A chemical peel is a nonsurgical, less invasive way to improve the appearance of skin. This procedure applies a chemical solution to the top layers of the skin, which works to peel away and destroy damaged or dead cells. Through this peeling process, a rejuvenated layer of skin is left behind. Chemical peels can be used on the face or neck to help improve fine lines, acne scars, uneven skin tone, sun spots, freckles, pigmentation, melasma and rough or scaly patches.There are three basic types of chemical peels:
Superficial or lunchtime peel: Alpha-hydroxy acid or another mild acid is used to penetrate only the outer layer of skin to gently exfoliate it. The treatment is used to improve the appearance of mild skin discoloration and rough skin as well as to refresh the face, neck, chest or hands.
Medium peel: Glycolic or trichloroacetic acid is applied to penetrate the out and middle layers of skin to remove damaged skin cells. The treatment is used to improve age spots, fine lines and wrinkles, freckles and moderate skin discoloration. It also can be used to smooth rough skin and treat some precancerous skin growths, i.e. actinic keratosis.
Deep peel: Trichloroacetic acid or phenol is applied to deeply penetrate the middle layer of skin to remove damaged skin cells. The treatment removes moderate lines, age spots, freckles and shallow scars. Patients will see a dramatic improvement in skin appearance. The procedure is used on the face and only can be performed once.
Chemical Peels are used to treat the following:
- Acne scars
- Age spots
- Aging skin
- Crow's feet
- Sun-damaged skin
- Sagging skin
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A chemical peel does not hurt. However, it may cause some discomfort. Most patients will feel tingling and a slight burning sensation, which will subside shortly after the procedure has been completed. Phenol peels result in a greater degree of discomfort, but the practitioner should plan for this before the procedure begins.
It is very common to combine a chemical peel with another procedure. Microdermabrasion is one such procedure that provide effective results when combined with a peel. This will be considered a combination program that can be repeated every six weeks.
There are many alternatives to consider. Individuals looking to reduce fine lines, blotchiness and other mild skin conditions may benefit from a chemical peel, which removes dead skin cells and accelerates the generation of new skin. If deep wrinkles are the issue, a Phenol peel may help, but patients may also want to consider another treatment such as wrinkle relaxers or dermal fillers.