The pros and cons of chemical peels: Are they worth it?

Chemical peels are often deemed a good alternative to surgery when it comes to anti-ageing procedures, but as with any kind of facial treatment there are always risks. Here we explore the pros and cons of chemical peels to help you decide if it’s the right choice for you.

Pro: It can reduce wrinkles

Chemical peels tend to slightly tighten up the skin in order minimise wrinkles. They're a brilliant way to reduce fine lines around the mouth and crows feet near the eyes, without resorting to botox.
 

Con: It won't work on very severe wrinkles (that's a little confusing...)

Deep set wrinkles, such as significant lines on the forehead, are unlikely to be affected by a chemical peel since it is only designed to remove the top layer of skin and only has very minor skin firming effects. If you're expecting to look 10 years younger after a chemical peel, we'll have to be honest with you; you won't. Be realistic and don't waste money on a procedure that won't work for you.
 

Pro: It can reduce uneven skin pigmentation

By removing only the top layers of skin, a chemical peel can reduce the appearance of age spots, freckles and dark patches and reveal the brighter skin underneath.
 

Con: It can cause uneven skin pigmentation (now we're really confused...)

A chemical peel does exactly what it says on the tin; some pretty aggressive chemicals are used and sometimes they can do more damage to your skin than expected. They can temporarily or sometimes permanently remove skin pigmentation to leave lighter patches behind. People with lighter skin may not notice these effects as much as those with a darker skin tone, and some may not have any problems at all, but it is a common risk nevertheless.
 

Pro: It can make skin smoother and softer

By removing dead skin cells, a chemical peel can reveal new fresh skin that is smoother and softer than before. Skin can appear brighter and more youthful as a result, which is why chemical peels are so popular.
 

Con: It can make skin dry, itchy and sore (not sure what to think any more...)

Whilst the chemical peel is doing its thing, it's normal for skin to be dry and scaley as the top layer of skin peels away. This should only last three to seven days for a mild peel, but for people with sensitive skin it can last longer and even result in blisters, crusts and scarring that could be permanent. Not only will this look unsightly but it can make skin feel tight and sore; a far cry from the bright, youthful visage your were looking for.
 

Verdict

Chemical peels can be great... but only if they're right for your skin. The best thing you can do is talk to a doctor or a cosmetologist who specialises in the procedure, allow them to assess your skin and have them tell you if you're a suitable candidate. Weigh up the risks before you go ahead, and remember that it may not result in the quick fix you were hoping for.