Peel Away Aging Skin with a Chemical Peel

by | Jul 8, 2021 | Articles, Conditions, Skin care

Chemical peels are a simple and effective method of removing many of the signs of aging or damaged skin while stimulating the natural process of rebuilding new and youthful collagen.  If you would like to brighten and refresh your skin’s health and appearance consider a chemical peel.

What is a chemical peel?

Peels work by removing a superficial layer of skin.  Superficial or “light” peels only remove the outermost dead layer of skin called the stratum corneum.  Moderate to deep peels progress further into the epidermis, having more effect but also increasing the risk of uneven pigmentation or scarring.

Most doctors now use laser technology to treat deeper layers of skin, but light to moderate peels are still widely used as they are so effective and offer some benefits over lasers.  The result is a fresh complexion while stimulating new cell growth leading to healthier and more youthful skin.

The Elain Brennan Peel System

We are the exclusive providers in our area for the Elaine Brennan peel system.  Even experienced aestheticians are required to attend an intensive 2 day training program and undergo the peel themselves in order to qualify as providers.  The treatment produces a superior peeling that is safe and very effective, and is suitable for skins of all ages, types and color.  It can be applied to selected areas of the body as well as the face, neck and eyelids.

This peel is a deep, reliable exfoliation of the skin with no destruction of the living layers. It helps the rapid removal of several of the top dead cells layer. Only part of the dead, scaly surface skin cells are exfoliated in a thin crusty layer. Other treatments may remove entire dead cell layers and go beyond into the living cell layers which can be affected and destroyed.  This peel treatment in fact restores the skin, stimulating regrowth and the basal cells.  Many skin layers are rejuvenated and thickened by the reaction triggered off by this peel.

The Elaine Brennan skin renewal peel will simply peel away problematic skin.  It is mostly resorcinol and salicylic acid.  It will erase fine lines and wrinkles, actinic keratoses (rough, scaly patches), shrinks enlarged pores, build collagen and elastin to tighten the skin, is good for post acne scarring, brightens dull skin and will even your skin tones and texture.  It is good for all skin types.

The peel is wonderful for rosacea, hyperpigmentation including melasma, sun damage, acne, psoriasis, eczema, dryness and oiliness, and can even be used around the eyes for crepiness.  More important than the actual peeling process is the formation of collagen in the dermis which takes 2-3 months to form.  It is best to do a series of two peels 6-8 weeks apart for maximal results and after that once a year.  It is very safe as the penetration depth is not up to the clinician and this peel has been in worldwide use for over 40 years.

Get glowing micro-peel

We also carry the Elaine Brennan get glowing micro-peel.  This peel is also a resorcinol peel with salicylic acid  and kojic acid.  This peel does a mild peeling that will lightly exfoliate the skin leaving it refreshed and soft.  It will reduce the appearance of acne scars, fine lines and wrinkles and environmental damage to the skin.  For maximal results it is recommended to do a series of 6 peels.

The Tizo peel

The Tizo peel is a 10% retinol peel that has mandelic and lactic acids.  The Tizo peel addresses uneven skin tones and texture.  The strong points of the Tizo is that it only takes 30 minutes and it gives really nice results.  Plus it’s really good for super oily skin and post inflammatory hyperpigmentation.

Common peel ingredients

The type of chemical used determines how deep into the upper layers of skin the peel will penetrate.

Enzyme peels are gentle and remove superficial dead skin cells and stimulate skin.

Alpha hydroxy acids are derived naturally from foods, including glycolic acid derived from sugar cane, lactic acid from milk, malic acid from apples, tartaric acid from grapes, and mandelic acid from almonds.  These are naturally soluble only in water which helps limit them to the very surface of the skin and also requires washing them off or neutralizing them after application.

These peels treat mild hyperpigmentation such as age spots and melasma, enlarged pores, fine lines and surface wrinkles and uneven skin tone.  They have antiseptic properties and good for acne.  Overall they rejuvenate the skin and are best for anti-aging or dry skin types, used at night and make one quite sun sensitive.

Beta hydroxy acids are also derived from food sources, the most common including salicylic acid, from willow bark.  These are fat-soluble which allows them to penetrate into deeper skin layers.  not water-soluble.  They don’t need to be washed off or neutralized.

These peels are good for acne, going deep into the pores to dry up excess sebum. They are also good for rosacea, treating sun damage and calming redness or general inflammation.    Overall better for oily skin types, used day or night, and are not as prone to cause sun sensitivity.

Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) is from acetic acid, or vinegar, and is another type of acid peeling solution that can penetrate even deeper into the skin to target pigmentation or scarring.

Kojic Acid is derived from fungi or fermentation of rice.  It penetrates deep into the dermis of skin turning off the production of melanin, thus lightening the skin, reducing melasma, age spots and freckles.

Resorcinol is one of five FDA-approved over-the-counter acne medications, the others being benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, sulfur, and adapalene (0.1%).   Resorcinol exfoliates the skin by breaking apart dead skin cells, allowing them to flake off the skin’s surface.

This exfoliation then stimulates new skin cell production to replace these dead skin cells, keeping the skin turning over and helping to prevent clogged pores and acne.  Resorcinol is available as an over-the-counter (OTC) treatment at concentrations less than 2%. It is also used in professionally-administered chemical peels in concentrations up to 50%.

Retinoids made from vitamin A.  Rather than removing dead skin cells directly as other peels do the small molecules that make up retinoids go deep beneath the epidermis to your dermis.  Once in this middle layer of skin they helps neutralize free radicals to boost the production of elastin and collagen.  This creates a “plumping” effect that reduces the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and enlarged pores.  At the same time, retinoids retinoids an exfoliating effect on the skin’s surface that can further improve texture and tone.

Many brand-name creams containing the retinoids retinol and retinaldehyde can be obtained over the counter at pharmacies and supermarkets.  The more potent topical retinoids available by prescription are Tretinoinm Isotretinoin, Adapalene, Alitretinoin.  For lots more information on the amazing anti-aging effects of retinoids check out The Beauty of Retinoids article.

Final thoughts on peels

Mixed peels may combine alpha and beta hydroxy acids to get the best of both treatments.  Combining gentle peels, such as malic acid, with microdermabrasion is a great way to brighten and smooth the appearance of skin.

How do I decide which peel is right for me?  During your initial consultation your skin care professional will evaluate your skin condition and recommend the appropriate peel regimen based on your needs and goals.


Scott Rollins, MD, is Board Certified with the American Board of Family Practice and the American Board of Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine.  He specializes in Bioidentical Hormone Replacement for men and women, thyroid and adrenal disorders, fibromyalgia, weight loss and other complex medical conditions.  He is founder and medical director of the Integrative Medicine Center of Western Colorado ( and Bellezza Laser Aesthetics (  Call 245-6911 for an appointment or more information.

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