The skin is the largest organ in our body. It is made up of millions of cells that protect us from the environment and regulate our body temperature. Every day thousands of cells die, flake off and are replaced by new cells from beneath the skin. As we age, this process begins to slow down. Our skin may become dull. Our doctor performs Chemical Peels for patients in our region to remove dark blotches, fine lines and other signs of sun-damage and aging.
Chemical Peels have been used for over 100 years to create an even and controlled shedding of damaged skin cells. Each year thousands of chemical peels are performed in the United States. A chemical peel uses a solution applied to the skin to remove dead skin cells and stimulate the production of new skin cells. Chemical peels are used to tighten skin, reduce wrinkling and restore a more youthful appearance.
During your consultation with our physician you will want to explain the level of skin improvement you hope to achieve. Your surgeon will then review your medical history and examine your skin type and pigmentation to determine if you are a good candidate for a chemical peel. Together you can evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of the different types of chemical peels, discuss your options, your expectations and determine the best treatment for you.
Don’t forget to mention any history of viral infections, sensitivity to the sun, or prior skin treatments such as dermabrasion or Accutane treatments within the past 6 months.
Chemical peels can effectively improve a wide variety of skin conditions including:
A chemical peel is not a substitute for a facelift. It cannot eliminate excessive or lax skin. But, in many cases a chemical peel is performed in conjunction with these procedures.
Unlike laser peels, chemical peels can be performed on the face, neck, chest, hands and even the arms and legs.
Most chemical peels are performed as outpatient procedures in the doctor’s office or surgical suite. Depending on your skin type and the desired results, your physician may recommend a superficial, medium, or deep chemical peel. Your doctor will select the proper chemical or mix of chemicals (glycolic acid, beta lift, Jessner, TCA or trichloroacetic acid, or carbolic acid) and apply the solution to various areas of skin. Once applied, the chemical produces a separation and peeling of the outer layers of the skin. This stimulates the production of new skin from beneath.
Most patients experience a warm to hot sensation which may last as long as ten minutes, followed by a stinging sensation. For deeper peels, some patients require anesthesia.
After our doctor performs a chemical peel, reactions are similar to a sunburn and range from mild to more pronounced. Generally, the deeper the peel, the longer the recovery.
A light peel usually results in some redness, and possibly some scaling for a few days. Medium and deep peels can result in swelling and blisters that break open forming a crust and turning brown, followed by peeling which can last up to 2 weeks. These peels may require dressings on some or all of the treated skin. Dressings are usually removed after 1 – 2 days. Ointments and creams will be applied to keep the skin moist. At first the new skin will have the color of a significant sunburn. This will gradually fade to pink over the next several weeks. Cosmetics can be applied after about 2 weeks. Following a chemical peel, your new skin will be tighter, smoother and may be slightly lighter than it was before surgery.
Following any skin peel, it is important that you avoid any exposure to the sun. Your new skin is very sensitive and susceptible to injury. Always apply a wide spectrum (UVA and UVB blocking) sunblock of at least SPF 40 twenty minutes before you go outside. Your surgeon will prescribe a proper home skin-care treatment program to ensure proper healing.