As the world becomes more and more in love with the growing popular treatment, chemical peels, we have to stop and realize that it isn't suitable to fade all pigmentation issues. Depending upon the chemical components these peels can actually cause more damage while the skin still has the potential of healing itself naturally.
However, let's start with the basics, inconsistent pigmentation on the skin is usually the result of PIH - Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation. PIH is the cause of darkened cells in an area where there was a temporary lesion to the skin. These lesions are usually due to trauma that caused the skin to create a protective crust preventing further trauma or damage but unfortunately left a visible mark.
Such as cuts, scratches, pimples, or rashes, these can leave a nasty dark shadow after its healed, but through proper care we can have better, clear and more resilient skin in its passing.
How to prevent it
There's no real way to prevent your body from getting lesions, but you can help your body repair itself much faster. Through consistent therapeutic care, your body will have the ability to repair and heal itself better than it did before without the use of chemical products to reduce or remove the PIH. Research has proven that regular use of saunas, whether dry, steam or infrared, helps the body to remove significant amounts of toxins that impair the cells from growing healthily and luminous, thus preventing the production of dry, brittle and fragile skin.
Using a sauna up to three times a week for a minimum of 10 minutes will greatly impact the reproductive and waste management systems, specifically the excretory system. This system is responsible for removing toxins and maintaining the body’s vital nutrients in order to produce new cells while sustaining healthy working cells.
How to treat it after
A beneficial and under valued therapy is bath soaking, having more fluid in the skin is as though your body is breathing more oxygen. More water in the body aids in repairing and maintaining healthy skin, allowing it to feel more flexible and playable versus feeling tight and itchy due to dehydration.
When bath water is infused with dead sea salt, magnesium and calcium is released from the salt, which will have a higher transdermal delivery to the skin versus traditional oral absorption of these minerals because of the open dilation of the pores. By indirectly passing the body's digestive system and directly depositing into the epidermal layers, these powerhouse chemical compounds help to reduce inflammation, lower pH levels and help the body retain water.
Another important therapy that should be incorporated is moisturizing the skin, whether daily or a few days per week, this helps to improve the skin’s vitality and resilience against scarring.
Our body has a natural protective barrier, but due to many environmental and internal factors, these barriers can be impaired and no longer work optimally. The ingestion of sugars and starches or the use of harsh chemicals from our detergents and soaps, they start to break down the skin barrier and no longer protect us from harsh climates or typical aging factors.
Applying a light to medium coverage of product onto your skin will help create a physical barrier that aids in protecting against brittleness and dryness, while underneath this barrier, the skin will feel soothed and continue to rebuild healthy cells.
How to treat in extreme cases
If years have passed and there is still a presence of the darkened skin, there is a possibility of lightening the area using natural modalities before going to chemical peels. With consistent use of physical exfoliators like body scrubs, sponges, brushes and conditioning oils - your body will naturally continue to reproduce new skin cells and the darkened area will lighten over time.
This option works if you’re patient and continue to practice self-care rituals on a daily/weekly basis, this will provide a natural shedding across the entire body, giving your body a beautiful glow that is consistent throughout.
However, as we know many of us seek faster results, so chemical peels will be your avenue of choice. As a Medical Skin Care Specialist and Educator for more than a decade, there are many pro’s and con’s I mention to my patients in order for them to be aware of when using chemical peels on the body.
When being treated using the right type of chemical peel, the area can fade within 2-3 treatments and if properly treated in and out of the medical clinic, you will most likely not see the dark pigment return. The commonly used chemicals are Retinols, Arbutins, Glycolic Acids and Salicylic Acids. They are used to expedite the cell regeneration process, thus the pigmented area will look pixelated and patchy within a few days to weeks depending on the strength and combination used.
If these treatments are not being performed by an experienced Medical Aesthetician, burning, scarring, adverse side effects, halo nevus, and extreme dryness may happen. Not to mention, home care products are highly recommended to upkeep the treatments performance and protect it from sun damage.
Lastly, due to the treatment’s force of reproducing cells at a faster rate than normal, if not properly treated at home with a skincare ritual, the area surrounding area can become darker creating a halo, become more dehydrated from the chemicals used and unfortunately spread if there is an allergic reaction.
Chemical peels provide amazing results when used on isolated areas, especially on the face. However, when PIH is present due to back acne, contact dermatitis on the hands, or eczema on the legs, elbows or feet, chemical peels will create more irritation and burning, thus not being recommended.
I encourage you to consult a physician, doctor or medical aesthetician to properly guide you if you're thinking of using chemical peels for PIH.
We invite you to send us an email or comment below if you have questions or concerns about your skin and would like some guidance regarding your skin care concerns.
Your beauty starts with self-care.