The plain and simple answer is to rejuvenate the skin and reverse signs of aging on the face, neck, and hands. Chemical peels remain a gold standard non-surgical procedure for improving the appearance of skin by evening skin tone and pigmentation, reducing the appearance of lines or wrinkles, and tightening sagging areas of the face, leaving softer, brighter, and healthier looking skin after recovery. Chemical peels may also be an effective tool in the treatment of acne and remove precancerous tissue without ablation. Chemical peels use an acidic solution applied to the skin for a specific duration of time and then washed off. The type of chemicals used and the strength of the solution will depend on the condition of the skin and the desired results. Chemical peels can be classified as superficial, medium and deep. Superficial peels will only remove the top layer of the skin (epidermis). A medium peel removes skin layers from both the epidermis and the dermis. A deep peel will penetrate to the dermis.
What should I expect during a Chemical Peel?
Preparation before a chemical peel will vary depending on the type of chemical peel to be performed, superficial, medium, or deep. For a superficial and a medium peel generally, no preparation is needed. Deep peels do require several weeks of preparation with topical agents such as Retinal for up to eight weeks before a treatment. This prepares the skin by thinning out the surface to allow the solution to penetrate more deeply. A personalized preparatory regimen will be provided during your consultation. Just prior to peel an anesthetic and or sedative may be administered depending on the type of peel being performed. Superficial and medium peels, usually only a topical numbing agent may be required. For deep chemical peels, a combination of a local anesthetic and sedative may be administered.
Types of Chemical Peels
The superficial peel the least invasive kind of chemical peel, which remove the top layer, or epidermis of the skin. Final results are subtle and may take several treatments to realize, but recovery time is minimal. These types of peels are referred to as lunchtime peels. These are great for individuals who do not want much downtime and have little to no preparation. Superficial peels are usually achieved with a combination of acids like glycolic acid, lactic acid, and salicylic acid. These peels are effective on acne scars, light wrinkles, and uneven skin tone. Patients may repeat superficial peels on a weekly basis or until desired results are achieved. Results can then be maintained with monthly follow-ups. Superficial peels can also be used to condition the skin as a pre-treatment for fractional resurfacing laser treatments which optimizes the results of laser treatments.
CHEMICAL PEELS FAQs
If you suffer from any of the following skin conditions you may want to consider having a chemical peel:
• Light Peel: acne, fine wrinkles, dry or blotchy skin
• Medium Peel: scars (including acne scars), moderate wrinkles, blotchy skin
• Deep Peel: severe wrinkles, sun damaged, scarred, or blotchy skin, pre-cancerous growth.
Recovery time will depend on the type of chemical peel performed. Superficial peels have little to no recovery time. Usually any redness or flaking/peeling resolves within a few days. Medium peels may experience redness, peeling, flaking, and swelling may last a couple weeks. Residual discoloration (red or brown skin tone) may continue for up to six weeks. Deep chemical peels have the longest recovery time. For several days post procedure the treated area is covered with petroleum jelly or tape. Swelling and redness associated with treatment can last months, however results usually last years.
Risks and possible adverse side effects increases with the intensity of the chemical peel with lowest risk associated with superficial peels and greatest risk associated with deep peels. A chemical peel may cause permanent change in skin color (hyperpigmentation, exacerbated by exposure to sunlight), infection, long-term redness of skin, and scarring.
Absolute contraindications for treatment include pregnancy, women that are currently breast feeding (lactation is permissible with some peels), and active skin or soft tissue infections in the treatment areas. Relative contraindications include defined neuromuscular disorders including, but not limited to as Myasthenia Gravis, Eaton-Lambert Syndrome, and Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS.
Results vary as described above with the depth of the peels. Superficial peels may take more treatments to achieve desired results and will need regular follow ups to maintain results. Medium peel results will usually last months and may be repeated up to twice a year to maintain results. Deep peel results should last for several years. Optimal results will also be dependent on regular use of a comprehensive skin care regimen including the consistent use of daily sunscreen.