Peel Away that Hyperpigmentation!
No matter where you live, the weather can cause problems that exfoliating just can’t correct. The sun, wind and dry air combine to rob the skin of what you need while increasing what you don’t want. As time and the elements affect the skin, they can sometimes cause a problem called hyperpigmentation.
Liver spots, freckles, pregnancy masks, and dark spots from acne damage are all forms of hyperpigmentation. However it shows itself, hyperpigmentation of any name is the result of the same thing: a build up of melanin the pigment that creates color in your skin in the outer layer of skin called the epidermis. The melanin is supposed to be there in your epidermis, but occasionally, for various reasons, it concentrates in specific places in the skin. Then it goes to work, absorbing as much of the ultraviolet rays of the sun as it can. This is what creates a suntan, but when the melanin is too concentrated, those areas soak up too much sun, causing areas that are darker than the surrounding skin.
So, can my skin handle a peel? Because the epidermis is so thin barely the thickness of a guitar pick it’s possible to correct hyperpigmentation through the use of a chemical peel. Don’t panic, though. Even if the epidermis is only about .75 to 1.5 mm thick, it’s the top layer of three that actually make up the skin. This layer consists of the dead and dying skin cells that have been pushed up from the middle layer called the dermis.
The epidermis is made up of five mini-layers called stratums. As the dermis pushes the skin cells to the top through the layers of stratums, the cells become flattened and die. The top layer called the stratum corneum is made up entirely of dead, flat cells that shed every couple of weeks.
How does it work? A chemical peel pushes the process along a little, helping to shed the excess melanin that’s blossomed in the epidermis. On top of that, a chemical peel doesn’t affect the entire epidermis layer. Rather, it just skims off the stratum corneum, leaving the living cells at the top, which promotes more cell growth. This means that the chemical peel strips the dead cells away, leaving only plump, healthy cells behind. It’s those cells that provide the warm, fresh glow you want, anyway.
At its most basic level, a chemical peel is the application of a chemical to slough or burn off the topmost layers of the skin. While it may sound terrifying, the truth is that chemical peels rarely hurt, and certainly don’t damage your skin. They are, after all, just a deeper version of an exfoliation, something you do in the shower or bath when you use your washcloth. The difference is in the depth of exfoliation, the process, and the form of product used. Just like the coarseness of the washcloth decides how much exfoliation takes place in the shower, the type of chemicals determines just how many dead cells are stripped off.
What are my options? Known as a light, medium, or deep peel, each has its purpose. For mild discoloration, a light peel applied once every month or so may well alleviate the melanin over time, leaving behind a smooth, mono-color appearance. If you’re experiencing more profound darkening of the skin, a medium peel may be needed. Like the light peel, this procedure is still fairly painless, but because it burns away more of the epidermis, there may be a slight increase in discomfort during the procedure. A sedative may be given, though most patients don’t feel a need for it. It may require two or three sessions for the desired results, depending on the condition of your skin.
For those with severe discolorations or those not wanting to go back for multiple appointments, a deep peel may be warranted. In that case, a mild sedative will likely be given during the procedure along with a pain medication. Unlike the light or medium peel, the deep peel will likely continue to cause some discomfort for a day or so. Deep peels have been used to help treat the beginning stages of skin cancer, as well as to correct severe skin discolorations from birthmarks. It rarely takes more than one session to achieve the desired results.
Spending a day at the spa rejuvenates, rebuilds, and sometimes, resurfaces a body. It’s a time to take care of the ravages of the sun and wind on the skin. Your cosmetic surgeon is a wealth of information for you on spas and medical spas tha
Copyright (c) 2007 Barry Lycka