Imagine how your appearance would change if it was possible to remove the outer layer of your skin, revealing the smooth, unblemished skin beneath? If you think that’s impossible, then it’s time to learn more about chemical peels.
Chemical peels are procedures in which a board-certified dermatologist precisely applies a particular chemical to the skin on your face, hands or neck. You may have already heard about chemical peels that can be done at home, but these treatments are far more successful when they are performed at your doctor’s office. That’s because the chemicals included in at-home products aren’t nearly as powerful as those that are used by your dermatologist. Moreover, your doctor has the training and experience that are necessary to skillfully assess the condition of your skin. This means that chemical peels performed by your doctor promise far better results.
Your dermatologist makes a wealth of chemical peel options available to you. After conducting an examination of your skin and discussing the possibilities with you, your doctor will recommend the treatment that is most likely to help you achieve the outcome that you desire. In general, three levels of chemical peels are available.
Superficial Chemical Peels
Sometimes referred to as a “lunchtime peel,” these treatments involve the application of alpha-hydroxy acid or a similarly gentle product. These acids are only able to penetrate the outermost layer of the skin, and they provide an effective exfoliation. Typically, a superficial peel is recommended to correct mild roughness or discoloration. People who have this service performed often notice that their skin is brighter, refreshed and younger looking.
Medium Chemical Peels
Your dermatologist uses glycolic acid or perhaps trichloroacetic acid to penetrate to the middle layer of your skin. This stronger formula is ideal for disposing of damaged skin cells. In addition, this non-invasive treatment is used to minimize the appearance of mild lines and wrinkles. Freckles, age spots, and other skin discoloration can also be lightened with these chemical peels. Some dermatologists will also use the medium-strength formulations to rid the skin of precancerous growths like actinic keratosis.
Deep Chemical Peels
For skin that needs dramatic refreshment, a stronger formulation of trichloroacetic acid or phenol may be prescribed. While the milder chemical peels can be used more than once, repeating this procedure is virtually never done. That’s because this peel reaches deep into the middle layer of the skin, sloughing away damaged skin cells to reveal amazing results. These formulations are so strong that they can treat moderate wrinkles and shallow scars in addition to freckles and age spots. Because these peels are so powerful, they are only appropriate for use on the face.
Are Chemical Peels Right For Me?
The first step toward discovering whether or not chemical peels are right for you is scheduling an appointment with your dermatologist. Many different skin concerns can be ameliorated with chemical peels. Among these are:
- Crow’s feet
- Sun damage
- Scars, including acne scars
- Early aging
- Pigmentation issues
If you have any of these skin issues, then it’s worth consulting with a dermatologist about how chemical peels can help you. Your doctor will discuss with you whether or not you are a good candidate for this treatment. Generally, people who have light skin and fair hair respond best to peels. People with darker skin sometimes develop uneven pigmentation as a result of the peel. Your dermatologist will discuss the appropriateness of the treatment with you before you make a decision to move forward.
There are Some Skin Conditions Not Fit for a Chemical Peel
People who have active sores from Herpes Simplex 1, skin diseases, open sores, cuts or sunburns are generally not considered good candidates for peels. However, this may alter in a few days or weeks when these other conditions clear up. Doctors may also recommend against chemical peels for people who have rosacea, eczema or psoriasis, as this treatment may only aggravate the symptoms of these conditions. People who are nursing, pregnant or have taken Accutane in the previous six months are similarly not considered to be suitable candidates. Depending on your situation one of our other cosmetic procedures may be more appropriate.
After discussing all of the pros and cons with your physician, you may be ready to proceed with a chemical peel. Sometimes, these appointments are scheduled at a later date to provide patients with an opportunity to prepare themselves. There can be down time associated with chemical peels, especially the more powerful varieties, so be certain to consult with your doctor about how long your healing process is likely to take.
The chemical peel itself is a straightforward procedure that takes place in a treatment room at your doctor’s office. The skin that is being treated will be thoroughly cleansed before the appropriate chemical solution is carefully applied. The chemical essentially creates a controlled wound on the surface of the skin. As the wound heals, new skin is revealed.
Most patients experience stinging or burning sensations during the procedure. This typically lasts only five to 10 minutes. Cool compresses and pain medication may be needed in the initial hours and days after the chemical peel. A skin reaction that is similar to a sunburn ensues in the next days and weeks. The skin may be red, puffy and tender before it begins to peel away. Superficial peels generally result in milder reactions that may take only a day or two to heal. Deep peels and even some medium peels can cause more blistering and peeling, often requiring weeks of healing. While a superficial peel can be repeated on a weekly or monthly basis, depending upon the speed of healing, the medium-strength peels can only be repeated at six-month or one-year intervals. Your dermatologist will discuss with you how many chemical peels may be necessary to achieve your desired results.
Younger, Fresher Skin is just Around the Corner with a Chemical Peel
Younger, fresher, smoother skin is waiting just below the surface. Whether you feel that your face, neck or hands are revealing too much about your age, chemical peels can be the answer to letting that flawless skin break through. These safe, reliable treatments use powerful chemical solutions and are best left in the hands of a board-certified physician. Contact us to learn more about how chemical peels can revolutionize your appearance, allowing your brighter, more youthful side to shine.