Chemical peels are non-surgical treatments used to rejuvenate skin. The process involves applying a chemical agent on the skin for a specified amount of time. The epidermis, uppermost layer of skin, is then removed depending on the chemical’s strength and length of application. As a result, this creates controlled damage to the skin that stimulates collagen production, which can improve the overall texture of the skin. After the skin is cleansed, a chemical solution is applied which creates a controlled peel that removes old and damaged skin. The strength of the peel can vary from mild to intense, depending on the severity of the skin condition and the desired results.
After a chemical peel, the skin will be red, swollen and likely sore. Due to the high-potency formulas involved, this is normal and is part of the regeneration process. The more aggressive the level of the peel, the longer the recovery will take. For mild treatments, expect peeling and redness for up to five days. For medium treatments, recovery will take up to two weeks. The redness and peeling you will see during recovery is the old, damaged skin peeling off to reveal fresh, healthier skin.
If needed, Dr. Rokhsar can prescribe medications for any discomfort. To ensure the best results after a chemical peel, you must protect your skin from the sun with a broad-spectrum sunscreen. Protecting your skin from future sun damage will make the results of your peel last even longer. Dr. Rokhsar uses peels that use the naturally occurring carboxylic acids such as glycolic acid, and salicylic acid peels. These are very effective in battling acne and acne scarring.
Chemical peels1 are facial skin rejuvenation procedures that can treat superficial to moderate photoaging skin damage. Mild chemical peels can be applied to people in their 20’s, to help prevent the effects of aging skin from becoming apparent too early in life.
In a chemical peeling treatment, a chemical solution is applied to facial skin, causing the skin to blister and peel off over a period of days. As the treated skin blisters and peels, new skin forms to take its place. The new skin is usually smoother and less wrinkled than the old skin.
A mild chemical peel is usually all that is necessary to treat fine lines and wrinkles around the eyes and mouth. Patients with minimal skin damage often respond best to a series of light peels in combination with a skincare program including retinoids and a sunscreen protection program. A medium-depth peel is often more effective for patients with moderate skin damage, including age spots, freckles, and actinic keratoses. A medium-depth peel may be combined with another treatment such as laser resurfacing to achieve maximum effectiveness.
Depending on the objectives of the treatment, the condition, and type of the patient’s skin, and the degree of skin damage, Dr. Rokhsar can determine the strength of the chemical solution and the depth of the peel that is optimal for the patient. Peeling solution may include one or more chemicals such as alpha-hydroxy acids, trichloroacetic acid, or carbolic acid. The procedure can be performed in the dermatologist’s office, or in an outpatient surgery center. In addition to skin rejuvenation, chemical peeling can be an effective treatment of some acne scars. Peeling does not remove deep scars.
The immediate after-effect of a chemical peel is similar to a sunburn. After a mild or superficial peel, redness and scaling of the skin last 3 to 5 days. Medium-depth or deep peeling can result in redness, swelling, blistering and peeling for 7 to 14 days. Medications are prescribed to alleviate discomfort. Overexposure to the sun must be avoided for a period of time to prevent sun damage while the new skin is susceptible to injury.
Chemical peeling is effective only for surface skin damage and may not be appropriate for some skin types. Effects of aging in deeper tissues, such as sagging jowls and drooping eyelids, must be addressed by other procedures that can be recommended by your dermatologic surgeon.
Chemical peels2 can stimulate new skin production, creating a smoother and less wrinkled layer of skin. Chemicals are applied to the skin. The solution makes the skin peel off, exposing the newer, healthier and less damaged skin.
Glycolic acid is the most widely recognized and used a chemical peeling agent. It is a water-soluble acid that works to accelerate the turnover of skin cells, remove lesions, restore elasticity and can help improve moisturizing characteristics of the skin. There are a variety of different skin peel chemicals that are applied depending on the condition and type of skin being treated.
It is important to prepare the skin at least two weeks prior to appointment. Those who are prone to hyperpigmentation should use a fading gel to decrease melanin production in the skin. Hyper-pigmentation is a condition that changes the skin unevenly that can leave blotches or discoloration in certain areas.
Chemical peels are generally better for those with fair skin and light hair because the solution will be able to create an evener skin complexion. Very saggy skin, bulges, and deep wrinkles may not respond well to chemical peels and need to consult Dr. Cameron Rokhsar in order to receive a proper consultation. Certain skin conditions may be more effectively treated with different cosmetic procedures3, such as laser resurfacing.
Chemical peels take about 30 minutes in total depending on the type of skin that is being treated, however, all peels are performed in less than one hours, making it an ideal treatment for those with busy schedules.
Patients that undergo chemical peel treatments can go outside afterward, but it is important that sunscreen is worn at all times the days following. Sunscreen should always be worn regardless if you have just undergone a chemical peel, but it is very important for the health of your skin to protect it once it has this treatment. Skin will be more sensitive, increasing the skin’s susceptibility to sunburns.
The skin can be treated with chemical peels with three sessions every two weeks. Chemical peels that use glycolic acid complement products that contain glycolic acid that can be used for at-home skincare.
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1 What You Should Know About Chemical Peels. Available: https://www.healthline.com/health/chemical-peels.
2 Chemical Peels and Your Skin. Available: https://www.webmd.com/beauty/cosmetic-procedures-chemical-peel-treatments.
3 Chemical Peel Minimally Invasive Procedure. Available: https://www.plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/chemical-peel.