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Are Aggressive Skin Peels Worth It?

deep chemical peel

A reporter from the St. Louis paper asked if aggressive peels (also know as medium, deep or dermal level peels) are worth it. As a licensed esthetician, acne expert and 45 year old woman dealing with the dreaded combination of acne and aging skin, I have administered as well as personally experienced these aggressive peels, so I think I’m well-versed on this subject.

In the end, the answer for me is “you couldn’t pay me to do an aggressive peel.” Why? Because I don’t think the pain, recovery or downtime is worth the improvement in skin texture or increase in collagen. Deep chemical peels require a full week of isolating yourself, avoiding the sun, skipping regular home care, and avoiding exercise, not to mention the pain involved requiring a spray bottle of water kept in the refrigerator to cool and calm the skin and maximum doses of Advil or painkillers. It’s like being in the torture chamber.

Recovery from deep peels requires taking time off work (because the skin is peeling off in sheets and unsightly), skipping exercise (because sweat can get trapped under the peeled skin, causing sweat bubbles to form), and, if you’re acne-prone. taking a break from home care products that are keeping the pores clear, thus causing a post-peel acne flareup.Instead,

I recommend light peels to “chip away” at acne, aging and pigmentation done bi-weekly (every 2 weeks), at home or in the clinic, over a 6 month period. Doing light peels more often gives the same results as one big, deep peel without the isolation, pain, downtime or interruption in routine.