The appearance of 57-year-old pop star Cyndi Lauper's raw, red skin in paparazzi photos racing around the net today is probably the result of a professional chemical peel.
Chemical peels, also known as skin peel or derma-peel, has been around for ages. Many women get the treatment to soften and improve blemishes, skin spots, scars, wrinkles and the hard lines that appear in their faces as they get older.
Chemical peels have also been applied to treat severe acne in teens and young adults. The process uses a strong acidic (and non-acidic) chemical to strip away the damaged layers of the skin.
Increasingly, African American women are applying chemical skin peels at home to improve Hyperpigmentation, the skin damage caused by the sun.
Many black women complain of facial skin that is several shades darker than their necks and chests. This is caused by years of early exposure to the sun's UV-rays which significantly darkens our skin. This darkening of the skin can also lead to skin cancer among black women.
Chemical peels improves hyperpigmentation in African American women by lifting the layers of dead skin to reveal soft, smooth, lighter skin underneath. Even after successful skin peel treatment, many black women must apply a high SPF lotion or cream to their skin for the rest of their lives to prevent the sun's UV-rays from damaging their skin again.
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The most popular chemical peels include Phenol, trichloroacetic acid (TCA) and alphahydroxy acids (AHAs).
AHAs such as Mandelic acid, Salicylic Acid and Lactic acid, etc., are gentle enough to use at home. These products are sold over the counter under various brand names.
The most aggressive of the mild AHAs is Glycolic acid which is available for home use in various strengths. Glycolic acid works by going under the skin's outer layer (epidermis) and destroying the glue that holds dead skin cells together. This results in layers of dead skin peeling away from your face hours after application. It can be a startling experience if you are a first time user of glycolic acid.
The strongest of the AHAs is TCA (TriChloroacetic Acid). TCA works by penetrating the outer layer of your skin and going deep into the upper dermis layer to produce significant improvement in skin conditions. Even though TCA is available over the counter, it is NOT advised that you apply TCA acid at home if you're a first time user.
For the first few days following a TCA skin peel treatment, you will look like someone splashed caustic acid in your face. Cyndi Lauper probably had a TCA skin peel.
Stores will sell you TCA and tell you that the results will be amazing, but TCA is considered a "medical grade" skin peel and should only be applied by a trained esthetician or licensed skin care professional.
Spas and salons charge anywhere from $200 - $2,000 for a single chemical peel treatment.
Any medical information published on this blog is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with your personal physician or a health care provider.
You should do extensive research before deciding to perform a chemical peel at home.
More Info On the Web
Home Chemical Peel - Makeup Artists Choice
Sun Tips for African American Women - More.com
Sun Damaged African American Skin - Skin Care Guide