What is a chemical peel?

For anyone that doesn’t yet know the exceptional rejuvenation benefits of natural acid based peels, the idea of having a chemical peel can seem a bit daunting. The words ‘chemical’, ‘acid’ and ‘peel’ can sound pretty extreme. For some it might bring to mind that infamous episode of Sex and the City when Samantha had a peel and was red raw!

The truth is, chemical peels are simply deeply exfoliating facials. When done in a clinical environment by highly qualified skin specialists chemical peels are very well controlled, prepared for and tailored for each client, ensuring positive results.

What causes the concern?

Our skin is made up of five layers. The bottom layer of the skin is made up of hydrated, plump skin cells that look a bit like a grape. As the body makes new cells, the previous layer of new cells is pushed up towards the surface of the skin. As they migrate through the layers, they dry out and eventually become dead skin cells, that sit like a crisp on the surface of the skin.

When we are young and our skin is functioning healthy, this migration from new skin cell to dead skin cell takes 28 days. New skin cells are made regularly and subsequently the dead ones shed off naturally. As a result, we have plump, luminous skin that repairs itself quickly. As we age, this process can take up to 60 days. As the body doesn’t make new skin as regularly, the rule of metabolism says the body therefore won’t shed dead skin cells as often. These dead skin cells build up and can cause congestion, dull skin and increase the appearance of lines and wrinkles. Due to slow production of new cells, the body is also much slower at repairing imperfections and so spots and suntans are more likely to leave scars and marks leading to an uneven complexion.

What happens in the skin?

There are a number of natural acids that deeply exfoliate the skin. Mechanical exfoliation treatments, such as Microdermabrasion scrape off dead skin. Chemical exfoliation treatments dissolve the glue like bonds that keep excessive dead skin cells attached. By taking away the very surface layer of dead skin, the skin is refreshed and brightened instantly. The days following your treatment, your body will recognise that that surface layer is missing and very quickly make new skin cells to replace them.

When the treatment is done regularly, the body is forced into making new skin regularly and therefore behaves like a younger skin, repairing and correcting imbalances and imperfections. This leads to amazing correction of acne, pigmentation and ageing, but is also hugely beneficial for generalised skin health and improved complexion.

So whether you have specific skin concerns that you would like correcting, or want to see general brightening and prevent ageing, a chemical peel is definitely right for you.


Having a chemical peel isn’t like having a spa facial. With our signature peel you can start the treatment straight away but with our stronger peels you will need to prepare (prep) your skin, which involves using a glycolic or salicylic cleanser for a minimum of 2 weeks before your peel. The lights are up high so your clinician can watch your skin closely. You don’t need to remove any clothing and there’s no whale music. Your therapist or aesthetician will do a thorough consultation with you, and ensure that your skin is in a stable condition to be able to receive a peel. You will then lay on the treatment bed and your hair will be pulled off your face with a headband or towel. Your clothes will be covered with a towel and your treatment will begin.

First your make up will be removed, then your skin will be cleansed. The peel will be applied evenly and thoroughly all over your face and will be massaged in. The peel can feel warm, tingly and slightly uncomfortable. Your clinician will ask you regularly for your sensation level out of ten, 1 being no sensation and 10 being maximum sensation. Most clients reach a 6 but don’t progress further than that. The peel is then removed and your skin is cooled thoroughly until you are at a level 1. Then moisturisers and SPF are applied and the treatment is over. All of this takes about 20 minutes.

The day of your peel your skin could well feel just like normal. It might feel tight and warm and might look a bit red but if it does that will go down overnight. Over the following two days, your skin may dry out and even create a film of dry skin. As the body replenishes those skin cells, that dry skin will peel away. It looks similar to the peeling you get if you get sunburn. It can come away in very small flakes or small sheets of skin. It is really important you don’t peel or pull this skin off as you might pull healthy skin away with it and cause marks or scaring. Within a few days, all this dead skin will have come away revealing brighter, clearer skin.

There are many different natural acids that treat different areas of the skin, for example Salicylic acid targets access oil in the skin whilst Glycolic acid targets excess dead skin. There are also a number of hydrators and rebuilding ingredients in some peels such as Stem Cells and Anti-oxidants.

There are certain medications and medical conditions that can make the skin too sensitive for chemical peel treatments, so ensure you are totally honest with your clinician in your consultation. There are milder exfoliation treatments available, so you won’t miss out on benefits with a differing treatment program.

All image skin care specialists at Purple valentine aesthetics have all of these at their fingertips and after thorough consultation and an in depth skin analysis will tailor make a blend of acids and hydrators to target you exact areas of concern.

To book in for a skin consultation call 01708 922 205

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