Alpha Hydroxy Acid Chemical Peels At A Glance
- Best Results3-6 treatments
- Treatment Recovery0-2 days
- Procedure Time15 min
- Skin SpecialistDermal therapist
- Duration of Results2-8 weeks
- AnaestheticNil required
- Back to WorkImmediately to 1 day
Alpha Hydroxy Acid Chemical Peels
Chemical peels are used to treat skin conditions such as pigmentation, melasma, acne, blackheads, enlarged pores, congestion, & oily skin. AHA peels include glycolic, lactic, citric & mandelic acids. Our team at Cutis Dermatology can tailor a chemical peel program based upon your acne & skin type to help improve your complexion and texture.
FactsFacts on AHA Chemical Peels
What can Alpha Hydroxy Acid Chemical Peels do for my skin?
AHA peels include glycolic, lactic, citric, malic & mandelic acids. They can –
- Treat sun damage including sun spots & solar keratosis.
- Treat fine wrinkles, pigmentation, blemishes, open pores.
- Reduce pigmentation including melasma.
- Reduce enlarged pores.
- Improves the appearance of acne scars
- Aids in skin hydration
* BHA peels – salicylic acid peels are better for acne & congestion as this peel is lipophilic (goes into oily better).
How do AHA peels work?
Chemical peels work as an exfoliant. By definition, AHA peels are superficial peels, meaning their action is within the top layer of skin called the epidermis. Within the AHA family, there are a glycolic, lactic, critic, malic, and mandelic acids. Glycolic acid is the smallest molecule meaning it has better penetration than larger molecules such as mandelic acid.
Glycolic acid in higher concentrations, typically 50 to 70% can stimulate cells to produce collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid.
Lactic acid peels are best for skin hydration as it increases the skin’s natural moisturizing factor. Chemical peels increase the turnover of skin cells, improving dullness & pigmentation.
How long does it take to recover from an AHA peel?
These peels are by definition lunchtime peels. Hence recovery should be immediate. You may be a wee bit red following glycolic peels if the concentration reaches 50 to 70%. Your nurse or therapist will guide you accordingly.
What is the difference between home use AHA & clinical peels?
Buffer and pH. Home use AHA serums, lotions & creams have a higher pH, whist clinical peels have a much lower pH. AHA peels require neutralisation with water or sodium bicarbonate.
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What are the differences between AHA & BHA peels?
AHA peels require a step up program and neutralisation, whilst BHA peels do not require neutralization.
AHA peels are best for sun damage, anti-aging, wrinkles & pigmentation, usually as part of an integrated skincare regimen.
BHA peels are more lipophilic, meaning better for oily skin. This peel is best for acne prone skin, blackheads, and congestion.
Which AHA peel is suitable for sensitive skin types?
Mandelic followed by lactic acid over glycolic acid. This is because mandelic acid molecular size is double that of glycolic acid. This means slower penetration into the deeper epidermis.
If you have sensitive skin, my advice is not to undertake a chemical peel, but to consider lasers such as pico, pico toning, dermal toning, or laser genesis. Lasers have a much better tolerance profile & in most cases reduce skin inflammation; especially vascular lasers.
What are TCA peels?
TCA stands for trichloroacetic acid peels. This is a self-neutralizing chemical peel. This peel can treat-
Acne scars; usual concentrations range from 30 to 100%. Triple to single coat. This form of peeling (in the context of skin scars) should be done by a dermatologist or plastic surgeon.
Wrinkles, open pores, pigmentation & sun damage including solar keratosis & precancerous lesions; my go-to peel is a Jessner TCA peel. This is an excellent peel for skin types 1-2. Downtime of approximately 6-9 days.
Melasma & pigmentation; limited to 8% 1-2 coats by my clinical team.
TCA peels are associated with recovery times ranging between 1 to 9 days.
What are retinoic acid peels?
Retinoic acid peels are prescribed peels that contain 1-5% retinoic acid. This peel has a delayed peeling period of 2 to 14+ days. This is one of my favorite peels as it infuses a super high strength of retinoic acid, about 200 to 400 times the power of over-the-counter retinol.
The duration of peel (and also potential side effects such as redness, burning, and stinging) is proportional to both concentration & depth of delivery. These peels are designed for individuals who understand how to look after their skin post peeling.
Retinoic acid peels can treat; sun damage, pigmentation, melasma, open pores, acne, oily skin, & wrinkles. It is best used four to six times a year; especially in super-high concentrations. This is an excellent anti-aging peel to be incorporated into your skincare routine. This is a clinical peel, applied in rooms, and washed off 6-12 hours post application. For more information, book an appointment with my clinical team.
How do I know what is the best peel for my skin concerns?
A clinical examination by my clinical team of nurses & dermal therapist would give us an idea of your skin concerns & quality. As a guide-
AHA peels: best for sun damage, pigment, photoaging, anti-aging. Good maintenance peel. Around $95 AUD.
BHA peels: best for acne & congested skin. Around $95 AUD.
Retinoic acid peels: much like AHA peel indications but has variable downtime. This peel can also be used to treat acne & blackheads. Around $95 AUD.
TCA peel: medium to deep, done by myself. Downtime of around 9 days. Around $2390-2990 AUD.
How much do peels cost?
AHA peels start at $95 AUD per peel. These peels are conducted by my clinical team.
I perform deep peels including TCA – Jessner TCA as well as phenol croton oil peels.
Davin’s Viewpoint on AHA peels
Peels are underutilized. Even though we have the very latest lasers, chemical peels are very useful in the management of many skin conditions, including sun damage, photoaging, pigmentation & acne.
Glycolic & lactic acid peels are our go to AHA peels. For patients with sensitive skin, it is either mandelic acid or enzyme peels. In this subgroup of patients, lasers are usually advised as they are even gentler than mandelic acid. A simple chemical peel routine is to incorporate these peels into your home skin care, for example a lactic acid peel every 4 to 6 weeks will keep your skin cells exfoliated.
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