One of the most popular skin care treatments today is the micro peel. They are offered on cruise ships, in spas and in some dermatology offices but what exactly is a micro peel? In short, a micro peel is a superficial (meaning it does not go deep into the skin) chemical peel that is designed to smooth and soften rough and patchy skin. It will also brighten your complexion, reduce the size of your pores and reduce the signs of uneven skin pigmentation. The best part, there is no recovery time.

A micro peel generally lasts for about 30 minutes. This should not be confused with a micro laser peel which is much more invasive and requires a recovery time of approximately 48 to 72 hours. Both treatments have the same goal, however one works beyond the surface layer of the skin and often requires preparation, medication and some down time to allow the skin to heal after the procedure is completed.

Micro peels are the lightest and least invasive of all chemical peels. Because they work on the surface layers of the skin they are also (most often) a painless procedure. The micro peel procedure uses lactic acid and glycolic acid during the “peel process”.

What are the benefits of a micro peel?

A micro peel is a great way to supplement your typical skin care routine and expedite the results that you would eventually see through skin care alone. A micro peel is more “potent” and contains higher concentrations of lactic acid and glycolic acid than would be found in the skin care products you are able to buy off the shelf. This gives them the ability to move your desired results along bit faster but without painful surgical or invasive peel procedures. A micro peel will help you see improvement in skin texture, color and overall skin appearance. It will also reduce the visible size of your pores. Some people also see a visible improvement in the appearance of small, superficial lines and wrinkles. A micro peel is not likely to show significant results when it comes to the appearance of deeper lines and wrinkles as these often protrude below the outer surface of the skin where the micro peel is not beneficial.

It is also valuable to note that a micro peel is not a chemical peel. While they both use acids and both target fine lines, wrinkles and acne they are different processes. The biggest difference is in how the dead cells are removed from the skin. A chemical peel relies on chemical exfoliation where as the a micro peel uses physical exfoliation (dermaplaning). There are other differences as well, but this is the most notable.

How does the procedure work?

The first step if a micro peel is called dermaplaning. This process is painless and is used to remove the dead skin cells from the surface of your face. The easiest way to describe dermaplaning is to think of the process of shaving. A tool is used to “shave” the skin cells of the face clearing the way for the application of the solution that contains skin care acids. Next, an alpha-hydroxy acid solution containing lactic and glycolic acids is applied to the skin. The acid concentration of this solution is generally between twenty and fifty percent; much higher than the concentrations found in store bought creams, serums and cleansers. The concentration of the solution depends on your skin type and your skin care needs. This solution is brushed on to the skin and kept in place for approximately ten minutes. During the treatment process you may experience a few mild symptoms. These can include stinging and itching. For some, depending on the sensitivity level of your skin, you may also feel a slight burning sensation however this should only last for a few seconds.  Once the solution has been absorbed by the skin stimulants such as dry ice are applied followed by a moisturizing cream.

Unlike some other types of skin care treatments, there is no down time with a micro peel. As soon as your treatment is complete you are able to resume your daily activities. The extent of visible exfoliation will depend on a variety of factors including the starting condition of your skin, the type of AHA used and the concentration of AHA used. Once the peel is complete, your skin will continue to rejuvenate for up to six weeks. Micro peels are safe to do on a regular basis as they do not penetrate beyond the surface levels of the skin. Having a regular micro peel on a monthly basis can create consistent turnover of dead cells which will help your skin to appear brighter, healthier and fresher.

What are the disadvantages?

Micro peels have become a very popular treatment in recent years. They are simple, safe and affordable which makes them a very common “go-to” treatment for people looking to improve the appearance of their skin without having to undergo a painful procedure that requires a lot of healing and down time. While the benefits of a micro peel are significant it is important to keep your expectations realistic. A micro peel will not improve the appearance of deep, dynamic or skin fold wrinkles.  Due to how the AHA solution is applied; the solution is not designed to penetrate deeply into the skin and therefore cannot reach the source of these particular wrinkles. Unfortunately, a more invasive procedure is often required to reduce the appearance of deep lines and wrinkles. Another negative or disadvantage that comes with the micro peel procedure pertains to those who have sensitive skin. While under normal circumstances there aren’t any discernable negatives to the micro peel procedure if you are a person who has sensitive or easily irritated skin, a micro peel may cause redness for a day or two after the procedure. If this happens to occur, ask your skin care professional to use a solution with a lower concentration of acid for future treatments. You may find this reduces the occurrence of redness.

It is indeed possible to purchase “peel” kits for home use although there is indeed risk associated with these. When applying acids to your skin at the levels necessary to properly perform a micro peel you are applying significantly more acid that is normally found in standard store-bought creams and serums. The amount of acid found in the products used for a chemical peel can cause skin damage and burns if not used properly. If you are considering a chemical or micro peel it is suggested that you consult a skin care professional who can guide you to the right products and process. A skin care professional is also experienced with many different types of skin and understand show the different acids in the peel solution could both positively and negatively impact your skin.

At Solar Laser Center, we offer different micro peel services directed towards your specific skin needs. If you are experiencing acne, visible pores, or rough texture a micro peel may be appropriate for you. If you have sensitive skin for which a standard micro peel may be too harsh for your skin, we offer a micro peel specifically designed for sensitive skin as well. If you have been considering a micro peel or similar cosmetic treatment but have been hesitant to try it, give us a call or stop by for a consultation. One of our expert skin care technicians would be happy to explain how the process works and help you determine if a micro peel procedure would be right for you.