A chemical peel is an outpatient skin treatment that uses a chemical to remove damaged skin cells from the outer layer of skin. Besides improving texture and relieving areas of dryness, a chemical peel can make your skin look brighter and younger.
A chemical peel can be performed on your entire face or just problem areas. The results are frequently temporary, but there can be permanent improvements. Some types of peels can also be used on other parts of the body. There are many different kinds of chemicals used for chemical peels:
Your doctor will choose the best formula for you based on what you want to accomplish.
View this procedure in 3D:
Who Can Benefit from a Chemical Peel?
You might be a good candidate for a chemical peel if you have any of these conditions:
Depending upon your condition, it may take more than one chemical peel to achieve your desired results.
What is the Procedure Like?
AHA and TCA peels usually take no more than 30 minutes to perform, while some peels can take up to two hours. The chemicals are applied with a light brush or soft applicator, and often, no anesthesia is required.
Some patients prefer to have sedation for total comfort, however, and in the case of deeper peels, anesthesia may be required.
What Can I Expect During Recovery?
Chemical peels are outpatient procedures, and you can go home the same day. You may experience some mild discomfort and redness for a few days after the procedure. Deeper peels may cause some swelling and scabbing during the healing process. For up to two weeks following the procedure, your skin will peel slightly. After peeling is complete, however, your skin will look fresh and pink. Patients are given a prescription for a mild pain medication, as well as a gentle cleanser for the skin.
As many of these procedures include some form of sedation or anesthesia, you will need someone to drive you home from the doctor's office and help you around the house for a period of time. While the deeper peels require a longer healing period, the results last longer than the more mild peels.
What are the Risks of Chemical Peels?
Chemical peels are very safe, but they must be performed by a reputable physician. Today, some states allow non-medical professionals to perform chemical peels, which can be dangerous if the practitioner is not well-trained and experienced. Scars, infections, and allergic reactions are more likely to result when someone other than a physician performs a chemical peel.
Your doctor may conduct a test peel to a small area of skin to make sure you have no allergic reaction. Phenol Peels carry the greatest risk, but complications from all types of chemical peels are rare. The most common problem is uneven skin tone, especially with those who have darker skin. Chemical peels make your skin more susceptible to sunburn. You will be advised to be very vigilant about protecting your skin from the sun after a chemical peel.