Chemical Peels

A 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 new skin that is revealed is less wrinkled and more smooth. It may be sensitive to the sun for a few days so limited exposure is suggested along with the application of a good sunscreen. 

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 of 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

Chemical peels are categorized as per their effectiveness on the basis of the depth of the skin. Depending on pigmentation and skin concerns superficial, medium, and deep peels are used. Usually, 6-8 sessions are recommended which can be repeated at an interval of 15 days or as prescribed by the dermatologist.

1. Superficial or Light Peels

These are alpha-hydroxy acid peels. They penetrate up to superficial layer i.e. stratum corneum. They are used to improve the appearance of mild skin, discoloration and to treat acne.
Peels used:
Salicylic acid -20-30%
Mandelic acid - 10-20%
Glycolic acid - 20-30%
Lactic acid

2. Medium Depth Peels

The medium depth peels penetrate deep into the epidermis and go up to the basal layer. This treatment is used to improve age spots, sun damage, and moderate skin discoloration.
Peels used:
Glycolic
Pyruvic acid
Modified Jessner
Nomelan fenol (No melon fend)

3. Deep Peels

This peel penetrates up to the dermis. They are used for deep skin rejuvenation and exfoliation for resistant stubborn pigmentation.
Peels used:
Phenols
TCA – 30-50%
Glycolic – 70%

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 professional who performs 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 the chemical peeling procedure, most 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 medication for pain before or after 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 swelling in the area of treatment. Patients will also experience blistering, skin turning brown, peeling of the skin over 14 days. The deep peel treatment can be performed once but the medium depth peels may be repeated for 6 to 12 months if required.Skin doctors 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.

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