Chemical peel , also known as chemexfoliation or derma-peeling, are a technique used to improve the appearance of the skin. In this treatment, a chemical solution is applied to the skin, which causes it to “blister” and eventually peel off. The new, regenerated skin is usually smoother and less wrinkled than the old skin. The new skin also is temporarily more sensitive to the sun.
Chemical peels are performed on the face, neck or hands. They can be used to:
• Reduce fine lines under the eyes and around the mouth
• Treat wrinkles caused by sun damage, aging and hereditary factors
• Improve the appearance of mild scarring
• Treat certain types of acne
• Reduce age spots, freckles and dark patches due to pregnancy or taking birth control pills (melasma)
• Improve the look and feel of skin that is dull in texture and color
Areas of sun damage, which may contain pre-cancerous keratoses that appear as scaly spots, may improve after chemical peeling. Following treatment, new pre-cancerous lesions are less likely to appear.
However, sags, bulges and more severe wrinkles do not respond well to chemical peels. They may require other kinds of cosmetic surgical procedures, such as carbon dioxide laser resurfacing , a facelift , brow lift , eyelid lift or soft tissue filler (collagen or fat). A dermatologic surgeon can help determine the most appropriate type of treatment for each individual case.
Chemical peeling agents resurface the skin by inducing a controlled wound and thus removing superficial layers of the skin. As a result, chemical peels improve skin problems like hyperpigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles .
Procedures may vary dependent on the type of chemical peel chosen. Skin is prepped using a medical degreaser to ensure the treated area is free of any oils left on the skin. The chemical agent is then applied and typically remains on the skin for 3 to 5 minutes or more depending on the peeling agent applied . Most patients feel a mild stinging which is temporary and usually subsides after a few minutes.
Recovery times will vary based on the type and strength of the peel. Immediately after the peel, your skin will feel tight and may be red . Peeling usually lasts 3-4 days, depending on the actual peel treatment. Use of gentle cleanser, moisturizer and sunscreen is important, as it will enhance the healing process and results. Sun exposure should be avoided while skin is peeling; exposure of treated skin to a lot of heat should also be avoided as it may induce swelling, redness and for deeper peels blisters under the skin.
Chemical peels should be avoided if any of the following conditions are present:
Active herpes simplex in the area to be treated
Sunburned or excessively sensitive skin
Accutane use within the last year
History of recent chemotherapy or radiation therapy
Allergies to aspirin
Women who are pregnant or actively breastfeeding
Patients with Vitiligo
Patients with a history of autoimmune disease
The success of the peel should not be judged by the amount of peeling, but by the end results that the peel will produce. The amount of peeling may vary depending on individual skin condition at the time of the peel or the depth of the peel and the peeling agent applied . Regardless of the degree of peeling, the skin is still sloughing off at an accelerated rate, resulting in the improvement of skin tone and texture and an improvement of fine lines and uneven pigmentation.
One week before the peel avoid waxing, electrolysis, deploritory creams, and laser hair removal.
Two to three days before the peel discontinue using any prescription topicals such as Tretinoic acid as well as any products containing retinol, alpha hydroxyl acids (AHA), beta hydroxyl acids (BHA) or benzoyl peroxide. Patients who have had any medical cosmetic facial treatments or procedures such as Laser treatments, cosmetic fillers or other surgical procedures should wait until skin sensitivity has completely resolved before receiving a peel.