Dr Teja Kulkarni
Dr Teja Kulkarni
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Chemical Peels
1. Who can do chemical peels?
These treatments suit all skin types. There is a wide range of chemical peels which are used to treat pimples, pigmentation, wrinkles or just to treat dullness of the skin. The exact solution to be used will vary according to the concern, according to your skin type (oily/normal/dry/combination, etc.), according to the sensitivity of your skin and many other factors.
2. Are these chemicals safe?  
Yes, they are extremely safe. These ‘chemicals’ are mostly fruit extracts which have skin renewal properties. For example, glycolic acid is obtained from grapes and sugarcane, lactic acid from milk, etc. They are obtained from natural sources. Just think - if I were to apply grape juice directly on your skin, firstly I would be concerned about the impurities mixed. Also, I would not be able to judge how long the juice would have to be left on your skin for maximum benefits and minimum side effects, as I would not know the exact concentration of glycolic acid in those particular grapes. It is much safer to go for purified and standardized preparations of fruit extracts, using products of the best possible brands.
What exactly are chemical peels? How are they beneficial?
Chemicals peels are treatments for skin rejuvenation. The skin is a dynamic organ, not just a covering for the internal organs. The superficial layers of our skin undergo a turnover every 27 days. The loss of the dead layers of our skin is usually imperceptible (i.e. we can’t feel or see it). We can see the skin appendages like hair and nails growing but we cannot actually see the dead layers of our skin shedding off. In some, due to factors such as ageing or due to excessively dry skin, dead skin accumulation on the surface of the skin gives the skin a dull look and there is a loss of glow. Chemical peels stimulate exfoliation (shedding off) of the dead layers of the skin so that fresher skin is visible on the surface. With regular treatments, collagen synthesis is stimulated in the deeper layers of the skin. This helps in skin tightening. It slows down the development of fine lines and wrinkles and is also beneficial in disorders of pigmentation. It also helps in reducing tanning of the skin, thereby giving a lighter skin tone. For oily skin, pimples, etc, some peels are available which reduce the oiliness of the skin.
4. Are the results permanent?
No, they are not permanent. Would you ask your hair dresser if the haircut you are getting done would last a lifetime? You are aware that even to retain your particular haircut, you need to go for a trim regularly. Same for so many other things – we cut our nails regularly, dust our house and furniture regularly, try to get regular meals and enough sleep, get servicing done for our vehicles, etc. The same applies to your skin. The most superficial layers of the skin get exfoliated, with complete cell turnover once in about 27-28 days. The new fresh rejuvenated skin needs to be taken care of – protected form sunlight, moisturized, etc. Usually treatment sessions are taken once in every 15 days, but this gap is not rigid. This gap can be increased or decreased to suit your skin and your convenience. For maintenance, sessions can be spaced out. Many times, the benefits can be maintained simply with the use of some creams applied nightly. Maintenance is the key. The good thing is that maintenance is easy and affordable.
How soon will I see a change in my skin?
Visible benefits are usually seen after 2-3 sessions. This depends on your particular concerns, and varies from person to person. The total number of sessions you will require will vary according to your concern.
          Ance Before Chemical Peel     Ance After Chemical Peel
Ance Before Chemical Peel Ance After Chemical Peel
Are treatments affordable?
Very much so.
7. I have been told that peels have anti-ageing properties. At what age should these be started?
For preventive purposes – even as early as in your 20s. This also depends on your vocation, how much time you spend outdoors, etc. After fine wrinkles develop, they can be treated, but may not respond completely. Prevention is better than cure.
What extra care do I need to take while I am on treatment?
The single most important thing is protecting your skin from sunlight. You need to use a sunscreen which suits your skin or else physically cover your skin with a scarf, use a cap, etc. Other products to be used or tips to be followed will vary according to your particular concern and your skin.
What is the difference between parlor facials and chemical peels?
Actually, there is no similarity. After a parlour facial, immediate benefits may be seen. Your skin may feel fresh and smooth. Apart from the benefits for your skin, many people find the massage relaxing. There is a lot of ‘feel good’ associated with a facial. However, the way facials are done varies from parlour to parlour. Some of the steps involved may not suit your skin. For example, steam taken may worsen your open pores, the creams used while giving a massage may cause or aggravate pimples and cause whiteheads/blackheads in some. Also, they are time consuming and you may find it difficult to shell out this extra time for skin care.

As against that, after a peel, for the initial few days, your skin might feel dry and stretched. The benefits are seen after the dead skin peels off. Depending on your concern, (e.g. Acne, pigmentation, dark circles, wrinkles, etc) the strength of peels can be adjusted so that even deeper layers of your skin can be targeted if needed. Just for a smoother texture or glow, mild peels are sufficient. Multiple sessions give cumulative benefits. The treatments take hardly 5 – 10 minutes. If it is important for you that your skin feels good right on that day itself, peels can be coupled with packs that give immediate effect. There are different kinds of packs available for skin hydration, for skin lightening, for skin tightening, etc.
Note: Before going for a peel, inform me
• If you are on any medication, or have been in the past 6 months
• If you suffer from any condition causing excessive sensitivity to sunlight
• If you have undergone any parlour activity like facials, clean-ups, bleach, threading, etc. in the past week or are planning to in the next week.
• In case of ladies - if you are pregnant/ planning to conceive/are breast-feeding your baby.
• If you plan to attend any important function/meeting/social event in the next few days.

Men need to shave at least a few hrs before coming for a session of chemical peel as chemicals applied just after shaving may irritate the skin.
Just for a few days after going for a peel – it is best to avoid swimming, excessive sun exposure, exercises which make you sweat a lot, make-up, parlour activities, etc. as these things might irritate your skin.

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