Chemical peels are used to improve the skin's appearance. There are different types of chemical peels that can be applied to the skin to remove the top layers of skin. The new skin after a peel is smoother, less wrinkled, and may be more even in color. Chemical peels can reduce fine lines, treat mild scarring and certain types of acne, diminish skin discoloration and refresh skin texture and color.
Superficial Chemical Peel
Glycolic Acid is one of several alpha hydroxy acids used to produce a superficial chemical peel. After cleansing the face, acetone is applied to remove any remaining dirt or oil. Glycolic acid is then applied and left on the face for several minutes. The patient will experience a tolerable amount of stinging or burning during the procedure. The acid is then neutralized by rinsing the face with water.
Initially, the patient may experience some redness, which is sometimes accompanied by slight swelling of the treated areas. White patches, known as frosting, may develop, indicating the separation of the epidermis from the underlying dermis. Over the next several days, the skin will peel off and new skin will be formed within 7-10 days. Multiple treatments may be required to achieve the desired results and should be spaced several weeks apart. Glycolic acid peels produce the least profound results but also are associated with the lowest frequency of complications.
Medium-depth Chemical Peel
Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) is used to penetrate deeper into the skin surface. After cleansing the face, acetone is applied to remove any remaining dirt or oil. Jessner's solution, which allows for deeper penetration of TCA, is then applied to the face and allowed to dry. The TCA is applied with a cotton swab and allowed to dry. This produces an intense burning, which usually resolves within several, but can last for 30, minutes or longer. During the procedure, the treated areas will produce a uniform "frosting." TCA is not time dependent and does not require neutralization, therefore, it does not need to be rinsed.
Medium-depth peels can result in swelling and blisters that may break, crust, turn brown, and peel off over a period of seven to 14 days or longer. New skin will be formed in 10-14 days.
Important things to tell us prior to a chemical peel
It is important to inform us if you have a history of fever blisters, cold sores or keloids. Also, if you are using any topical medications on the area to be treated, such as tretinoin, Retin-A, Differin, Tazorac, etc., please let us know.
Limitations of chemical peels
Chemical peels cannot tighten loose or sagging skin. They can certainly help with minimal scarring, but do not remove deep scars. A peel will not change pore size or remove broken blood vessels, but it does improve the appearance of these conditions