What’s The Secret Behind Chemical Peels?

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chemical-peels thumbnail and blog Skin is the largest organ on the human body. It also happens to be the most exposed, and that means it takes a beating day in and day out. Every time we step outside, we expose our skin to harmful ultraviolent rays, changes in climmate, pollutants and other elements that do damage. All of this can result in hyperpigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles, uneven texture and skin impurities that make us look older. Luckily, we have natural repair processes in our skins, and chemical peels give us the ability to use those processes to our advantages.

Here’s what you need to know. We are constantly shedding our skin. In fact, we shed our entire skin about once a month, and as fast as we shed those cells, our body makes new ones to replace them. Often when we develop imperfections such as sunspots or scars, they only affect the top few layers of skin. So removing those layers of skin would help remove or improve those imperfections. That’s where a chemical peel can help. It literally removes layers of skin so that newer, healthier skin cells can surface. Bottom line: the purpose of a chemical peel is to erase imperfections and improve skin tone and texture by removing outer layers of damaged skin. Read on to learn what’s involved in different types of chemical peels and which might be best for you.

There are three basic types of peels:

  • Alpha Hydroxy Acid Peels– alpha hydroxy acid, also known as AHAs, are one of the most popular ingredients in a mild chemical peel. Glycolic acid is the most common AHA used for this purpose. These peel are typically used to reduce the appearance of fine lines, smooth rough skin and produced a more even skin tone. Because this is a mild chemical peel, a series of treatment may be required to achieve desire results and certain formulations, like our SkinLab Weekly Peel Pads can be used as an at home treatment.chemical-life-cycle.psd_1-e1418425811605-1024x878
  • Beta Hydroxy Acid Peels– the most common beta hydroxy acid used in chemical peel is salicylic acid. This substance is also frequently used in acne products, which is why salicylic chemical peels are often used to treat acne-prone skin. Salicylic Acid is more active on reduction of oil, so it is a very common, and effective peel for acne. These peels are typically repeated periodically to maintain softer, smoother skin.
  • Jessner’s Peels– A Jessner’s peel is actually a combination of ingredients mixed into a single formula. It is considered a light-medium chemical peel that is slightly stronger than both the alpha and beta hydroxy formulas. Complete recovery from Jessner’s peels about a week, and like other light peels, a series of treatments spaced a month apart is optimal.

More aggressive peels to target severely damaged skin:

  • TCA peels- Trichloroacetic acid is the most common ingredients found in medium depth chemical peels layered with other agents. This substance can successfully treat a host of skin imperfections, including sun damage, fine lines and wrinkles, and acne scarring. The procedure offers effective results with minimum risk. TCA chemical peels usually take about a week to recover from, and the results are much more dramatic than lighter peels can offer.
  • Phenol Peels- Peel effectsPhenol is the substance of choice for deep chemical peels that provide the greatest and most dramatic results. In addition to treating skin imperfections, this type of chemical peel may be used to remove precancerous growths or completely diminish deep wrinkles. Phenol peels can take up to a month to recover from completely, but the results are impressively smoother skin that will last much longer than treated with other types of peels.

The right type of chemical peel for you will depend on the skin imperfection you are treating and the results you are hoping for. At the Derm Institute Dr. Annie Chiu expertly customizes these ingredients and layers different peels with retinols, peptides and vitamin c to produce the depth of peel uniquely formulated for you and your skin concerns.

Specialized peels can also be used on the eyelid and around the mouth area. Winter is a great time for a deeper resurfacing peel! Come see us soon and schedule your peel today.



…Shared by TDI Team




10 Skin Tips for this Fall

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1. Consider a peel

Erase summer sun damage and skin stress by giving your face a fresh start this fall.

cream2. Change to a heavier night cream

Get ready for drier weather with a slightly heavier night cream this fall, like SkinMedica’s Dermal Repair Cream or Murad’s Hydro-Dymanic Moisturizer available in our skin boutique.

3. Invest in a Serum with Anti-aging Properties

Invest in an all purpose antiaging serum to nourish your skin.  Dr. Chiu’s absolute favorite?  SkinMedica’s TNS Essential Serum!

pumpkin4. Keep your skin and body healthy with a medley of Fall Vegetables

Fall vegetables like squash and pumpkin are filled with antioxidants that can boost your skin health and reduce sun damage.

5. Use Hydrating Soap or Shower Gel to keep your skin hydrated

Using an oil-based cleanser to help lock in moisture for your skin.  We like Avene’s XeraCalm Lipid Replenishing Cleansing Oil  

6. Consider In-Office Treatments Best done in the Fall

Treatments like IPL, Sclerotherapy, and Chemical Peels can be optimized in the Fall and Winter, schedule now so you won’t regret it when the weather warms up again!

7. Keep those Hands Moisturized

Turn back aging hands with a hand treatment like Revision’s Lumiquin.  Our patients love it, check out the before and after!a

8. Get some Sleep!

Take advantage of the shorter daylight hours by establishing a good sleep routine and getting to bed on time!  Your skin will thank you for this extra time to repair and regenerate.

9. Add an exfoliating Eye Cream

Improve texture, puffiness, and crepeiness with SkinLab’s iGloss eye cream.

10. Consider a Vitamin B 12 shot

Boost your metabolism and immune system to fight off winter colds and fatigue with a series of B 12 shots.

. . . Shared by the TDI team

The Lifecycle of a Chemical Peel

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Chemical peels are a great way to promote not only exfoliation of the skin but minimization of pores and  long-term collagen boosting effects as well.

Typically on the day of the peel and the say after, the skin looks glowing, refreshed and tightened. On Day 3 and 4 the skin starts flaking, and how much flaking is dependent on the strength of the peel selected by your physician. By Day 6 pores are exfoliated and the skin starts looking refreshed, lines are softened, and pigment is more even. But the longterm effects of collagen boosting last long after the peeling is completed.  When planning a peel, keep these dates in mind. For example if you work during the week, the best days for a peel are Wednesdays and Thursdays if you want the “flaky” days to fall on a weekend.

Most light to moderate peels are best done in a series spaced about 4-6 weeks apart. The results can amplify with regular repetition!  Schedule your peel today!


Boost Your Skin A•PEEL!

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What is more a•peel•ing then looking like a more luminous you?

Medical Grade Peels Manhattan BeachGet ready to slough off the summer photodamage with a Physician Grade Chemical Peel  and welcome fall with refreshed, even-toned, glowing, and tighter appearing skin.  Daily assaults on our skin including ultraviolet rays and environmental pollutants degrade molecular structures in the skin resulting in sunspots, wrinkles, blemishes, and other imperfections.  Chemical peels exfoliate the top layer of skin cells that can dull the skin, penetrate the dermis to increase collagen synthesis, shrink oil glands, and makes the skin more receptive to your current skincare regimen.  Although most popular for the face, peels can actually be applied to any part of the body.  In fact, they are AMAZING right before a vacation or spray tan, and can help improve dry, bumpy skin on the arms and legs.


Chemical Peels Manhattan BeachWe find most people are nervous about chemical peels, thanks to unforgettable images of Samantha in the infamous episode of Sex in the City.  But at The Derm Institute, Physician-Grade Peels can be customized by Dr. Chiu from light, no downtime, to deeper, more aggressive peels, all depending on your goals. The word “chemical” in Chemical peels is really a misnomer, as most peel solutions are derived from combinations of fruit acids, milk acids, Vitamin A and Vitamin C.  These ingredients essentially loosen the “glue” between the dead cells on the top layers of the skin, promoting improved skin renewal.  The natural cycle of skin renewal slows as we age. Babies shed superficial skin cells every 14 days, teenagers every 21-28 days, middle aged adults every 28-42 days, and after age 50, it takes an average of 50 days for skin rejuvenation.

Get knowledgeable on the Peel Process and some common ingredients of Physician-Grade Peels:


Gentle peels such as our Red Carpet Peel give an immediate result of glowing, dewy skin, often popular amongst our patients for a night out, photoshoots, or even the day before weddings.  This peel smooths and tightens the skin, allowing makeup to go on flawlessly immediately after.  For those who are looking to treat fine lines, discolorations, or unevenness in the skin, deeper peels that have downtimes ranging from a couple days of dry flaky skin, to a week of peeling can be applied.  Typically, the first one to two days post peel reveals tighter, glowing skin.  On days 3, 4, and 5, there can be mild to moderate flaking and dryness of the skin.  By day 7, fresh new, soft and radiant skin is revealed.

Chemical Peels Redondo Beach
TCA PEEL: Day 1, Day 4, Day 7

Alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) peels are light to moderate peels most commonly based on glycolic or lactic acids. Although very popular, higher percentage glycolic peels need to be used with caution as it can cause inflammation, especially in darker skin types.  AHA peels are utilized to minimize fine lines, and to improve tone and texture.

Beta hydroxy acid (BHA) peels are also mild to moderate peels most commonly consisting of Salicylic acid.  Salicylic acid works well to penetrate oil glands and declog pores, making it a popular ingredient for peels that treat acne.

Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) peels are considered moderate grade peels.  They work beautifully to correct fine lines, pigmentation, decrease pore size, and boost collagen production.

Carbolic Acid or Phenol peels are considered the deepest form of chemical peels.  They promote collagen growth by penetrating the deeper layers of the dermis, and the results can rival CO2 ablative laser resurfacing.  These are used for deeper, etched wrinkles, especially those around the eyes or mouth area.

Medical Grade Peels Redondo BeachMost Physician Grade Peels offered at The Derm Institute are customized and blended for each individual client.  Different acids may be layered to achieve the desired depth of peel, and often ingredients such as retinol, Vitamin C, or other botanical extracts are used to boost the radiance of our peels.  Lighter peels are more effective in a series, while deeper peels can be beneficial about once or twice a year.  Weekly Glow Pads are fabulous to maintain the improvements of your newly refreshed skin.    We also offer complimentary hydration masks after deeper peels to promote the sloughing of dull skin.

So come explore the beauty of “aPeeling” skin, our own staff here at TDI are addicted to them!  Oh-and don’t forget to always use a SPF 30 or greater to maintain your refreshed and gorgeous skin.  My personal fav:  Colorescience’s Sunforgettable SPF 50 Brush, available at our skin boutique . . .


. . . Shared by Dr. Chiu and The Derm Institute Team


*Special thanks to Gabbie Wei for research contributing to this article.  Youtube video of her peel experience coming soon . . .