For those with issues related to their facial skin such as mild sun damage, skin pigmentation issues, acne problems, or wrinkles, chemical peels can provide a more even, pleasant, and youthful complexion.
The epidermis is the outermost layer of the skin, and therefore it is the part that takes the most abuse from the elements. These external factors, combined with aging, result in a person’s age becoming more apparent to others.
What is a chemical peel?
Chemical peels are designed to remove the top layers of the skin, which reveals the cleaner, newer skin underneath. After treatment, the skin will peel off in accordance with the type of peel that the patient receives. It takes from as little as a day, to up to 2 weeks for the skin in the treated areas to peel off.
There are several levels of chemical peels available. Depending on the patient’s particular concerns, the appropriate formula will be selected which will lead to the maximum benefit for the patient. The doctor will then give the patient a skin care regimen to follow in the days leading up to the treatment, which will help make the process as beneficial as possible.
What does a chemical peel do?
Superficial Peels – this type of peel generally only affects the epidermis. A superficial peel is the mildest type, and is the quickest to recover from. Diluted glycolic acid is most often employed for this purpose, but there are some techniques that use dry ice.
Medium Peels – this type of peel penetrates the dermis, which is the skin beneath the epidermis. Trichloroacetic acid, known as TCA, is generally utilized for medium peels. Sometimes this is done through a few steps, and TCA can be used as the last step.
Deep Peels – this type of peel penetrates deeper into the dermis. A deep peel is only done once on a patient in general, except for special cases. This is because of the longer recovery time and greater severity of the procedure. Phenol is the chemical that is generally used for this type of peel.
After the Peel
After going through any type of peel, your doctor will provide you with a very specific list of instructions. It is very important that the patient follow these instructions carefully, as the rate at which healing occurs is greatly affected by this.
Patients that follow guidelines properly have a longer lasting benefit of the process, chance of infection is greatly reduced, and they will avoid color changes which are caused by the sun.
The recovery skin care regime generally includes cleansing with a solution recommended by your doctor and applying moisturizer daily. If it is a medium or deep peel, it will require periodic changing of the dressing over the treated area.
Until the peeling has stopped, the patient must avoid exposure to the sun completely. While the new skin is healing, sunscreen with the proper sun protection factor must be worn daily.
For those that have skin issues, or are simply seeking to regain a more youthful appearance, consulting with a dermatologist will reveal what options would provide the most benefit.
A chemical peel is a highly effective for people with certain skin conditions, and your doctor can help you decide if this type of treatment would be to your advantage.