With so much emphasis on beauty in social media, we are always on the lookout for new methods to improve our facial skin and bring back the glow our ancestors were proud of. Although the age-old besan and Multani Mitti belong in our pet vanities, skin care has advanced with new and improved techniques and formulas.
One such innovation is chemical peels which celebrities and social media personalities swear by. However, we all dread the word ‘chemical’. From what is common knowledge, after applying even natural chemicals such as those present in lime, lemon, orange juice etc, we are advised to stay away from the sun for fear of skin darkening. Then what about chemical peels? Will chemical peels on face darken the skin? Let’s find out.
But first, What is a Chemical peel?
A chemical peel is a technique in which a chemical solution is applied to the face, neck or hands to improve the appearance of the skin. A chemical peel helps to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, lighten sun spots, age spots, freckles and acne marks, removes discolouration, and smoothes skin overall.
There are three basic types of chemical peels:
Light Peel (penetrates only the outer layer of the skin),
Medium Peel (penetrates the outer and middle layer of the skin) and
Deep Peel (deeply penetrates the middle layer of the skin and there is a huge difference in the before after of this procedure)
What are the potential side effects of a chemical peel? Will it darken my skin?
Depending on the type of chemical peel – light, medium, deep; the treated skin will display varying degrees of red, itchy and irritated skin.
In case of a light chemical peel, the treated skin will remain red, itchy and mildly irritated for about four to seven days. The treated area might also feel tight and itchy.
In case of a medium chemical peel, the treated skin will appear swollen, red, itchy, irritated and tight for several days after the procedure. In most cases, after a week, the swelling decreases and a crust begin to form. This crust is hard and appears dark which will keep shredding in the following days. The darkness of the skin is only temporary as new skin begins to form once this crusty skin begins to shred.
Finally, in case of a deep chemical peel, treated skin shows severe redness and other symptoms mentioned above last for much longer periods of time. Eyelids might also be swollen (which eventually subsides)
The darkness of the skin which appears in all three levels of a chemical peel treatment is actually the redness which is caused by the treatment. Once the redness subsides, the skin begins to form a crust and shred. The crust is darker in colour than the patient’s natural skin colour. New skin takes about 2 weeks to form and this new skin might in some cases lose the ability to tan.
Another reason why some patients complain of skin darkening after a chemical peel is that the spots become darker after a treatment. What is actually happening is that the spots are being treated and they mature quickly leading to rapid darkening of the spots. Once the healing process is midway, the spots will start becoming lighter and eventually vanish depending on the type of chemical peel done.
Darkening of skin is normal for the first 24-36 hours of the chemical peel treatment. It is imperative that the skin will become dry and tighter which gives the appearance of a darker skin tone.
Thus, when patients complain of darkened skin after a chemical peel, it is only temporary (in most cases). The darkening is caused due to the healing process, the treatment of spots and the formation of crusty skin.
Nonetheless, it is always advised, that before going in for any kind of chemical peel or treatment, you must clearly address all your worries to the doctor and/or consultant.
Have you ever gotten a chemical peel? What was your experience?
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