Chemical peel is a technique that is used to improve the appearance of the skin on the face, neck or hands. It is a treatment in which a chemical solution is applied to the skin to remove the damaged outer layer of the skin by causing it to exfoliate and eventually peel off the skin. The newly regenerated skin is usually smoother and less wrinkled than the old skin. Additionally, the new skin is temporarily more sensitive to the sun. A chemical peel can effectively-
- Diminish the appearance of fine lines under the eyes and around the mouth
- Treat wrinkles on the face that has been caused by sun damage and aging
- Enhance the appearance of mild scars
- Treat certain types acne
- Reduce the signs of aging, patches, and other spots due to pregnancy or side effect of taking birth control pills
- Improve the appearance of the skin
Types of Chemical Peels
- Superficial or lunchtime peel- These are alpha-hydroxy acid or some other mild acids that penetrate the layer of the skin and gently exfoliates the outer layer of the skin. The treatment is used to improve the appearance of mild skin discoloration and to treat rough skin. The results help by bringing a rejuvenating and fresh appearance of skin.
- Medium peel- Glycolic or tri-chloro-acetic acid is applied on the skin that penetrates the outer and middle layer of the skin to remove the damaged skin cells. This treatment is used to improve the age spots, fine lines, wrinkles, freckles and moderate skin discoloration. However, it can also be used to smoothen the rough skin and treat some pre-cancerous skin growths.
- Deep peel- Tri-chloro-acetic acid or phenol is applied that deeply penetrates the middle layer of the skin to remove the damaged skin cells. The treatment thus helps to remove the moderate lines, age spots, shallow scars, etc. The results will give a dramatic improvement in the appearance of the skin and the procedure can be used once, only on the face.
Who is a Good Candidate for a Chemical Peel?
People with a light skin tone and those light-haired patients are considered as the best candidates for chemical peels. People with dark skin tone may also get good results depending on the type of problem being treated. Though there is a chance that these people may experience an uneven skin tone after undergoing the procedure. However, an ideal candidate for the procedure must be in a good physical health ,who understands the procedure and keeps a realistic expectation.
Who is Not a Candidate for a Chemical Peel?
The procedure is not recommended for extremely dark-skinned patients and candidates with infections, skin diseases, cut or broken skin, sunburns or other sores. Other than this, nursing or pregnant woman, people with psoriasis, eczema, dermatitis, etc. are also not recommended for this procedure. Sagging skin, bulges in the skin and severe wrinkles do not respond to chemical peels. To address such issues some cosmetic procedures like laser resurfacing, facelift, brow lift, eyelid lift or soft tissue filler may be useful.
How is the Chemical Peel Treatment Performed?
The chemical peel treatment can be performed at a doctor’s office or in a surgery center and is usually performed on an outpatient basis. The professionals who carry on the procedure, firstly, cleans the skin thoroughly and then applies one or more chemical solutions such as glycolic acid, tri-chloro-acetic acid, salicylic acid, lactic acid, etc. to small areas of the skin. This creates a controlled wound without letting the skin take its place.
However, during chemical peeling procedure, most of the people experience a burning sensation that may last for about five to ten minutes followed by a stinging sensation. A cold compress on the skin may ease that sensation. Candidates may also require a medication for pain before or after a deep peel treatment.
Recovering after Chemical Peel Treatment
The recovery period depends on the type of chemical peel treatment undergone by the patient. The immediate results are pretty much similar to that of a sunburned skin involving redness, scaling of the skin. Most of the patients experience these conditions within three to seven days. Mild peels may be repeated at an interval of one to four weeks until the desired appearance is achieved. The medium and deep peels may result in the swelling at the area of treatment. Patients will also experience blistering, skin turning brown, peeling of the skin over a period of 14 days. The deep peel treatment can be performed once but the medium depth peels may be repeated for six to 12 months if required.
After undergoing the treatment the area of treatment is usually bandaged for several days. Doctors may also instruct their patients to avoid sun exposure of the treated skin for several months after undergoing a chemical peel treatment procedure. Some skin types are prone to develop a temporary or permanent color change in the skin after undergoing a chemical peel treatment. There are also lower risks for scarring in certain areas of the face.