One of the most common procedures that we do for people who want their skin to look better fast are chemical peels. They can improve the appearance of fine lines, dial back sun damage, and even help with acne. A peel works because it causes premature shedding of the outer layer of your skin, exposing the new skin below. That new skin is tighter, smoother, and a little less wrinkled, which is why a peel perks up your skin in a relatively short time.

There are a host of different kinds of peels with varying strengths. For the best results, it’s important that you get the right kind of peel for you. Among them:

Alpha Hydroxy Acid Peels. Also know as AHA peels, these mild peels are great for sensitive skin and first time peels. They come in different strengths, so you can start with a low concentration of AHA and over time graduate to a stronger peel as your skin gets accustomed to the process.

Under the heading of AHA peels are glycolic peels, which are made from sugar cane; lactic acid peels, made from milk; malic acid peels, made from apples; and tartaric acid peels, made from grapes. The different ingredients accommodate those people who tolerate some peels better than others.

Beta Hydroxy Acid Peels or BHA’s are also mild and especially good for people with acne. Beta Hydroxy peels are often mixed with Alpha Hydroxy peels for better results.

Expect a little skin tightness and a little bit of flaking after an Alpha and Beta Hydroxy peel. Due to their mildness, AHA’s and BHA’s have been dubbed lunchtime peels, because there is no down time. They’re sweet and simple; you can go back to work after one of these peels feeling refreshed and looking just a little bit better.

Jessner and Modified Jessner Solutions If you want a step up from an AHA or BHA peel, a Jessner might be just the thing. Jessner peels are really effective for sun damaged skin. They can also soften wrinkles and even out hyper pigmentation. Depending on your skin, you should expect some flakiness and a little peeling after a Jessner.

TCA or Trichloraecetic Acid Peels These are considered medium depth peels, and are stronger than a Jessner. TCA’s are applied in layers with four or five minutes in between each application. The depth of the peel depends on the number of layers applied and the strength of the solution used.

After any of the above peels, your skin may feel tight the day after. A day or two later, you may have mild flakiness or downright peeling (similar to peeling after a mild sunburn), depending on the kind solution that was applied.

After your skin has peeled, the new skin will be more sensitive to the sun and wind. It’s important to keep your newly peeled skin out of the sun and wear sunscreen every day. The good news, is your skin will be less wrinkled, even, and rejuvenated after your peel—and isn’t that what it’s all about?