Peels V's Exfoliation what's the difference?

Updated: Sep 6, 2019



Do you keep reading the word peel everywhere?

You may have even seen me posting, blogging and even vlogging all about the latest professional skin peel.

When you hear the word 'peel' you could think of the red raw shedding skin from images shown at the starting age of when peels were introduced to us. You could well understand the term 'chemical peel ' that is better associated with this image. ( AKA Samantha).

Some how though feel more confusion is starting to happen with the term peel being thrown about. It is on many labels for our home exfoliators, in the treatment rooms and even peel off masks.

So lets clear this up!

Exfoliation and peels will remove the dead skin cells that sit on the surface of the skin. Both help to slough off the dead skin cells to show the fresh smoother skin beneath. Doing this to the skin will encourage the skins natural metabolism , keeping the skin acting youthful. It has a huge host of benefits;

#removesdullskin

#skin appears brighter

#smoother skin

#lightenpigmentation

#improve breakouts

#healpostbreakoutpigmentation

#softenscarring

#refinepores

#softenlines

#softenwrinkles

#antiageing

Exfoliation tends to be used as the term to refer to a physical grain or abrasive that rubs at the skin surfaces. Peel is the term for a chemical that is applied to the skin to dissolve the skin cells and the matrix of the ' glue' like substance that holds the skin cells together.

The term peel can be applied to any chemical that does this at any level of strength in the skin. Homecare products can also then be named a peel. Masks that contain these chemicals can be 'exfoliating' or 'peel' masks. If you have a mask that sets and is to be physically peeled away from the skin, this can also grab onto loosened blackheads and even fine facial hair. The confusion can come because either term can be used for products with a grain or chemical action. Lets now look at the type of chemicals that can used.

Chemicals commonly used are alpha hydroxy acids ( AHA's) or beta hydroxy acids (BHA's) .Both acids can penetrate the layers of the skin at different depths depending upon the molecular size, formulation and strength used. Each one has a different action on the skin.

AHA's are derived from the natural substances and are water soluble. Glycolic acid ( from sugar cane) , lactic acid ( from milk), Malic acid ( from apples), Citric acid ( citrus fruits), tartaric acid (from grapes). BHA's are oil loving therefore better suited for selection in un clogging pores and normalising oil production, it is anti inflammatory and antibacterial. Salicylic acid is the top BHA used in skin care it is a natural compound found in plants.

But get this ...not all peels are created equal. Its labelled term does not provide knowledge of its strength or quality. When the term peel is used in the professional skin center or medical practitioner these will be at higher strengthens and applied only by these licensed skin professionals. The benefit of these professional peels will be to work at a deeper level in the skin to target skin complaints. The professional salon level of peel is limited differently to the professional dermatologist. Regulations enforce the percentage level of acids available to each profession. The professional peels are categorized into depths.

These are the targeted area treatable by the professional skin therapist:


Very Superficial- Treats the stratum corneum. Resurfacing texture, refreshing dull completion, fine lines and congestion.


Superficial- This exfoliation level can treat the epidermis to the stratum Germinativum layer of the dermis. They can treat superficial pigmentation, fine lines, scarring, improve the skins healing and texture. Suitable for anti ageing targeting prevention and

Performed by medical practitioners.


Medium- Treating down to the papillary dermis. To treat superficial scars, wrinkles and hyper pigmentation.


Deep peels- Removes the papillary level down to the reticular dermis. targeting severe pigmentation, scars and wrinkles.

The strongest levels of peels, will work significantly deeper in the skin. This is usually recommended for extreme cases of un even pigmentation or scarring.


In the beginning many peel systems that were introduced to the professional skin salons meant there was a lot of reservation for reactions and confidence in treating a wide range of client complaints with the same acid. This also meant that different skin types and concerns had no real control over the effects, results and peel sensation. With demand for better results and advances the expert laboratory team at Dermaloigca took their time and stuck to their ethos of maintaining skin health with their own formulation of peels. Bringing further power to seek the Dermalogica expert skin centers. The Pro power peel now launching through the dedicated professionals is an exciting opportunity for the skin therapists. I have been patch testing every client I see. What is making this system special is that the acids have been placed into individual formulations that we can customize and tailor layer upon each individual concern and importantly skin tolerance level. Understanding what each acid does in the skin means that the training is in depth . The Pro power peel is a progressive system to maximize results over time. Keeping the skin health in tact and the focal point. Maintenance can be easily established to benefit fully from the sessions. Clients can have a boosting maintenance session a few times a year for a super anti ageing no major concern client. Or those seeking softer lines, lighter pigmentation, reduced scarring and flawless skin can work through a treatment series before commencing maintenance on a more frequent recommendation. With each client individuality you can see the importance of the therapist being able to fully customize the service.


With all peels a protocol needs to be strict and stuck to. Patch testing must be performed at least 24 hours before treatment commences. Pre and post treatment advice has to be in place to help prep the skins tolerance and enhance the peels procedure, plus healing and recovery time need to be assisted to maximize and maintain the results. All this will be checked and put in place with your professional. Clients are also advised on what to expect their skin to look and feel like during and after the treatment.

My Dermalogica professional products, the salon trolley and skin care services have always offered a stronger level of exfoliation than the retail products. Technologies and product advances that have been introduced have enhanced the professional products function. Results like never before are being seen instantly and on a daily basis. Experience and knowledge plays a huge role within the therapists treatment room. Sourcing your nearest expert is a start alongside talking to actual people you know for recommendations. Finding your therapist can take some time but once you do you will be so pleased with the results and will find your loyalty pays long term.


Professional skin services are recommended monthly to synchronize with the skins renewal process, allowing it to keep active.

In regards to ageing concerns the skins metabolism slows down, deepening lines appear, pigmentation becomes visable, lengthend healing time and a dull appearance can show. Regular maintenance skintreaent sessions will stimulate fresh healthier skin. Seeing the same therapist regularly will ensure changes and preference are noted down. Unlike a medical practitioner the on going visits to a skin therapist plays a vital role in getting your skin care needs addressed, maintained and on going progress established.

So if you are thinking about having professional skin services ensure you visit a few times before you advance into stronger procedures. If you are considering the Pro power peel then also read the what to expect after the service. This is vital knowledge that can be experienced very differently by each individual. More or less of a skin sensation or instant visible symptoms does not relate to the effectivity of the treatment:

Post treatment Skin may feel tight, warm, sensitized. Post care instructions are given that need to be adhered to.

Day 1 Skin may appear flushed, feel warm, feel tightened.

Day 2 Skin may feel tight, look darker, start to flake or peel.

Day 3 Skin may peel .

Skin may experience sensitivity, tightness, dehydration and warmth. Skin may also feel amazingly taught, lines appear softer. Three days minimum skin needs to stick to the home care products provided.Keeping in contact with a skin diary is also very helpful. Once skin has redness and flaking subside the regular Dermalogica skin home care routine can continue. (No Samantha's in sight ). Course clients can have sessions depending upon individual results 2-4 weekly apart.

Looking forward to peeling you soon.

x L x



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