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Chemical Peels: What You Need to Know

Purpose of Chemical Peels

Skin is the biggest 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 ultraviolet rays, changes in climate, pollutants and other elements that do damage. They can give us sunspots, wrinkles and other blemishes that make us look older. Luckily, we have a few biological processes working in our favor, and chemical peels give us the ability to use those processes to our advantage.

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 [source: Vogin]. Often when we develop imperfections such as sunspots or scars, they only affect the top few layers of skin. So logic would tell us that removing those layers of skin would help remove those imperfections.

That's where a chemical peel can help. It literally removes layers of skin so that newer, healthier skin cells can surface. In the process, blemishes and other imperfections are peeled away. Depending on the extent of the damage, one treatment might not completely eliminate imperfections, but it can make them much less obvious.

Bottom line: The purpose of a chemical peel is to erase imperfections and improve skin tone and texture by removing layers of damaged skin. Read on to learn what's involved in different types of chemical peels and which might be best for you.