Our skin is made up of layers of soft tissues that keep it firm and elastic. As we age, skin tissues become less elastic and less capable of retaining moisture to keep it supple to the touch. Collagen and elastin, particularly, which are skin fibers found in the dermis (second layer of the skin), slowly become loose as we get older, and thus contributing to the development of wrinkles.
Wrinkles are fine lines and creases that commonly show up initially on exposed areas of the skin like the face, neck, and hands. While the natural ageing process and heredity are the common causes of wrinkles, other factors hasten their premature development. These factors include frequent and prolonged sun exposure, smoking, poor diet, and lack of physical activity. Women, perhaps due to less muscle composition of their bodies, tend to develop wrinkles much earlier than men do.
Sun exposure, especially without sun block or sunscreen, causes collagen and elastin fibers of the skin to breakdown. Thus, lessening the skin’s ability to lock in moisture, stay hydrated, and bounce back from wrinkling.
Tobacco smoke contains numerous toxins that clog the epidermis (the outer layer of the skin). The heat from smoke also contributes to damage of skin cells. Smoking, moreover, results to less effective blood circulation which means that there is less stimulation and less oxygen available to the skin.
A poor diet results to less nourishment available for skin cell repair and growth. Coupled with lack of physical activity, these cause dry skin and sag. Physical activity improves* blood circulation, helping ensure that the skin receives ample amount of oxygen and nutrients for cell renewal and to keep it elastic as well.
While wrinkles are common and usually not a cause for concern, people who develop these especially when prematurely, become bothered by their presence and by how they appear. Today, more than ever, there are several treatment options available to help minimize the appearance of wrinkles. Some of which include topical applications, surgery, laser skin resurfacing treatments, and chemical peeling.
What is Chemical Peeling and How Does it Work?
Chemical peeling is particularly effective in resurfacing wrinkle-damaged skin when the fine lines and creases are relatively still new and the damage happened recently.
Chemical peeling is a dermatological procedure that makes use of chemicals to wound the skin by intentionally burning either the epidermis only or including the deeper layers of the skin. This process “burns” the old, damaged skin so that newer, younger skin can grow and replace it. This action reduces* the depth of fine lines and appearance of deeper creases. However, because of the damage caused to the skin by chemical peeling, and the time it takes for new skin to grow, skin treated by chemical peeling usually takes several months to heal and thus, longer time for desired results to be visible.
There are many types of chemical peels available which vary according to the depth of skin affected by the chemical, and the base ingredient used for the chemical peel. Chemical peels can generally either affect the epidermis causing it to peel; or, the epidermis and the deeper layers of the skin, causing a second-degree burn to develop. Different types of chemicals are available for this process, and their use vary according to the depth of treatment desired. Chemical peels are also available over-the-counter although, there are clear advantages to having the chemical peel supervised by your dermatologist, most especially when deeper chemical peeling is desired.
When undergoing chemical peeling, a course of treatment will be prescribed. A chemical solution will be required for continuous application usually lasting anywhere between one day to 14 days. Deep chemical peeling may involve application of local anaesthesia and, rarely, of general anaesthesia which are known to cause both short- and long-term side effects to the body. Swelling and redness will become noticeable as treatment is continued, and may persist beyond the chemical application period until new skin starts to develop. Itching and scarring may also be noticed.
With proper application and control of chemical peeling, positive, desired results are often immediate and noticeable. Creases and lines visibly disappear or improve*, and the color of the new skin blends well with unpeeled skin around the treated area. However, people with darker complexions must take more caution in applying or getting a chemical peel because they are at increased risk of skin discoloration as a result of this treatment.
If your wrinkles are quite mild or if you find that you are not bothered by them, there may be no need for you to get a chemical peel. Remember, chemical peel is a medical procedure that requires highly specialized service to control the skin burning and healing required. Skin is best treated with professional medical supervision.