Chemical Peels

Cosmetic Procedures

Overview

Chemical peels are used to improve the appearance of the skin on one’s face, neck, or hands. A chemical solution is applied to the skin, then the skin is exfoliated and eventually peels off. The new, rejuvenated skin is normally smoother and less wrinkled than the old, now peeled skin. There are three main types of chemical peels: a superficial peel, a medium peel, and a deep peel. A superficial or lunchtime peel is used to gently exfoliate the skin and only penetrate the outer layer of skin. This is a very mild peel to simply treat the skin. A medium peel penetrates the outer and middle layers of skin to remove damaged skin cells. A deep peel is applied to remove dead skin cells of the middle layer. A deep peel will dramatically improve skin appearance.

What They Treat

Chemical peels are used to help with a number of conditions. Many of these conditions come with age, like crow’s feet, wrinkles, sagging skin, and aging skin. Chemical peels can also help with hyperpigmentation or sun damaged skin. Chemical peels can help treat melasma (brown and gray patches appear on skin of the face) and scars.

Side Effects

Chemical peels may sting but they should not cause a significant amount of pain. The gentlest peels may cause stinging, redness, irritation, and crusting, but skin should begin to adjust, and these problems will lessen. Certain chemicals in stronger peels will cause more irritation, and a dermatologist should be consulted for those with sensitive skin. For example, trichloroacetic acids are used to remove wrinkles, blemishes, and pigment problems but may cause redness, swelling, and irritation in days following treatment. Using creams and gels will reduce this pain. A doctor may also prescribe medication after the treatment to help relieve problems.

Post-Treatment Care

All peels require some post-procedure care which depends on the strength of the peel. Superficial peels require a week or less to heal. Skin may be red or begin to scale, and lotion or cream should be applied to skin as it heals. Medium peels require one to two weeks to heal. Skin may be red and swollen, and swelling should subside after about two days. Blisters and peeling skin are common. Skin should be soaked and treated with ointment and cream. The area should be bandaged, soaked, and treated with ointment and moisturizer. The area should be bandaged, soaked, and created with ointment and moisturizer. Antiviral medication will be taken in the two weeks following. Sun exposure should be avoided at all costs. Several follow-up appointments are vital to supervise progress.