What is a Chemical Peel?
A chemical peel is a noninvasive method of improving the appearance of your skin through the application of a chemical solution. The solution peels away the damaged outer layers of your skin, leaving you with fresh, new skin that is smooth and youthful looking. Superficial and medium depth peels are performed by an aesthetician. Our physician generally performs the deepest peels.
Chemical peels are mostly reserved for the face, though sometimes they are used on the neck and hands. They can reduce or eliminate age and liver spots, acne scars, wrinkles, freckles, scars, sun-damaged skin, rough and scaly skin and irregular skin pigmentation. Chemical peels work best on people with fair skin and light hair. Those with darker skin are more likely to end up with an uneven skin tone following the procedure.
What to expect from a Chemical Peel:
During a chemical peel, a solution is applied to your skin to remove the damaged outer layers. There are many types of chemicals, which may be used, depending on the extent of your procedure. Our most common peels include those listed below.
Alphahydroxy acids are used for a light chemical peel. This type of peel removes the outer layer of skin (the epidermis) only, and is a good choice for individuals with uneven skin pigmentation, acne scars, dryness and fine wrinkles. Treatments can be repeated once a week for up to six weeks in order to achieve results. Downtime is minimal.
Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) is used for a medium or when combined with other chemicals even a deeper chemical peel. This treatment removes both the outer layer of skin and the upper portion of the middle layer (the dermis). It’s best for those with deeper wrinkles, acne scars and uneven skin pigmentation. A medium chemical peel can be repeated every six to 12 months to maintain the results.
A deep chemical peel uses Trichloroacetic acid with Jessner’s solution. Phenol, the strongest chemical solution available, is similar in effectiveness to our treatments with CO2 laser and not as commonly used anymore. These treatments penetrate down to the lowest layers of your skin. They are reserved for deep facial wrinkles, scars, sun-damaged skin, blotchiness and pre-cancerous growths. Pretreatment with Retin A or a similar medication is often recommended in order to condition your skin for treatment and to speed up the healing process. Hydroquinone, to prevent brown splotches after treatment, may be prescribed both prior to and after your deep chemical peel in select cases. Deep chemical peels offer more dramatic solutions, but also may require more aggressive forms of anesthesia and a sedative, and have the longest recovery time.
What are the risks?
Side effects vary depending on the chemical solution used. You may experience anything from a little burning or stinging and skin redness to pain, discomfort and swelling. In more aggressive peels, there can be a general lightening of skin pigmentation. Rare brown spots can develop in some patients as well. Bacterial, viral, or yeast type infections are know to occur, but fortunately due to preventative medications at the time of your procedure they are very rare.
Call Gardner Facial Plastic Surgery at (435) 628-1704 for more information or to schedule an appointment.