For those seeking renewed radiance, a chemical peel is a great way to improve the appearance of aging or damaged skin. A chemical peel is a chemical solution that exfoliates the skin, causing the dead cells to peel off when applied. The skin then regenerates a new layer which is smoother and more youthful in appearance.
However, a chemical peel is not for everyone. Lighter-skinned patients will see much better results than darker-skinned patients. Moreover, patients with infections, skin disease, or broken skin may not be able to undergo the procedure. A dermatologic surgeon will tell you for certain whether this treatment is right for you.
When considering chemical peel treatments, there are three types to choose from: superficial, medium, and deep.
A superficial peel uses a milder chemical solution made with alpha-hydroxy acid, or another acid of similar strength. As the name suggests, this treatment will exfoliate only the outer layer of skin, targeting the face, neck, chest, or hands. It will best improve skin with mild discoloration or roughness.
Superficial peels take the least amount of time to heal: only seven days at the most. Expect the affected skin to be red, with the possibility of scaling. The skin should be moisturized with lotion or cream, with a generous layer of sunscreen applied every day.
A medium peel uses a glycolic or trichloroacetic acid to remove damaged skin cells in the outer and middle layers of skin. For patients with age spots, fine lines and wrinkles, freckles, moderate skin discoloration, rough skin, or precancerous skin growths, this may be the recommended treatment.
Medium peels take 7 to 14 days to heal. The affected area will redden and continue to swell for 48 hours. Patients can expect the swelling to force their eyelids shut. Other possible side effects include blisters and skin crusts formed during the recovery period. The affected area must be soaked every day and protected from all sun exposure. Apply lotion or cream as needed.
Deep peels apply trichloroacetic acid or phenol to remove damaged skin cells from the middle layer of skin. While deep peels target the same layer as medium peels, they produce much greater improvements. However, the procedure can only be performed once. This treatment can remove moderate lines, freckles, and shallow scars.
Deep peels need 14 to 21 days to heal. The area will be bandaged and soaked four to six times daily. Ointment and thick moisturizers must be used for the next 14 days, in addition to antiviral medication. Patients must avoid sun exposure for the next three to six months.
Schedule a consultation today at Eastlake Plastic Surgery to discuss your skincare needs, options, and personalized treatment.