#BeautyClinic: Skin Peels Explained

The idea of a lunch-break peel isn’t new—it’s totally normal by US standards—but given that London has only just got up to speed with blow-dry bars and the like, ‘The Peel Boutique‘ seems rather revolutionary.

Designed by Dr. Rabia Malik, Holistic Aesthetic Doctor at Grace Belgravia Medical, the UK’s first ‘express peel bar’ offers 20 minute treatments with minimal downtime.

So far, so non-scary. Well, as the renowned derm divulged, chemical peels are even safe for sensitive skin types. Below she also explains the difference between deep and superficial peels, which acids to look for and how frequently you should do them. Over to the expert:

What is a chemical peel, exactly?

“A chemical peel is a treatment that uses a chemical solution to exfoliate the skin. Depending on the depth of the peel and formulation of the solution used, chemical peels can also stimulate the production of new skin cells.”

How do a superficial and deep peel differ?

“Superficial peels only act on the surface or outer layer of the skin, leading to exfoliation, while deep peels penetrate further into the skin and have a more stimulating effect as well as exfoliating.”

So, are they painful?

“This depends on the depth of peel and the type of peel formulation used. The lightest most superficial peels are not painful at all and may cause little or no tingling. Peels that penetrate more deeply can cause a stinging or burning sensation.”

Professional peel vs an at-home product?

“A professional peel is carried out by a practitioner who should be trained in the administration of the treatment and have an understanding of the peel being used, which allows them to choose the right type of peel and peel formulation for your skin type. Their knowledge and experience should ensure a safe and effective treatment. At home products can be good for skin maintenance but may not be as potent as professional treatments, and may result in side effects if not used correctly.”


Which acids should we look for?

“Choosing an effective acid really depends on the individual’s main skin concerns and their skin type. Lactic acid is one of the best in my opinion because it tends not to irritate or dry out skin, and is suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin, but there are other acids that are also effective, such as malic acid and mandelic acid.”

So, which acids should be avoided for sensitive skin?

“In my opinion, glycolic acid should be avoided for sensitive skin as our skin does not have receptors for glycolic acid and as such it has the potential to be more irritating.”

How long should we wait before applying make-up after a peel?

“For the best results, we would always recommend leaving your skin bare for around 12 hours after your treatment, or alternatively using mineral based make-up. However our new ‘Pre-Party Peel’ is designed specifically to create a healthy, ultra-fresh glow before a big event. It lightly exfoliates to brighten your complexion and there is no redness or no downtime, so your make-up can just glide straight on afterwards. In fact, the treatment creates the perfect skin canvas to work with.”

Is it safe to do a peel during pregnancy and breastfeeding?

“During pregnancy and breastfeeding, skin can become more sensitive due to hormonal changes, so I would recommend an enzyme based peel over an acid based peel for skin resurfacing and maintenance.”

How often should I do a chemical peel?

“This depends on the individual’s skin concerns, skin type, peel formulation and time of year. Superficial peels can be used weekly to monthly for skin maintenance while deeper peels should be done less often, and ideally not during the summer or periods of prolonged sun exposure.”

From: Harper’s BAZAAR UK