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Are chemical peels dangerous?

While they are an increasingly popular skin treatment, there's still a lot of confusion about chemical peels. Are they dangerous? Do they damage skin? Are they suitable for everyone? What exactly do they do? Janna Ronert, founder of Image Skincare, explains: "A daily skincare regimen can be compared to brushing your teeth every day; a professional skin peel is like having your teeth cleaned by a dentist."

Peels can help with lines and wrinkles as well as pigmentation. "Peelings are purposed to remove the thick layer of dead skin cells that prevent deeper layers of skin from receiving essential nutrients and vitamins," says Ronert. "The outermost layer has to be thinned to gain access to living tissue."

While they seem a relatively new phenomenon, peels have actually been around for centuries; remember the story of Cleopatra bathing in milk? The lactic acid in the sour milk was helping to promote smooth skin.

But after years of aggressive and often damaging formulations, peels have a bit of a reputation for being harsh and even harmful to skin, physician-applied 'phenol peels' in particular.

Ronert explains: "They were applied in conjunction with sedation or anaesthesia, because the peeling was so powerful and most of the time very painful. Nowadays, these peelings are obsolete and newer, more advanced and safer techniques have been established. For example, all peelings offered by Image Skincare are safe and feel pleasant on the skin. They're applied without any type of anaesthesia and downtime is reduced to a minimum."

Today, there are lots of different peeling solutions available. Ronert explains what's involved: "Usually, after prepping the skin, the peeling agent is left on the face for two to 15 minutes, depending on the skin concern. The peeling solution needs to be removed thoroughly and followed by applications of protective ingredients to promote the healing and rejuvenation process."

A good skincare professional should choose the peel that suits your skin type. "Teen skin can be more sensitive or problematic," Ronert explains, "requiring milder peeling agents and is addressed with blends of anti-inflammatory and anti-acneic properties.

"Mature skin concerns generally centre around visible signs of ageing, such as fine lines, wrinkles or dry/environmentally-stressed skin, and are treated more aggressively."

Image Skincare at www.renaissanceproducts.com. Tel: 01 832 1412