to achieve the desired result. Three types of acids are typically used; glycolic, salicylic, and lactic.  Glycolic acid stimulates collagen growth more effectively than any of the other peels. Its small molecule allows it to slip beneath the epidermis to reach the collagen fibers below and results in 15%-25% thickening over 12 weeks. Glycolic acid is also generally more suited to oily skin. Lactic acid works on the surface of the skin to treat tone, texture, and pigmentation. The Lactic acid molecule works to pull moisture into the cells, and exfoliate surface cells which helps to perfect the skin’s surface and restore the skin’s natural glow. Salicylic is known as the acne peel. It is the only product with an oil soluble molecule and this allows it to penetrate into clogged pores and unplug sebum. The salicylic acid does not stimulate collagen formation, but can be used more frequently than the other peels without much risk for irritation. Ideally, this process should be conducted under the supervision of a trained professional who understands the risks and complications that may arise from the applciations of these chemicals.

Skin peels are by far one of the most popular at-home chemical treatments used by consumers; as products  promise users beautiful radiant glowing after a painful ‘topical’ skin burn. The skin endures harsh transformations through the interactions with the chemicals. After the healing process, most people do see some benefits.  However, Is it worth it? For some, yes. The ‘temporary’ discomfort of the stinging and discolored pigmentation is but a minor cost for potentially ‘glowing commendable skin.

Given the widespread use of such products in and outside the professional industry, how much research and consumer reports do we have supporting the safety of these chemical peels marketed to the do-it-yourself consumers as well as cosmetologist and beauticians alike?  Moreover, why aren’t consumers more aware of the potential dangers?

Some consumers have begun asking about product ingredients, and their potential health interactions. As a result, more people are opting for natural alternatives.  Most natural skin peel ingredients as fruit and vegetable based, and can be easily made at home without worrying about the harsh chemicals and secret ingredients in commercially sold name brands.

In a world where we see increasing cases of long term illnesses, along with their associated pharmaceutical medications, while root cause concerns are lulled by temporary fixes through medication. Perhaps a more meticulous understanding of the contents in our cosmetics may assist in the efforts to determine root causes and propose real solutions.

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