What are chemical peels?
A chemical peel, also called chemexfoliation or derm peeling, is one of the least invasive ways to improve the appearance of your skin. Although chemical peels are used mostly on the face, they can also be used to improve the skin on your neck and back. Chemical peels produce controlled injury to the skin which promotes growth of new skin.
What are chemical peels used for?
A chemical peel is a treatment technique used to improve and smooth the texture of the facial skin using a chemical solution that causes the dead skin to slough or peel off. The regenerated skin is usually smoother and less wrinkled than the old skin. Thus the term chemical peel is derived. Chemical peels are used for the treatment of photoaging (from sun damage), wrinkles, scarring, acne and discoloration (including melasma, freckles, and age spots).
How are chemical peels performed?
At the time of treatment, the skin is thoroughly cleansed with an agent that removes excess oils, and the eyes and hair are protected. One or more chemical solutions – such as glycolic acid, salicylic acid, or lactic acid; trichloroacetic acid (TCA); or carbolic acid (phenol) – are used. These produce a controlled wound, enabling new, refreshed skin to appear. Most patients experience a warm to somewhat hot sensation which lasts about five to ten minutes.What will my skin feel like after a chemical peel?
Depending upon the type of peel, a reaction similar to sun burn occurs following a chemical peel. Superficial peeling usually involves redness, followed by scaling that ends within three to seven days. Medium-depth and deep peeling may result in swelling and the presence of water blisters that may break, crust, turn brown, and peel off over a period of seven to 14 days It is important to avoid overexposure to the sun after a chemical peel since the new skin is fragile and more susceptible to complications. The state of your skin after a peel depends on what kind of peel you had. The superficial peels have limited effects, the medium peels may cause some redness.
How many peels will I need?
Receiving a series of chemical exfoliation treatments will yield the best results. Our medical estheticians will guide you through a skin care program that consists of treatments and skin care products that are suitable for your specific needs. The superficial peels are usually done several times over the course of several months. The deeper peels usually only need to be performed once to achieve the desired effect.
How long do the results last?
With good sun protection, results can last months or years, depending on the depth of the peel. Generally, the deeper peels have a more long lasting effect.
What are the risks of chemical peels?
In general, the deeper the peel, the greater the risk of side effects and complications. Chemical peels can result in:
- Redness (erythema) Expect some redness of the skin after a chemical peel. With deeper peels or with certain skin types, redness can be severe. It may fade within a few weeks, or it may last several months.
- Color changes (darker OR lighter) of the skin.
- Swelling (edema), especially around the eyes
- Allergic reaction to the chemical
- Infection. People who have a history of herpes outbreaks are especially prone to infection after a chemical peel.
- Increased sensitivity to sunlight
How long after a chemical peel before I can return to normal activities?
You may be more sensitive to sun exposure. Take extra precautions by using sunscreen with SPF 20 or higher. We recommend limiting sun exposure for at least one week after your peel. Avoid strenuous exercise for 2-3 days. The perspiration caused may irritate the skin. Do not scrub your face when washing, gently cleanse. Avoid “helping the skin to peel”. You can control the peeling with a light moisturizer. Do not have any other facial treatment for at least one week after treatment.