Chemical peels | skin rejuvenation or risk?

Chemical peels dissolve the glue between cells and shed dead skin. This is followed by the regrowth of new skin, resulting in a younger-looking, fresher, rejuvenated appearance. But with any kind of magic elixir that dramatically reverses skin ageing, there are risks involved.

Faces have been treated with chemical peels to resurface the skin since the 18 th century. Today, this popular, non-invasive cosmetic procedure is not nearly as aggressive as in days gone by and can improve the appearance of acne and scarring, reduce age spots and fade freckles and other superficial hyperpigmentation. In fact, with peels varying in depth and severity, you can choose how deep you want the acid to work on your skin. However, all chemical peels come with risks. If you are risk adverse, you’ll be happy to learn that a daily-use skincare product with a milder concentration of AHAs can provide the same benefits as a superficial peel with a higher concentration, without running the risk of irritating side effects.

How chemical peels work

Chemical peels remove the outer layers of the skin to improve skin texture, uneven skin tone and the effects of ageing. Regardless whether you want to improve acne, shrink wrinkles, or reduce facial blemishes and photo ageing, a chemical peel will likely to leave you with a pleasing result. Although rare, complications can occur from any chemical peel, regardless if it is deep or shallow. However, results and complications are generally related to the depth of the skin concern and the peel. While deeper peels provide more noticeable results, they also have a higher rate of complications. Side effects from any chemical peel may include itching, redness, skin inflammation, increased skin sensitivity, dermatitis, and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.

Deep peels

The strongest and deepest chemical solution is Phenol. Used to treat patients with more severe concerns, such as deep wrinkles, sun damaged skin, or pre-cancerous growths, recovery time from this treatment can be slow - with complete healing taking up to several months.

Medium peels

Trichloracetic acid (TCA) is used in medium depth chemical peels and is a common ingredient in wart-kill products. TCA peels reduces surface wrinkles, superficial blemishes and pigmentation. Advantages of these peels are that the concentration can be reduced or increased to suit your needs. Although recovery is quick, if you have one of these peels you will be advised to stay clear of the sun for a few months – so you may want to plan ahead to avoid ruining your summer holiday!

Superficial peels

The mildest of the chemical peel formulas are alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs). These light chemical peels treat fine wrinkles, areas of dryness, uneven skin color and acne. Superficial peels are easy to perform and generally safe if used properly. Most will leave your face red and tender for a few days to a week, however recovery time is usually fairly quick.


AHAs glycolic, lactic, salicylic, and malic acid, are beneficial to the skin and the hero ingredients in superficial chemical peels. Skin clinics offer single-AHA peels as well as peels with a combination of AHAs. So before agreeing to a treatment, find out from the skin therapist the best peel suited to your skin type and concerns.
Glycolic acid
Glycolic acid is derived from sugar cane and has the smallest molecules of all the AHAs, which allows it to penetrate the skin more easily and deeply. Stand-alone glycolic acid products dissolve the glue between cells, slough away dead skin, and increase the production of collagen and elastin. A daily-use skincare product with a milder concentration of glycolic acid can provide the same benefits as a peel with a higher concentration, without the risk of irritating side effects, such as Fountain Skin Exfoliant.
Lactic acid
Produced naturally in our bodies during intense exercise, lactic acid is also derived from milk. It removes daily grime and makeup as well as healing the top layers of the skin, promoting cellular renewal in deeper layers, and stimulating the skin’s production of hyaluronic acid. Lactic acid is also antibacterial so can be used to treat acne. Skincare products with milder concentrations of lactic acid can be used every day as a gentle exfoliant and moisturising agent, such as Fountain Face Scrub.
Salicylic acid
Salicylic acid, also known as beta hydroxyl acid, has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties and is derived from willow bark. Used in many combination chemical peels, salicylic acid dissolves dead skin cells, treats acne, reduces skin thickening, and refines pores - thus allowing for greater delivery of other AHAs into the skin. Daily use skincare products with milder concentrations of salicylic acid include the Fountain Halo White day cream, night cream and serum.
Malic acid
Found naturally in apples, malic acid exfoliates the skin to remove dead skin cells, diminish fine lines, tighten pores and reduce hyperpigmentation. Malic acid generally improves the skin’s texture and appearance, resulting in a softer, smoother complexion. Daily use skincare products with milder concentrations of malic acid include Fountain Day Defense.

Try Fountain daily use skincare with rejuvenating AHAs

Fountain Skin Exfoliant
Hero ingredients: Glycolic acid, lactic acid Benefits
  • Removes dead skin cells and dry spots
  • Helps smooth wrinkles
  • Fades hyperpigmentation and sun damage
  • Improves skin tone and texture
Fountain Face Scrub
Hero ingredients: Lactic acid, malic acid Benefits
  • Repairs and nourishes dehydrated and damaged skin
  • Improves appearance of facial scarring
  • Diminishes the look of fine lines
  • Tightens and firms surface skin
Fountain Day Defense SPF15
Hero ingredients: Lactic acid, malic acid Benefits
  • Prevents the appearance of premature aging and skin disorders caused by pollution
  • Protects skin from damage caused by sun exposure, pollution and environmental agressors
  • Contains moisturising and anti-inflammatory properties
  • Reduces transdermal water loss
Fountain Halo White Collection (day, night, serum)
Hero ingredients: Glycolic acid, lactic acid, salicylic acid, malic acid Benefits
  • Lightens and brightens skin
  • Reduces pigmentation and evens skin tone
  • Defends against dryness
  • Reduces trans epidermal water loss
  • Removes old skin cells to encourage skin regeneration