Regrets of a misspent youth. 3 Ways to turn back time.

Deep Chemical Peels

We all have regrets. I have quite a few.

What I’d really like to say is regret is a wasted emotion, but that’s probably a topic for another day. Some regrets we just have to live with, but then sometimes, we can make amends and try and fix the errors of the past. But today in the final of The Peel Series,  I just want to focus on those youthful and seemingly carefree activities that are now coming back to bite.


Today we’re going deep!

Like all regrets, those of our youth have a troubling way of surfacing much later in life and when it comes to our skin a lifetime of exposure to the sun and other damaging activities like smoking, airborne pollutants and even poor nutrition can lead to premature lines, wrinkles and discolouration. Skin care alone, no matter how good and regardless of the promises made,  can’t treat these kinds of deeply engraved skin issues. 


But let’s not be too bleak about it, if all this unforgiving damage to your skin really troubles you, considering deep chemical peels could be the answer.  There are three formulations specifically designed for those of us looking for dramatic, turn-back-the-clock results. 


But first, consider this.

These peels represent a much greater risk of adverse events and social downtime. I’m not saying this to scare you, but rather to plead with you to consult with a cosmetic physician or dermatologist before considering these options and treatments and if you want to know more about finding good advice, I write about it in great detail here


Don’t do this at home.

During my research for this article, I came across some very disturbing ‘do-it-yourself’ home videos onYoutube!! Despite what you may have seen on the internet, do not attempt these peels at home. Don’t do it! Seriously. DON’T!! (Yes, I am yelling). The deep chemical peels I am talking about today should only be administered by a cosmetic physician or dermatologist or their nursing staff. Sound drastic? Well, this is your precious skin we are talking about. Respect it. Go Pro!

Okay, so now that I’ve got that all off my chest. Phew! What are these deep chemical peels?


What’s available?

1. Trichloroacetic Acid (TCA) – A medium depth peel which will give you an intense result and is really best for fine lines and deeper wrinkling associated with sun damage. TCA can be used on the face, neck, hands and any other part of the body and can have a slight bleaching effect on the skin, which is useful if you want to minimise brown spots and discolouration.
It can be used all over the face or just as a spot treatment for difficult to treat skin problems.  After your treatment,  you can expect redness and depending on the strength of the TCA, there will be copious amounts of shedding skin, which can last for up to a week after your treatment. You’ll probably want to spend a few days at home and of course as with any chemical peels. Avoiding sun exposure is mandatory!!
2. Phenol Peels – Not for the faint-hearted. Phenol peels are a deep chemical peel and believe me it goes deep! Usually only administered to the face and where sun damage and wrinkling are severe (the type of skin that has become dry, thick and leathery). This deep chemical peel can be quite painful both during and after the treatment. Your doctor will probably use anaesthetic creams and prescribe some kind of pain relief. 
Despite the potential for dramatic results, Phenol Peels MUST be used with caution as the outcomes can be unpredictable and there is a very high risk of bleaching the skin leaving a permanent demarcation between the treated and untreated areas. You don’t want that!!


What would I do?

Personally, I believe the risks far outweigh the benefits and these days many cosmetic physicians and dermatologist will favour safer and probably more effective options like a combination of superficial chemical peels, treatments with laser resurfacing, LED light therapy,  sonophoresis and a really good skincare routine.
3. Jessner Peels – A gentler and more controlled option. A combination of 14% Salicylic Acid, 14% Resorcinol and 14% Lactic Acid is the recipe of this peel.  They are a relatively safe option and provide a combination of actions on the skin in the one treatment.
As there is salicylic acid in this peel you are likely to see the visible shedding of the top layers of your skin. For intense results, this chemical peel is usually layered up to 3 times (sometimes more). Like all other peels, it is not recommended for darker skins as the risk of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation is too high.  

As much as I like and recommend chemical peels, they are not a cure-all. There are limitations when using chemical peels.


What Deep Peels will do.

You will have an improved texture and better cell turnover which ultimately leads to a better-looking skin. With regular use, your skin’s collagen-producing cells will be stimulated to produce more collagen. You will see a slight improvement in skin discolouration but this will depend largely on the underlying causes of your hyperpigmentation.


What they won’t do.

Despite improvements to the overall look and feel of your skin, chemical peels cannot improve a loss of elasticity, where the skin has begun to sag (I know, it’s a pity). Nor will chemical peels completely remove brown spots or uneven pigmentation.


Chemical peels are a great addition to a good skincare regimen. If you are looking for dramatic changes to your skin, then consider chemical peels as the launch pad for better things.

When used in combination with well formulated and sophisticated anti ageing skin care regimen, as well as the regular use of a good sunscreen you can expect great results. Follow ALL the advice you are given, and check out my checklist over here
If you fear the regrets of your youth go too deep, there are so many non-invasive options available to you. You may want to consider other brilliant treatments like laser resurfacing, LED light therapy, sonophoresis, fractional laser and lastly anti-wrinkle injectables to smooth and fill any lines or wrinkles.
A qualified cosmetic physician or dermatologist can guide you in the best treatments for your particular skin issues. If the way your skin looks really bothers you and you are prepared to spend the money to correct your skin you can have something quite close to ageless.

Are chemical peels a regular part of your skincare regimen? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment or if you’ve got a question just for me, you can always drop me a line here.
See you next time,

The Beauty Issue



This article appears as the fourth and final of my 4 part series on Chemo-exfoliation using Chemical Peels