As we launch our comprehensive new Cosmetic Dermatology Course – specifically designed to assist medical aesthetics practitoners in broadening their knowledge of skin science and improving their clinical skills in a range of cosmetic skin treatments – we wanted an expert view of the role of chemical peels. We asked Maja Swierczynska, lead aesthetician and skin specialist at The Academy Clinic and Harley Academy, to give us an overview of the role and value of chemical peels in aesthetic medicine. Here she provides an essential guide to the history and practice of chemical peels that will benefit every practitioner.
The history of skin peeling is as old as human civilisation; Cleopatra’s bath of asses’ milk was certainly an astute form of chemical peeling as sour milk contains lactic acid which is an effective natural exfoliant. So for centuries we’ve known that chemo-exfoliation – also called chemical peeling – is a skin rejuvenating treatment which damages the skin in a controlled fashion to activate its natural repair system. The resultant healing leads to an improvement in skin structure and appearance.
This means that chemical peels are one of the most popular aesthetics treatments used today, ideal for such problems as fine lines, photodamage, wrinkles, acne and pigmentation. It also combines well with other treatments, such as toxins and dermal fillers, to offer an holistic treatment regime.
Chemical peels are categorised according to the depth that they penetrate into the skin: superficial, medium and deep skin peels, with deeper penetration resulting in greater dermal rejuvenation.
Expert tips to deliver the perfect chemical peel
1. Consultation/skin assessment and treatment plan
Every patient should have a thorough consultation and skin analysis before treatment. Aesthetic practitioners need to fully understand each patient’s primary skin concerns and what they hope to achieve from their treatment. A consultation should also discover the patients habits and work commitments, to ensure the selected peel fits with their lifestyle. Other considerations, such as skin characteristics, area to be treated, safety issues, healing time, and patient adherence to guidance, should also be taken into account for best overall results.
2. Education and knowledge
The key to determining the best skin peel treatment to each client is twofold. First is an effective consultation and second is complete mastery of the different ingredients and types of peels: their mechanisms, the effect that they have on the skin during and post treatment, and exactly how to administer them. Depth is not the only factor determining outcome – the composition of the peel solution and the individual ingredients play a big role. So, using a ‘one peel fits all’ approach is not enough – having confidence using a range of peel types allows you to create a treatment plan to meet the skin type and concerns of each patient. This is why our Chemical Peels Workshop teaches you multiple types of chemical peels.
3. Post-peel care and maintenance
All aesthetics practitioners need to be confident that patients have realistic expectations and a good understanding that maintaining the benefits of a chemical peel will require repeat procedures. In addition, a patient may need to change their skincare regime and introduce active ingredients such as retinoids or acid based creams to support their successful outcomes. Any chemical peel must be managed carefully to minimise the potential for side effects and good aftercare advice is a key component to a well-thought-out treatment plan.
If you would like to offer your patients the best possible range of skin treatments, the Harley Academy’s Cosmetic Dermatology Course provides the ideal basis for confident consultation, treatment and aftercare.