Medical peels - what do they involve?

The term medical peelings is very broad. It encompasses different types of treatments for exfoliation and revitalisation of the epidermis, which can be achieved by a variety of more or less invasive methods.

Types of medical peeling

Medical peeling can be performed with varying effects, even covering the deep layers of the skin. It can be done:

  • Within the epidermis - the so-called surface peeling,
  • Covering the entire epidermis and the upper layer of the skin - the so-called medium-deep peeling,
  • Reaching into the deeper layers of the dermis - the so-called deep dermis.

Depending on the exfoliation method used, the peel can be:

  • Mechanical - here, the epidermis is abraded using corundum or diamond discs or corundum crystals, in other words: microdermabrasion,
  • Physical - using laser, liquid nitrogen, nitrous oxide, ultrasound - cavitation peeling,
  • Chemical - using acids, otherwise known as chemabrasion, enzyme peeling.

The frequency of treatment depends on the type of treatment and the individual needs of the skin and the desired results. The deeper the peel, the greater the risk of an adverse reaction.

What do cavitation peeling, enzyme peeling, facial exfoliation and other such treatments offer?

The main task of medical peelings, such as cavitation peeling, enzyme peeling, facial exfoliation or microdermabrasion, for example, is to exfoliate the epidermis or epidermis and deeper layers of the skin in effect:

  • Epidermal cell revitalisation,
  • Skin regeneration,
  • Enhancement of collagen and elastin production,
  • Antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory effects,
  • Reduction of fine wrinkles,
  • Regulation of sebum secretion,
  • Lightening of minor discolouration,
  • General dermostimulation of the skin and skin cleansing.

Indications for medical peeling

The main general indications for medical peeling are:

  • Wrinkles, loss of skin firmness coming with age,
  • Skin that is dry, grey, hypoxic and lacking in elasticity,
  • Oily skin, dilated skin pores,
  • Blackhead and papulopustular acne,
  • Acne rosacea in remission,
  • Acne complications - hyperpigmentation, atrophic scars and enlarged pores,
  • Follicular keratosis,
  • Superficial atrophic scars,
  • Stretch marks,
  • Hyperpigmentation of different nature: post-inflammatory, post-sun, hormonal, pigmented spots.

Who should not undergo a medical peel?

General contraindications to the use of a medical peel are:

  • Pregnancy, breastfeeding,
  • Skin allergies,
  • Active herpes,
  • Autoimmune diseases (collagenosis, pemphigus),
  • Irritated, damaged skin at the site of the treatment - with erosions, foreheads and abrasions,
  • A tendency to scarring,
  • Uncompensated metabolic and systemic diseases,
  • Condition after surgical intervention at the surgical site (up to 2 months),
  • Numerous melanocytic nevi,
  • Numerous telangiectasias,
  • Condition after cryotherapy (up to 6 months),
  • Severe forms of acne with multiple pustules, purulent cysts,
  • Oral therapy with vitamin A derivatives (Roaccutane) - at least 6 month break required,
  • Skin exposure to the sun (very sunny summer).

Preparation for surgery - general principles

When preparing for a medical peel treatment - cavitation, enzyme, microdermabrasion or any other - remember the following:

  • The skin must not be irritated by anything,
  • Seven to 10 days prior to treatments, do not use self-tanners, depilation, electrolysis, waxing, abrasive sponges, dermabrasion, retinoids or skin irritants,
  • Strong creams, e.g. with benzoyl oxide, retinol or sulphur, AHA acids, should be discontinued a few days before the treatment,
  • Men should not shave their face on the day of treatment,
  • Do not perform a facial massage 2-3 days before a facial scrub,
  • One month before the peeling, do not sunbathe or use a solarium.
  • In the case of certain peels like glycolic acid, appropriate preparations should be used to prepare the skin (for acidification).

Medical peelings - post-treatment management

After a medical peel, it is important to follow the recommendations linked to the specific type of peel indicated by the specialist. The general rules are:

  • Absolute prohibition of scraping off flaky skin,
  • No sunbathing or use of tanning beds for 4 weeks,
  • Ban the use of AHA creams for 14 days,
  • Intensive moisturising of the skin,
  • Use of sunscreens with an SPF of at least 30,
  • Make-up cannot be applied until several hours after the treatment.

To maintain and enhance the effect of the medical peel, vitamin C creams can be applied - twice a day. Immediately after or to prolong the positive effect of the treatments, the peels can be combined with other treatments.

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