How peeling realizes the dream of beautiful skin

Many people feel younger than they look. Therefore, it is only natural that the desire arises to stop or at least slow down the visible aging of the skin: an even face with a delicate cheek line and a pink glow, fine-pored skin that radiates youth and freshness.

Of course, this is what many female patients who visit our practice Dr. Fuchs in Zurich wish for. In order to fulfill the wish for a significantly rejuvenated appearance, we have many different methods available in our practice. One particularly popular and effective method is peeling.

What does “peeling” mean, and what does it achieve?

Probably, there is no woman who has never performed peeling. But more and more men also exfoliate regularly and use appropriate treatments. The mode of action of peelings is quite well described by the term, which is derived from English.

The skin is “peeled”, dead skin cells are removed and the skin is stimulated to regenerate. In this process, more or less large parts of the skin are removed – depending on which peeling method is used. Gentler methods gently remove only the dead skin scales from the epidermis.

Somewhat stronger applications penetrate the dermis. More aggressive methods are required for a peeling treatment that penetrates into the lower layers of the skin. As a result, the appearance of the skin is fresher and younger again with all peeling methods.

Before each treatment there is a thorough examination

In order to individually select the right therapy for your skin situation, the doctor will first thoroughly examine your skin. In doing so, he will also pay particular attention to any abnormalities – such as Redness on the face.

During the examination, we not only analyze your skin condition, but also choose the right peeling method. With regard to possible contraindications, we determine whether there are any reasons for which deep peeling treatment is prohibited.

What are the different peeling methods?

You can do a light peeling yourself with products from the free trade. More in-depth methods that go beyond superficial effects are reserved exclusively for trained experts and professionals. There are chemical and mechanical peeling methods, laser peelings and dermabrasion or microdermabrasion.

Here we present the different options for peeling treatment in a dermatological practice. You will learn which procedures are available and how the treatments effectively differ from each other. We explain for whom which treatment is suitable and what results you can expect from a therapy.

Is peeling suitable for everyone?

Basically, there are few restrictions for which peeling treatment is not advisable overall. Only people with very sensitive skin can react to the treatment with redness, rarely also with inflamed skin. However, gentle enzyme peels are also available for sensitive skin types without deep intervention in the skin structures.

In any case, you are in safe hands with an experienced skin doctor. We examine and advise every person seeking help in detail and comprehensively before suggesting a therapy. Of course, this applies to our entire team of highly trained specialists.

Chemical peels: three different strengths

Let’s look at chemical peels first. Chemical peels use acids to partially destroy the upper layers of the skin. They stimulate the skin to regenerate and conjure up a fresh complexion on the face. Chemical peeling procedures come in three different levels – depending on how superficially or deeply the skin is treated.

1. light peelings – dull, gray skin becomes rosy again

Patients who only want fresher, radiant skin are well advised to use a light peel. This acts more on the surface of the skin. The treatment is usually performed with fruit acids or glycolic acid (AHA acid). The acids are usually obtained from cane sugar or fruits.

For example, if the facial skin looks gray and dull in winter due to dry heating air and cold outside air, this procedure is perfect. Also, in case of enlarged pores, small imperfections and first wrinkles, a light peeling treatment is a good way to visibly improve the skin’s appearance.

The effects of a light peeling

A fruit acid or glycolic acid peel removes the top layer of skin in the form of keratinized skin. Dead skin cells are removed so that the underlying skin cells can regenerate. The skin is better supplied with blood. New layers of skin appear. The complexion appears visibly fresher and younger.

In addition, light peeling treatments stimulate the formation of new supporting connective tissue. As a result of the treatment, the skin becomes firmer and tighter. The skin is better able to bind water. Thus, it is supplied with moisture. The result: a fresh complexion.

Even the light chemical peeling treatments with glycolic acid have different gradations. There are different strengths of glycolic acid preparations. Which dosage is the right one for the particular skin condition is examined before the treatment and evaluated by the treating physician.

For a lasting improvement in skin appearance, therapy should be repeated at regular intervals. Light peeling procedures with acids can be performed every ten to fourteen days. It is recommended to peel about four to six times. This is because the effect increases with increasing treatment frequency.

2. medium depth peels – also help with scars

Those who have a deeper skin problem – for example, scars or even pigment disorders – should think about a therapy that affects the dermis. In contrast to the more superficial method, the dermis is also affected. This method has a deeper effect.

It can Acne-Even out scars and irregularities of pigmentation. Impurities and warts are also removed or at least greatly minimized with such a medium-depth chemical peel. The medium-depth peeling treatment is performed with trichloroacetic acid (TCA). It is horn-dissolving and is applied in different concentrations.

Depending on the acid concentration, the preparations can penetrate deeper into the skin. Ten- to 15-percent TCA solution causes superficial peeling of the epidermis. A 15- to 35-percent TCA solution, on the other hand, penetrates deeper. Depending on the skin condition and the problems to be treated, the specialist advises and decides on the individual TCA concentration.

What happens during medium-depth chemical TCA peeling?

During a TCA peel, the skin undergoes what is called “freezing.” The skin becomes grayish-white after the solution is applied. Not only does the intensity of the solution vary, but also the strength of the application pressure. The whiter and denser the “frosting” is as a result, the greater the effect that results from the depth of penetration.

When is treatment with TCA not indicated?

Patients with acute inflammation of the skin areas to be treated – a herpes infection or keloid tendency (rampant scarring) – are excluded from peeling treatment with TCA. This moderately severe peeling procedure is also not indicated during pregnancy and breastfeeding. This also applies after extended sunbathing. Avoid too much UV radiation before visiting the practice for a peeling treatment.

3. deep peelings – extremely effective after only one application.

In some cases, the superficial and medium-deep chemical peeling procedures are not enough to achieve the desired effect. Whether the reasons for application are medical or aesthetic, the deep chemical peeling procedure is able to achieve a penetrating effect even in the lower layers of the skin.

Phenol is used for deep peeling treatments. As the name suggests, phenol has the deepest effect. It penetrates to the lower layers of the skin. Sometimes a single treatment is enough to achieve deep Wrinkles to compensate for wrinkles. However, the suitability of this comparatively aggressive method must be tested individually in advance. Anesthesia is mandatory for phenol peeling.

For whom is a deep peeling with phenol not suitable?

There are several contraindications for which deep peeling of the entire face with phenol should not be performed. These include severe heart disease, liver and kidney disease, and diabetis mellitus requiring insulin. Peeling treatment with phenol is also not recommended during pregnancy and breastfeeding. In addition, the treatment method is not suitable for dark skin types.

How does a chemical peeling treatment proceed?

Except for the phenol peel, a chemical peel treatment always proceeds in the same way. To prepare the skin, a pre-peel cream usually needs to be applied. This is prescribed by the doctor. It allows the peeling preparation to penetrate deeper into the skin layers. Immediately before the peeling treatment, the skin is thoroughly cleansed and degreased.

Then the appropriate preparation with AHA, TCA or phenol is applied to the skin. After the appropriate exposure time, the skin is neutralized again. After the treatment, the skin peels. This effect sets in after about one to two days with a TCA peel and can last up to a week.

It should also be noted that the skin may burn uncomfortably both during and after the treatment. You will be rewarded by a renewed and regenerated skin that appears at the end of this peeling phase.

Mechanical peeling procedures – for a smooth and refreshed skin appearance.

Mechanical peeling procedures - for a smooth and refreshed skin appearance

This method relies on mechanical action. Various rubbing and scraping mechanisms stimulate the skin to regenerate. The self-healing powers of the largest organ thus ensure a smooth and fresh complexion.

Here, too, different methods are available. In contrast to the chemical method with acid, mechanical peeling causes abrasion of cells on the skin surface by manual operation or by means of various devices.

Mechanical peeling with fine grain

In most commercial peeling products for self-treatment, mechanical peeling is used here. Fine grit scrapes away dead cells and stimulates circulation. Professionals, on the other hand, can additionally stimulate the skin to regenerate with targeted small injuries.

While the application of a peeling gel available on the open market is relatively easy even for untrained people, the method with the small injuries, however, should not be used by private persons under any circumstances. In any case, treatment by an experienced dermatologist is recommended here. Our Practice Team will be happy to provide you with comprehensive advice.

Other mechanical procedures: Dermabrasion and microdermabrasion

Other mechanical methods for controlled abrasion of the skin include dermabrasion and microdermabrasion. Both procedures should only be performed by trained hands. If you suffer from severe cornification, age spots and similar conditions, dermabrasion and microdermabrasion are good ways to get rid of them.

What is the difference between dermabrasion and microdermabrasion?

Microdermabrasion treats the top layers of skin with sand-like aluminum oxide or quartz. The crystals are blown onto the skin using a nozzle. They are then sucked back in under vacuum together with the removed skin cells.

Cornification, wrinkles, stretch marks and photodamage can be treated well with the help of microdermabrasion. In general, skin regeneration and microcirculation are stimulated. The procedure can be applied several times in a row – preferably at one-month intervals.

In contrast, dermabrasion has a deeper effect. It evens out scars and removes tattoos. For the desired treatment success, stronger abrasives must be used, as the epidermis is removed completely and the dermis partially.

The advantage of this procedure is the good control and the immediate visible result. Recently, simple mechanical devices for manual microdermabrasion have also become available.

Laser peels are becoming more and more popular

Patients who are not comfortable with peeling procedures using acid or mechanical abrasion of the skin have an alternative: laser peeling. The use of a laser is known from a wide variety of medical applications.

The state-of-the-art devices are tested for safety. Of course, they are only operated by experienced, trained experts in our practice. Laser peeling is now a very popular peeling option. It can be used in a dermatology practice instead of deep chemical procedures with the same treatment success.

How does the laser method work?

A CO2 laser is used for the laser method. The moisture in the upper layers of the skin evaporates so that the skin layers can be removed. An Erbium Yag laser, on the other hand, works with infrared radiation and has more of a peeling effect.

Unlike the CO2 laser, there is no heat effect here, which many patients find very pleasant. This modern procedure makes it possible to remove very specific areas of skin that are considered bothersome. The underlying skin layers remain unharmed.

The effects of laser peeling

After the treatment, the skin looks significantly refined. Wrinkles are greatly minimized. The tissue becomes firmer because the collagen fibers in the skin contract. In addition, the formation of new collagen is stimulated. Overall, there is a refinement of the skin’s appearance and a reduction in wrinkles.

In most cases, a single treatment is completely sufficient. If the first treatment does not bring satisfactory results, laser peeling can be repeated without any problems. Another great advantage is that the skin does not bleed.

What should be observed after a laser peel?

After the treatment, pigment disorders may occur on the skin – especially if sunlight or UV radiation hits the treated skin areas. Therefore, you should avoid direct sunlight for several weeks after laser treatment.

From this point of view, the therapy is particularly suitable for the autumn and winter months. Our advice: Please use suntan lotion or sunscreen with a sufficient sun protection factor. Of course, this is especially true in spring and summer. Our practice team will be happy to provide you with precise instructions in this regard.

Which method is suitable for you?

Are you interested in a peeling treatment? Then arrange a non-binding consultation appointment right away. We will be happy to discuss the subject of peeling with you in detail. We will advise you whether the procedure is well suited for your skin and your skin problems.

Learn the pros and cons of the various methods from our experts. Only when you feel fully informed, decide together with your skin doctor which of the therapy options is suitable for you.

If you have further questions about peel treatment or would like to check its tolerability, contact your dermatologist in Zurich. Dr. med. Fuchs and partners will be happy to advise you on the various skin rejuvenation therapies.