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Peeling : when should I take the plunge ?

Peeling : when should I take the plunge ?

Peeling is a cosmetic procedure that involves applying chemical exfoliants to the skin to stimulate cell regeneration. Most of these chemicals dissolve keratin, the main protein found in the uppermost layer of the epidermis. Peeling removes dead skin cells, regenerates the skin, and boosts the production of collagen and elastin. It will help wipe out any irregularities, unify skin tone, brighten the complexion, smooth the skin and improve suppleness.

How do you know that your skin needs a peel?

1. If your pores are visibly dilated, if your skin is dull and sallow, or if you have any acne scars that just won't go away, it's time to think about having a peel. Superficial peeling only affects the upper layer of the epidermis. Only approved dermatologists or plastic surgeons who specialize in superficial chemical peels should administer this treatment.

Often done using glycolic acid, a cane sugar derivative, it's a quick procedure that can be done even during your lunch break. It leaves the skin looking slightly red, but you can apply make-up immediately afterwards. To deal with acne or slight scarring, peels containing salicylic acid are the preferred choice. For pigmentation problems, the active ingredient too look out for is kojic acid.

The result - Superficial peels encourage cell turnover and rid the skin of dead cells for an immediate, but temporary, fresh-faced glow.

2. When pigmentation marks are numerous or highly visible, when scars and wrinkles are deep, or when the skin lacks firmness, it's time for a medium depth peel. Performed by an approved dermatologist or plastic surgeon, medium depth peeling uses trichloroacetic acid (or TCA) to chemically burn away the epidermis and upper level of the dermis. By 'attacking' the skin, it stimulates cell regeneration and collagen production. The skin turns brown, flakes and scabs, and may remain like this for a week or so. However, fresh, new skin will be growing underneath.

The result? Medium depth peeling removes pigmentation spots, moderate scarring and wrinkles. This technique can also be used on the hands and cleavage.

Though peeling is a common procedure performed in many skincare clinics across the country, we recommend you to do your own research and speak to professionals and dermatologists before taking the plunge. Make sure the procedures are safe for your skin type and needs and only then try out a chemical peel!

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