Micro peels are also known as light or superficial chemical peels. These peels are meant to address only the outer epidermal layer of the skin. They, therefore, only remove the outer dead cell layer of the skin and a small amount of the remaining epidermis. They brighten your skin and correct minor color and texture problems. They are excellent accompaniments to basic skin care to keep the skin’s outer dead cell layer thin, thus allowing your inner glow to emerge. They can be done as a standalone or added to a facial for improved results. Since these act on only the most superficial layer of the skin, there is no discomfort or down time.
Other peels remove the entire epidermis and a part of the underlying support layer, the dermis. They are classified as medium peels and deep peels. For the peeling agent they use trichloroacetic acid, more concentrated solutions of the chemicals used in micro peels, a combination of different chemicals or, for very severe problems, phenol acid mixed with crotin oil. Since these peels remove all of the epidermis, it is like falling and skinning your knee. You have an open weeping area for a number of days to weeks until the area re-epithelializes and heals. Thus these other peels have a significant down time.
In any chemical peel, the idea is to apply a peeling agent, usually an acid, to the skin for a prescribed period of time. The peeling agent loosens some of the bonds between the cells in the skin, and these old, dead, damaged skin cells then slough.
One peeling agent is glycolic acid. It comes from natural sources: sugar cane, unripe grapes, and sugar beets. It is a mild, yet very effective, peeling agent. For our glycolic peels, we use a non-buffered 50% concentration (0.9 pH), medical strength glycolic acid to quickly, gently, and microscopically exfoliate the skin.
Lactic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) derived from fruit. It, too, is quite gentle when used by a professional.
Salicylic acid is a naturally occurring compound, which can be isolated from the bark of the willow tree. It, too, when used properly, removes the outer dead cells gently with minimal reaction.
Trichloroacetic acid can also be used, by an expert, to do a very superficial, epithelial only, peel. This is generally possible, however, only when combined in the Obagi Blue Peel ® to better understand the peel depth and with a decreased concentration and minimal amount applied to the skin.
Calming agents include licorice root and other botanicals are frequently used following the peel to keep any reaction at a minimum..
Micro peels can be branded, such as our Blue Peel Radiance® from Obagi, a combination of salicylic, lactic and glycolic acids. Alternately, we can use of the individual acids adjusted to your particular skin and needs. We most commonly use glycolic or lactic acid in this way.
These peels only work on a superficial level, and they only involve natural ingredients. If you are prone to developing contact dermatitis from irritants such as soaps, etc, there is a possibility your skin may have a slight reaction after our micro peels, but this is rare. If you are prone to skin reactions, please tell our aesthetician prior to your peel, as she can lower the concentration of the reagents. Then, with further peels, your skin can get used to them and she can adjust the concentration upwards if your skin shows it is handling the procedure well. If your skin is not prone to contact dermatitis reactions, there is little chance of any reaction at all with our micro peels.
Your results are immediate. These peels lightly exfoliate your outer epidermis. They remove dead skin cells and debris. The acids also loosen and lift excess oil from the sebaceous glands. Your skin looks instantly brighter and rejuvenated with younger, healthier skin cells on the surface. By removing the superficial pigment, discolorations appear lighter.
No special attention is necessary, just your normal high-quality skin care routine. Peels actually increase the benefit from your normal skin care as they perform one of the basic skin care duties (exfoliation) that allows better penetration to the target cells of, hydroquinone, retinols and tretinoin (Retin-A), ELASTIderm, and the active ingredients in serums.
If you haven’t had a micro peel at the Med Spa, it’s best to start with a series to change your skin for the better. There isn’t a limit to how many you can have, as many as one a month. To start, many patients opt to have a series of six peels, but that is completely up to you and your skincare goals.
We have patients who come in for a monthly micro peel to keep their skin bright and glowing.
Despite the “micro” part of the title, these are completely different treatments. In a micro peel, we apply an acid to break down the bonds that are holding your dead skin cells together. That allows those cells to flake off or exfoliate.
While microdermabrasion also seeks to provide light exfoliation, it does so by, in effect, lightly sandblasting your skin. Our microdermabrasion wand is passed over the skin and it blows a spray of extra fine crystals against your skin, simultaneously vacuuming the crystals, dead skin cells, and other debris away. This lightly abrades the skin surface. As with micro peels, microdermabrasion only targets the outer layer of the epidermis.
These peels are gentle but very effective for eliminating or improving these skin problems:
These treatments take about 30 minutes at our office in Highlands.
Because the acids used are gentle, and because we carefully monitor the application and duration (unlike home peels), these are safe for all skin tones and types.
If this is your first peel, you may feel some slight tingling when we apply the acid solution. It’s not painful, however. After one or two peels, this sensation usually passes.
There aren’t any side effects with these gentle peels. Your skin will likely be somewhat red afterwards, as if you have had a mild sun exposure. This passes within a few hours. You’ll have some light flaking over the next few days as your skin sloughs the dead cells. That’s about it. There is no recovery or downtime.