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The History of Chemical Skin Peels

Updated on December 2, 2013

Skin Peel History

Although not often thought of as an organ, your skin is the largest organ of your body. Made up of three primary layers, chemical skin peels essentially blister the upper layer in the targeted area. The skin loosens and eventually peels off, allowing a regenerated cleaner skin below to come through.

Some skin peels were created by ancient Egyptians; dermatologists on the other hand, have been using them in clinics for over 50 years. The techniques have evolved over the years as research and experience leads to new treatments and applications resulting in better outcomes for patients.

The Ancient Egyptian women cared a lot about the condition of their skin. By using sour milk, which contained lactic acid, they were able to rejuvenate their skin. The Ancient Romans also cared greatly for their skin and would exfoliate with grapes skins which contained tartaric acid. This shows how skin care has always been important, especially to women.

When dermatologists first started treating patients, they were using a combination of the techniques used from former generations such as the Egyptians, as well as new varieties of fruit acids. The results were good, but with so many limitations there was plenty of room to improve.

Glycolic acid is a derivative of sugar cane and went onto revolutionize the world of skin care in the 1990’s. Today you will see glycolic acid in many of your moisturisers and exfoliates. The concentration of acid is well below 10% in these because it is a very powerful acid in high concentrations. However, when dermatologists increase the concentration towards 50%, it becomes very suitable for chemical skin peels.

Modern medicine has advanced so much in the last twenty years and continues to do so. Chemical skin peels have benefited from this. After a single consultation, dermatologists are able to establish very accurately which kind of treatments is best for you. The variations they consider are your skin type and color, age, desired result and of course, the current condition of the skin that you want repaired. With all of this information, they can choose the grade of peel that is best suited for the job and the concentration of the acid required to do the job effectively. They are also able to use computer imaging to show you what the result can look like afterwards, which can be a huge boost in confidence if you are still unsure about chemicals being applied to your skin.

Chemical skin peels date back to the early days of civilization. The Ancient Egyptian woman got creative by applying sour milk for skin rejuvenation - would you do this? These creative strategies are no longer required, thanks to advances in technology which provide more viable solutions. The great benefit of these solutions is that they are performed for you as outpatient procedures, meaning no overnight stays in the hospital. It is hard to say what the future holds for chemical skin peels, but you can be sure that advances will evolve in time and more successful outcomes will result.

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