Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) are usually derived from citric (citrus fruits), glycolic (sugar cane), lactic (fermented milk), malic (apples) and tartaric (grapes). Glycolic and Lactic Acid are the two most commonly applied. AHAs are the mildest of all chemical peels. They are primarily beneficial for the treatment of very fine lines, dry and dehydrated skin, mild skin and pigment irregularities and acne.
Lactic Acid is very hydrating and brightening to the skin. It has a very large molecular structure and thus it tends to be less irritating.
Glycolic Acid has the smallest molecular structure, penetrating quickly and deeper - thus being more irritating. It tends to feel "spicy" on the skin during the professional treatment.
ProSystem Rejuvenating Peels Offered: Glycolic Acid Peel including 20%, 35%, 50% and 70%, Clarifying Peel of 30%, Mandelic and Citric Acid, Brightening Peel of 30% Citric Acid. Note: visible exfoliation/flaking may not occur. Your skin may feel rough for a couple of days while the skin exfoliates the rough surface layers.
Retinol Peel ProSystem Retinol Peel is an advanced, 3% Retinol Peel that is clinically proven to exfoliate and improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, acne-prone skin and skin laxity. Note: visible exfoliation will likely occur for a few days following the peel.
Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs) are lipid based (oil loving) and the most widely used acid is salicylic. They tend to work very well on oily skin types, helping to control oil production, on acne prone and congested skin, and to a certain extent perform better than AHAs (due to their ability to penetrate deeper with their lipid base capabilities attaching to our own natural skin oils). Salicylic Acid is known as a “Roto-Rooter" for the pores. Salicylic acid has anti-inflammatory properties, which can reduce redness and irritation from breakouts.
Jessner's Peels are typically a combination of lactic acid, salicylic acid and resorcinol in an ethanol base. The resorcinol drives the other acids farther into the skin layers. Jessner's peels vary by strength and percentages of acid used. Some are classified as a mild Jessner's, like those combining additional acids, such as mandelic derived from bitter almonds, which is calming to the skin and helps reduce redness and inflammation. Phytic acid from rice bran is a natural skin brightener. Clients with sensitive/sensitized skin, such as those with rosacea, can benefit from receiving chemical peels with lactic, mandelic and phytic acid.
Jessner's Peels are often followed by a layer of retinoic acid, aiding in deeper peel penetration, allowing the acid to effectively break the "glue" between the skin cells known as keratinocytes. Combining retinoic acid into the peel provides enhanced results and facilitates in skin healing.
Trichloroacetic Acid Peels (TCA) are perhaps the most frequently used acid for a medium depth peel. It is available in a range of strengths and combinations. Many times it is used at lower percentages in conjunction with other acids such as salicylic acid. When used as a stand alone agent with percentages above 20%, it should be under medical supervision. TCA peels are a great choice for advanced pigment irregularities, sun damage, deeper wrinkles and acne scars. Depending on the strength and percentage used, TCA can be classified as a medium-deep chemical peel.
The deeper the peel, the greater the results and skin rejuvenation. It also means additional down time due to increased skin sensitivity, redness, inflammation, skin peeling and healing. A higher risk of complications can also arise with deeper peels. Superficial chemical peels are a suitable choice for individuals who have never had a professional chemical peel service, or people looking for mild correction and skin care maintenance. But keep in mind, they are just that… superficial. Even a series of 3-6 superficial peels spaced 3-4 weeks apart is not going to remove deep lines, wrinkles and excess pigment abnormalities.
Professional strength chemical peels with a very low PH offered in medical facilities generally are performed by licensed aestheticians and physicians. They are not the same as over- the-counter (OTC) or do-it-yourself (DIY) home peel kits that may possibly be purchased online. Those are often "buffered" and may be diluted. If you purchase some type of acid online with a PH of 3.0 or lower, it can result in health risks, including injury and scarring in the hands of an untrained person.
So when it comes to your skin and chemical peels, leave it to the licensed professionals to make the decision on what is best for you and your skin condition. Simple, easy, non-complicated.