Chemical peels can improve the skin’s appearance. In this treatment, a chemical solution is applied to the skin, which makes it “blister” and eventually peel off. The new skin is usually smoother and less wrinkled than the old skin.
Chemical peels are used for various skin concerns across all ages, and are often coupled with other skin-enhancing treatments for maximum benefits.
The process of a chemical peel is relatively simple.Most acid peels work by disrupting the bonds between dead skin cells. After the peel, thhe skin begins to naturally repair itself. The dead skin flakes away to reveal new, fresh skin.
Chemical peels can be done on the face, neck, or hands. They can be used to:
• Reduce fine lines under the eyes and around the mouth
• Treat wrinkles caused by sun damage and aging
• Improve the appearance of mild scars
• Treat certain types of acne
• Reduce age spots, freckles, and dark patches (melasma) due to pregnancy or taking birth control pills
• Improve the look and feel of skin
• Areas of sun damage may improve after chemical peeling.
It’s extremely important that the person administering these treatments is an experienced skin practitioner—if the peel isn’t left on long enough there will be no effect on the skin; if it’s left on for too long, it can cause damage to the living cells.
Chemical skin peels can range from superficial (often called micro-resurfacing) to medium or deep. Superficial peels are generally recommended in a series of at least six, while a deeper peel may be a one-time treatment. You may be able to return to your regular activities immediately after a light peel (with mild redness); deeper peels may require significant downtime. Deeper chemical peels, laser resurfacing and Dermabrasion are all cosmetic skin treatments that remove the outer layers of the skin, leaving you with fresh, pink, healthier-looking skin once healing is complete.
Chemical peel agents include:
Glycolic Acid Peels (one of many alphahydroxy acids) – a light peel that provides subtle results in the treatment of faint hyperpigmentation, acne and wrinkles.
Salicylic Acid Peels (an ingredient also found in a Jessner’s Peel) – a light to medium peel.
TCA-based Peels (Obagi Blue Peel) – a medium peel. Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) peels treat pronounced blemishes, lines and pigmentation, yielding softer, refined complexions, but these come with a recovery period that ranges from seven to 10 days or more.
Phenols (croton oil-based) – a deep peel.
Before You Get a Chemical Peel
Tell your doctor if you have any history of scarring, cold sores that keep coming back, or facial X-rays.
Before you get a chemical peel, your doctor may ask you to stop taking certain drugs and prepare your skin by using other medications, such as Retin-A, Renova, or glycolic acid. The doctor may also prescribe antibiotics or antiviral drugs.
Work with your doctor to determine the depth of your peel. This decision depends upon the condition of your skin and your goals for treatment.