Happy Friday peeps!! We’re going deeper into the world of peels! This is part deux of my series on chemical peels and we’re focusing on Medium peels today 😎
I originally wrote most of this post (and the next few actually…) as a handy guide for myself and potential clients; I was going to start doing mobile acid peels in NYC but I never got it off the ground 🙍🏽♀️ Most of the information is knowledge I’ve acquired in my many hous of study + research via my courses, seminar literature, and technical books (aka my textbook from school 😂). Also, this will be more technical, but I’ll break stuff down the best way I can though!
I’ll try and add some helpful links throughout the article + a Read More section at the end so you can do some additional research on your own if you like! Or (as always) #googleisyourfriend 😏 I promise to break shit up with my usual gifs and crass language though 😉
So onwards to medium peels! Huzzah!!!
Medium peels are any acid solution (usually 30% upwards to 80% concentrations) that peel off several layers of skin at a time compared to 1-2 like a superficial peel would. So, the main difference between a medium peel and a superficial peel is that it removes several layers of skin versus just the top few; thus turning over your skin faster than a superficial peel.
Any of the acids used in superficial peels may be used at either a higher concentration (50-80%) or a super low pH (3 or less) as a medium -deep strength peel. Actually, all acid peels are pH level dependent. That’s important to know… we’ll discuss that at length in another post though 😏
There are two other acid solutions also used for medium-deep peels (besides our old friends AHAs/BHA). Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) is the acid most commonly used for a medium-deep peel. A TCA peel is definitely stronger than a superficial peel, but not as intense as a deep peel. Jessner’s Peel is another solution that provides a medium-deep peel. It’s a cocktail of different acids in equal parts: resorcinol, salicylic acid, and lactic acid, to be exact. For a deeper peel (but still not quite a Deep peel…) a couple layers of Jessner’s may be applied as a primer before a TCA peel. Why? Welp, the Jessner’s helps increase the penetration of TCA and can ensure a more even peel.
Unlike superficial peels, medium peels are usually offered as a one-of treatment, usually administered by an esthetician/cosmetologist, or even a medical doctor. If you have severe hyper-pigmentation or other deep seated issues, one treatment might not be enough, so more than one treatment would probably be best, depending on your issue. Usually 2-3 medium peels maximum (appropriately spaced out) can be performed safely within a calendar year.
Medium peels are formulated to treat most of the same concerns as superficial peels and also the following:
- Stubborn blemishes
- Fine surface wrinkles
- Visible sun damage
- acne scarring (superficial and atrophic scars)
- Actinic keratoses
- The appearance of large pores
- Loosen and reduce acne breakouts
- Moderate to severe melasma
So what can you expect from a medium peel? There will be some burning or discomfort depending on your sensitivity/pain threshold level. The plus side is it will usually only be on your skin for a few minutes, after which your practitioner will apply a neutralizing solution and wash/wipe the neutralized peel off your face. A soothing mask or treatment can also be applied afterwards to soothe your tender skin.
This level of peeling is where you’ll actually see sheets and bits of dead skin peeling off. It might take up to a few days before the skin on your face starts to peel though.
Sooo… what about the recovery time, you ask?? The recovery time is significantly longer than that of a superficial peel. It can be 1-3 weeks, depending on the strength of said acid and how many layers were applied. That’s all I’ll say about that for the moment…I’ll be doing an aftercare guide for peels after I wrap up with Deep peels next week, so stay tuned!
As for expected results…after the initial healing time required, you will see an immediate difference in your skin! That’s the upside to medium peels; they may have a longer recovery time compared to superficial peels, but once you heal, you’ll definitely notice more dramatic results!! Pain is beauty and beauty is pain and all that shit 😂
⚠ This level of peel is for experienced users ONLY ⚠
I’ll stress (again) that you shouldn’t try chemical peels at home, especially medium and deep peels. But if you must….stick to higher levels of AHAs/BHA… AND DO YOUR RESEARCH!!!!!
So when should you consider a medium peel? I recommend moving up to this level of peel once your skin has adjusted to using a superficial peel (after about 6 months or 2 sessions) and only if you’re really willing to do the research before purchase and use!!! You can really fuck up your face…Very serious burns and hyper-pigmentation can happen with this level of peel, even when done by professionals. There can also be some serious side effects you might want to consider too.
As a side note, I personally do not recommend TCA peels (or deep peels) for darker skinned people. There’s too much risk of hyper-pigmentation for darker people with that solution, and even some of the “milder” AHAs at higher concentrations (especially glycolic acid) shouldn’t be used beyond 50% to prevent unwanted results for my darker peeps. It’s better to do a series of superficial peels at a lower %/pH IMHO… Don’t rush perfection is all I’m saying.
So that’s it for this week’s Acid 101 post!! Be sure to lookout for the next part in my Chemical Peel series: Deep Peels!!
Have a great weekend!!