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A chemical peel is a very effective way to resurface the skin through chemical exfoliation using various acids to remove the dead skin cells that make the skin appear dull and lacklustre. The acids used within chemical peels include glycolic acid, salicylic acid, and lactic acid, they work by breaking the chemical bonds between skin cells, to allow them to slough off. Exfoliating away this layer reveals the healthy, fresh skin underneath, to leave you with a youthful glow. It is also a great treatment for fine lines and wrinkles, sun damage, hyperpigmentation, and blemish prone skin.

Not all chemical peels are the same, and no two people have the same skin complaints. We will work with you to choose the right peel for you. There are broadly 3 categories based on the level of peel, and usually linked with the strength of acid used (superficial, medium, and deep peels). Superficial peels will rarely cause side effects or a visible peeling of the skin. Medium depth peels, such as the ZO Skinhealth 3 step peel, will cause the upper layer of the skin to peel away, and can reach as far as the upper dermis. Deep peels, such as the ZO Skinhealth Controlled Depth Peel (which must be done under anaesthetic) can reach as far as the deep dermal layers of the skin, and have a long downtime period.

You may not be suitable for a chemical peel if you:

  • are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • suffer from post-traumatic hyperpigmentation
  • have a lesion/wart/mole/injury, etc. on the area to be treated
  • have recently had a similar abrasive treatment
  • have recently exfoliated/shaved/waxed the area
  • are using prescription strength acne treatments, such as isotretinoin
  • have a history of skin scarring, especially keloid scars

It is important to prepare your skin for a chemical peel, this will be dependent on the strength of peel. For superficial, it is important to stop using certain products, such as exfoliating facials, electrolysis, sunbeds, retinol, etc. For medium-deep peels, as well as stropping those, it is also important to prepare your skin with a good, regular routine of medical grade skincare. After your peel, continue to maintain your skincare, use a gentle cleanser, pat your face dry with a towel (avoid rubbing), and use a good quality moisturiser. It is very important to use SPF for at least 6 weeks after treatment, and advisable to avoid the sun while peeling if possible, as any peeling skin with not be protected by SPF, and will be very prone to developing hyperpigmentation. Whatever you do, do NOT pick or peel your skin, this will increase your risk of infection, scarring, and pigmentation.

Superficial Peels

Treatment Plan3-6 sessions
Treatment Time30 minutes

Regular exfoliation as part of your skincare regime (usually 2-3x weekly) is essential for keeping dead skin cells at bay, but a superficial peel on a monthly basis can help things along, to leave you with smooth, soft skin tone with an even texture and tone. There is no downtime or visible peeling following a superficial peel, leading to the popular nickname of the “lunchtime peel” as you can return to work immediately after.

Medium Depth Peels

Treatment Plan1 session
Treatment Time45-60 minutes
Downtime7-10 days

At Dr Malaika Clinics we use the ZO Skinhealth 3 Step Peel, you will need to prepare your skin 3-4 weeks prior to the peel with the ZO Skinhealth Get Skin Ready protocol, and will be provided with an aftercare pack to continue to look after your skin at home. There is a lot of peeling with this, your skin will typically get tighter and darker for a couple of days before the peeling starts, it can take around a week for the peel to complete.