Moderate to severe acne can easily lead to scars and blemishes that mar the skin. Expensive laser treatments and microdermabrasion procedures can remove these marks. Many spas also offer a different kind of treatment to remove scars and blemishes: the chemical peel.
Remove the Skin
The idea behind this type of peel is to remove the flawed outer layer of skin. If the damaged skin can be removed, as the skin heals, the new skin that forms will not contain the scar or blemish. This is the same principle used in laser resurfacing treatments, except that instead of removing the outer layer of skin with a laser, it is removed with a chemical.
A deep peel removes all of the outer layers of skin at once. After a deep peel, the face will be red, irritated, and painful. The skin may blister and peel for days. It usually takes at least a week for the damage from a deep peel to begin to heal. The new skin that forms will be more radiant, youthful-looking, and blemish-free. However, due to the risks involved with getting deep peels wrong, they should only be performed under medical supervision. A too-deep peel can cause serious damage and permanent deep scarring to the face. If you’re interested in trying a deep peel, consult a local aesthetic doctor.
Light peels remove only the outermost surface of the skin at each application. They generally do not cause any obvious damage to the face. They are, therefore, safe enough to try at home. They do require longer to work than a deep peel- a deep peel will usually eliminate minor scars in one application. Lighter peels will need to be applied once or twice a week for several weeks before the scars and blemishes begin to fade away. There are several different types of peels you can try at home.
This peel has the advantage of being made entirely out of an easily obtainable product that you normally just throw away. Collect the peel from one large orange; you can also use grapefruit or lemon peels, if desired. Dry out the peel- either spread it out in the sun, dry it in a food dehydrator, or place in an oven set on warm for several hours. Once it’s dry and crisp, grind it up into a powder in a blender. Add a little water to create a paste. Spread the paste over the face and leave for 15 minutes. Rinse off.
Glycolic acid is the chemical most often used in deep peels. It is used at 40% or higher strengths in deep peels. For safe, light home peels, stick with a 10% solution. This chemical can be purchased in liquid form, or pre-soaked into applicator pads. Clean and dry the skin. Apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly to the lips, the nostrils, and around the eyes- anywhere you don’t want the acid to touch. Carefully wipe the acid onto the skin. Leave on for 15 minutes, then wash the face thoroughly.
If you’re doing light home peels, your skin should not appear to be damaged in any way by the treatment. However, it is important to protect the skin during the two weeks it takes for the outer layer to grow back after even a single light peel. Moisturize heavily, wear a hat, and stay out of the sun while you fade away your acne scars.