A chemical peel uses a chemical solution to improve the skin texture by dissolving dead skin on the skin's surface.The result is smoother skin with fewer wrinkles.Chemical peels are also helpful in reduction of blemishes,acne scars and uneven skin pigmentation.There are various kinds of chemical peels having varying strengths and can be performed by a dermatologist or by yourself using a home-kit(the internet is flooded with them).
However these usually contain strong chemicals and can be quite unsafe if not used carefully (remember Samantha from SATC) not to mention expensive.A safer option would be to prepare these chemical peels at home yourself by using ingredients commonly found in the kitchen.They have the benefit of being natural,cheap and most importantly safe.But do not try to make stronger peels at home.These should be formulated and applied by a licensed specialist only.
In this 3 part series I'm going to cover the basics of concocting chemical peels in the safety of your kitchen.In this post I'm going to introduce the concept of homemade peels and in later posts I will concentrate on two specific types of peels.
Types Of Chemical Peels
AHA or Alpha Hydroxy Acids are naturally occurring fruit acids and the mildest peel chemical.The most common AHA's are Citric Acid(Lemon,Oranges), Glycolic Acid(Sugarcane), Tartaric Acid(Grapes), Malic Acid(Apples) and Lactic Acid(Sour Milk).AHA Peels produces light peels for treatment of fine wrinkles, areas of dryness, uneven pigmentation and acne.
BHA or Beta Hydroxy Acids are milder than AHA and are proven to penetrate deeper than AHA peels.It also helps to control sebum and acne which makes it more popular.The most common BHA is Salicylic Acid found in most OTC acne treatments.
There are other types of stronger chemical peels like Jessner's Peel, Retinoic Acid Peel(derived from Vitamin A), Trichloroacetic Acid Peel and the infamous Phenol Peel.These use stronger, artificially synthesized chemicals and therefore are more difficult and dangerous to duplicate at home.
1. The Acid
After deciding the type of peel you want to perform the acid to be used is chosen.
For AHA Peel:
Normally fruits with high enzyme and acid contents are ideal.Apples, Unripe Grapes, Lemons, Lime, Oranges, Pineapple, Papaya , Tomatoes, Sugarcane, Tomatoes, Cucumber are some common ingredients.These can either be blended to a creamy paste or grated and squeezed to release juices.
For BHA Peel:
Since Salicylic Acid is the only acid used here, there is only one source-Aspirin tablets or Disprin as its commonly known in India.These should be crushed to a fine powder.Do not use any variation of the drug.
2. The Base
This adds thickness to the peel and makes it easier to spread and apply.Sour Cream, Heavy Cream, Buttermilk, Gelatin, Yogurt can be used depending on your skin type and preference.
This ingredient is optional and can be used to balance out the acid and minimize the drying after effects of the peel.Honey can be added as a moisturizing agent as it will not disturb the constitution of the peel.
Even though these chemical peels are natural and homemade certain precautions should be observed:
- The acid in these peels might cause an adverse skin reaction especially if you have sensitive skin, so it is always advisable to do a patch test before proceeding.Prepare a small amount and test it behind your ears.If there is any redness,itching or burning sensation discontinue use.
- Peels work by basically removing the dead surface skin and exposing the new skin beneath, which will make it sensitive for the first few days.So it is advisable to use full spectrum sun protection(minimum SPF 15), before stepping out.Also the use of bleach and other harsh chemicals should be avoided for a few days.
- Since these peels are made of natural chemicals do not expect instantaneous results.Use it regularly to see effects.However do not apply more than once a week.Over exfoliation may result in major skin problems.
In Part 2 of Chemical Peels At Home I will discuss the Glycolic Acid Peel in detail.Till then let me know your views on chemical peels.