Chemical Peeling

A chemical face peel consists of applying a solution of chemicals to the skin, which results in peeling of the outer layers of skin. There are many different types of chemical peeling agents which can be used to vary the depth of treatment desired. Most peels are either light/superficial (Glycolic acid) or medium (Jessner's, TCA) depth peels. Very deep peels\ are infrequently used, and are somewhat riskier.

A chemical peel is done to improve wrinkles and aged skin, including the fine lines around the mouth, the cheeks, and sometimes the eyelids. It usually creates a somewhat smoother and more youthful appearing skin surface. It is not effective for extremely heavy wrinkling or loose, baggy skin. Chemical Peels are also commonly used to decrease brown spots associated with aging or melasma, as well as treating acne


Frequently asked Questions

1- What is a chemical face peel?
A chemical face peel consists of applying a solution of chemicals to the skin, which results in peeling of the outer layers of skin. There are many different types of chemical peeling agents which can be used to vary the depth of treatment desired. Most peels are either light/superficial (Glycolic acid) or medium (Jessner's, TCA) depth peels. Very deep peels are infrequently used, and are somewhat riskier.

2- Why is a chemical peel done?
A chemical peel is done to improve wrinkles and aged skin, including the fine lines around the mouth, the cheeks, and sometimes the eyelids. It usually creates a somewhat smoother and more youthful appearing skin surface. It is not effective for extremely heavy wrinkling or loose, baggy skin.
Chemical Peels are also commonly used to decrease brown spots associated with aging or melasma, as well as treating acne

3- When is a chemical peel done?
A chemical peel is done when sufficient fine lines in the skin warrant the procedure. Therapeutically, a chemical peel may be used to remove scaly growths and pre-cancerous skin produced by sun damage. It can also be used to remove the whiteheads and blackheads of acne and decrease the severity of inflammatory pimples or cysts that may occur.

4- Is it painful?
As the chemical is applied to the skin, there is a burning sensation which may persist for a few minutes, but generally disappears quickly. The stronger the peel, the longer the burning sensation. Pain rarely persists beyond 10-30 minutes in even the deepest of peels. Pain medication may be administered prior to the procedure, but Tylenol extra-strength (1000mg) is all that is usually needed, even with the deeper peels.

5- What is expected from a chemical peel?
It is expected that there will be improvement, but not complete removal, of the fine lines and wrinkles of the face. This may include the fine lines around the eyes and mouth, and those occasionally seen in the cheeks. There is sometimes a degree of color change in the skin after a chemical peel. The skin may heal to be lighter or darker in color than normal skin. Generally this discoloration resolves with time. To minimize this effect, the chemical peel may be done over the entire face and carried down into the shadow area below the lower jaw.

6- What are the after effects of this procedure?
After the chemical is applied, a moisturizer will be placed on the treated area. The deeper the peel, the heavier the moisturizer which will be used.
For medium and deeper peels we may recommend Aquaphor ointment. It will be necessary to keep the skin lubricated with this moisturizer until the face no longer feels dry, tight or irritated. The skin may peel, like after a sunburn, over the next few days to as long a week after the treatment. In the deepest peels the face may remain pink for a few weeks to even a few months following. For the lighter peels, the redness generally lasts a few hours to a few days. Avoidance of the sun is important, in general, and after a chemical peel the face will be more sensitive to sun exposure.
Daily sun protection is important.

7- Will a chemical peel remove dark spots and pigmentation from the skin?
The chemical peel will not remove ordinary moles or certain other types of skin pigmentation. It is, however, effective in removing the brownish pigmentation resulting from pregnancy (melasma) and exposure to the sun. This result is not assured, and the procedure is not beneficial for some individuals. When a chemical peel has been performed for this purpose, it is necessary for the individual to avoid excessive sun exposure permanently since such exposure may result in return of the pigmentation.

8- Are complications possible with this procedure?
Complications are very uncommon with a chemical peel, however, they are possible. The most common of these complications is a temporary increase in pigmentation. This generally resolves with time. Rare complications are deep peeling in small areas resulting in a scar, permanent color change, and there is a small possibility of infection. Let your doctor know if you have a history of herpes virus infection (cold sores).








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