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Peeling what you need to know

Peeling what you need to know

Peeling what you need to know

Peeling is the exfoliation of the skin that can reach the main skin. Peeling what you need to know

It is done by applying chemical or other methods and aims not only to rid the stratum corneum of its dead cells, but also to renew it with the production of new cells.
The goal of peeling is the aesthetic improvement of the facial skin. Peelings are classified as mild, medium and deep, depending on the depth we want to reach.

The choice of one of them depends on the degree of aging of the skin and on the patient's history. Depending on the peeling methods we use, peelings can be chemical or mechanical.
Chemical peeling is indicated for prematurely aged, oily, dull and highly porous skin. Also, for freckles (melasma), skin discolorations, small scars after acne and degenerative skin changes from solar radiation. Deep peeling significantly helps in smoothing or sometimes in the disappearance of very fine surface wrinkles.

Peeling what you need to know

Chemical peeling usually is made with trichloroacetic acid. Peeling can also be done with fruit acids. Fruit acids are used in densities of 30-70%, while trichloroacetic acid is used in densities of 10-20% for mild peeling, 25-35% for medium and 40-50% for deep.
Fruit acids are ideal for mild peeling, while trichloroacetic acid penetrates deeper and can reach the papillary dermis and the upper layers of the reticular dermis.

Peeling should not be applied to areas of the skin where there are herpes simplex lesions. Also, peeling should not be done in areas that have had radiation or recent surgery, in areas where keloid is present, and in people who have recently been treated with isotretinoin. Also, peeling should be avoided in dark-skinned people, because pigmentation problems may appear, as well as in immunosuppressed people.
Finally, for moderate and deep peelings, smoking should be avoided because smoke affects epithelization and increases the risk of scarring.

Peeling is more suitable for blonde people, who have fair skin, because it does not cause breakouts, unlike dark-skinned people, in whom discolouration can be created much more easily. Oily skins and those with blemishes, the well-known white and black spots, need more frequent peeling.
Peeling should be done from October to March and never in the summer, because the sun can cause burns or photosensitivity and pimples.

For 3-4 weeks before peeling with trichloroacetic acid, women should use creams containing tretinoin, isotretinoin or apallen every night on the face, while those who are going to peel with glycolic acid should use for 2-3 weeks , before the operation, creams and fruit acids (AHA), to get a better result.
On the day of the peeling, the woman should not put cosmetics on her face. A cleaning with acetone or alcohol, which will be done by the specialist, is required to eliminate every trace of oiliness from the skin and to facilitate the penetration of the chemical substance.

chemical peeling

Chemical peeling is not considered a particularly painful procedure. Only a burning sensation is created for a few seconds when the chemical comes into contact with the skin. This burn is treated with a special spray or with cold water. Before the operation, the woman must inform the doctor about any allergies or photosensitivity. As a precaution, however, the first peeling is always milder than the subsequent ones, to determine whether the skin accepts it.

In medium and deep peelings with trichloroacetic acid, the woman must stay at home for a week, because she must completely avoid sunlight. The skin immediately after peeling with trichloroacetic acid takes on a whitish color, which half an hour later turns red. This color remains for 2-4 days, depending on the type of peeling, and then turns dark brown, while the skin dries.

3-4 days after the peeling the exfoliation starts and 2-3 days after that the new shiny and youthful skin appears. During this time, we are not allowed to touch the skin, but let it exfoliate on its own. Mild peelings with glycolic acid do not require a stay at home. In any case, however, for at least one month, the daily use of sun creams with high protection indices is mandatory.


In general, with mild chemical peels, a slight irritation and slight peeling may be observed for 3-4 days. In the middle and deep areas, the skin returns – in terms of appearance – to its normal state after 7-10 days. In some cases, especially in deeper peelings, the redness can remain for a few weeks. Discoloration may also occur, but it is quickly eliminated with special creams containing hydroquinone.

In cases of food acne, peeling with fruit acids is done every 7 to 10 days for 6 weeks. Medium and deep peelings can be done once or twice a year and always in winter. When there are deep scars after injury or after acne, peeling can be done two to three times at the same time with an interval of 2 months.
Article by Alexandros Balamotis
Dermatologist Doctor of Dermatology University of Athens