Chemical peels are used to reduce the appearance of acne scars, pigmentation, lines, and wrinkles. The skin treatment can be used on the face, neck, and chest. Chemical peels are true to their name in that the treatment uses chemicals to peel away the top layer of skin.
The skin has a natural exfoliating tendency in which old skin cells fall off and new, healthy ones are exposed. Applying a chemical peel begins the process of breaking down the bonds between skin cells on the top layer. This mimics, but speeds up, the process of natural exfoliation.
As the chemical peel is removed, the skin cells are sloughed off. This reveals the new cells, which are encouraged to rejuvenate themselves in order to heal the skin. This makes the skin appear smooth, healthy, and younger than before. However, some may experience continue peeling for some time after the treatment.
By removing the top layer of skin, the treatment is effective in reducing imperfections in the skin. As the new cells work to replace the old, the appearance of unwanted marks on the skin begins to fade. More than one treatment is often required to achieve the desired results. Alpha-hydroxy acid, or AHA, is commonly found in over the counter treatments. Other chemicals used include phenol, glycolic acid, and trichloroacetic acid.