Improve the Appearance of Sun Damage with Post-Summer Peels

As we say hello to fall, it’s a prime time to address the signs of damage accrued throughout the summer months. Despite the efforts of even diligent sunscreen-wearers, environmental assaults and UV radiation can cause the complexion to become visibly dry and uneven. Post-summer peels not only help repair this damage, but they also prevent accumulated damage that may necessitate additional therapeutic treatment in the fall and winter months.

Chemical peels are designed to literally peel away the top layers of the epidermis—and with deeper peels, the dermis—by dissolving the bonds that hold our cells together, thus further expediting the exfoliation process. Post-summer peels are an excellent way to maintain the quality of a patient’s skin, as they exfoliate texture irregularities, reduce unwanted pigmentation and sunspots, evacuate clogged pores, and strip the skin of excess oil production.

When a patient’s risk of sun damage decreases after the summer and tissue is closer to its natural tone, we can adjust the depth of a peel via increased percentages of active ingredients, or by “stacking” one to two additional passes of these ingredients during the application process.

In addition, patients naturally avoid the sun and are often more compliant with post-treatment care during the fall and winter months, making these seasons an optimal time for chemical treatments. However, because chemical peels have the potential to unveil new, healthy skin, it is essential to protect freshly treated skin by using a broad spectrum sunscreen year-round, even when sun exposure is minimized.

It is equally important to treat the skin during the cooler months when its exfoliation process slows. When natural exfoliation decreases, so does the exposure of moisture-binding molecules within the dermis that regulate the skin’s moistness. This can give the skin a dull, dry appearance and cause symptoms such as dehydration and itchiness. Year-round, chemical peels provide a simple solution by exfoliating and further stimulating the skin’s natural expulsion of dead cells.

Various factors including the patient’s skin type, tissue sensitivities, peel ingredients, potential peel penetration, and external influences over the healing process play a role when selecting the appropriate peel to effectively target various skin conditions.

Most aesthetic practices offer mild to moderate peels formulated with ingredients that enhance the skin’s clarity, color and tone. Peel ingredients may include trichloroacetic acid, resorcinol, Jessner’s solution, or a blend of alpha and beta hydroxy acids, including glycolic, lactic, mandelic and salicylic acid.

SkinMedica® offers three highly effective peels with various degrees of penetration that are well tolerated on most skin types. Vitalize Peel® is a salicylic and lactic acid-based peel that is a favorite amongst our patients, as it addresses mild to moderate imperfections found in hyperpigmentation and melasma, and delivers beautiful results. Most exfoliation with SkinMedica® peels occurs over a two- to five-day period, leaving the skin immediately soft and vibrant; tissue response and aesthetic outcome may be further improved with a series of peels.

Most moderate-depth peels provide a host of benefits: improvement in surface irregularities such as unwanted sunspots and dark pigmentation, reduction in the appearance of fine lines, softening of skin texture, a decrease in clogged pores and acneic outbreaks, and a temporary restoration of radiance.

As the seasons change, our skin adjusts and adapts. We often focus on how to improve the appearance of damaged tissue, yet prevention is also a crucial factor in achieving healthy, radiant skin. Little steps add up: Consistent treatment regimens that incorporate growth factors, antioxidants, sun protection and skin brighteners, along with in-office chemical peels and laser modalities, are key to patient success.