A chemical peel uses a chemical solution to improve the texture and tone of your skin by removing the damaged outer layers.
Your physician will use the strongest chemical called phenol to penetrate down to the lower dermal layer of your skin. For this type of peel, you may need a local anesthetic and a sedative to manage any discomfort.
You may not be a good candidate for chemical peeling if you have:
- A history of abnormal skin scarring
- A naturally dark complexion or skin tone
- A tendency to have extra pigmentation of your scars
- Used certain acne treatments within the last year
- Skin conditions or medications that make the skin more sensitive than normal
A chemical peel uses a chemical solution to improve the texture and tone of your skin by removing the damaged outer layers. here we’ll consider benefits of chemical peeling:
- Acne or acne scars
- Fine lines and wrinkles
- Irregular skin pigmentation
- Rough skin and scaly patches
- Certain scars
- Sun-damaged skin
You should understand that all chemical peels carry some risks and uncertainties.
A chemical peel is usually a very safe procedure when performed by a qualified and experienced board-certified plastic surgeon.
While very rare, infection or scarring are risks of from chemical peeling treatments.
For people with certain skin types, there is a risk of developing a temporary or permanent color change in the skin either lightening or darkening.
Use of hormone medications or a family history of brownish discoloration on the face or in response to scar healing may increase the possibility of developing abnormal pigmentation.
If you have suffered from cold sores (herpes) in the past, there is a risk of reactivation. Be sure to ask your doctor to prescribe medication to reduce the risk of a flare up in response to the treatment.
Inform your physician if you have a history of keloids (scar tissue overgrowth) or any unusual scarring tendencies.
Generally, chemical peeling is divided into the following types:
- Light chemical peel
- Medium chemical peel
- Deep chemical peel
Deep chemical peel procedure steps
- You will be given a sedative to relax along with a local anesthetic to numb your face.
- Your face will go through a stepwise cleansing process.
- Phenol is brushed onto the area after an appropriate time interval.
- The chemical is neutralized with water.
- A thick coat of ointment is smoothed over your skin, to prevent dryness and pain. The ointment must stay in place. Sometimes your surgeon will cover your skin with strips of tape or medicated gauze rather than ointment
Patients typically can return to work and some of your normal activities two weeks after treatment.
Deep chemical facial peels will result in peeling, crusting, skin redness and discomfort for several days to weeks.
Your doctor will provide painkillers to keep you comfortable. Although the swelling is likely to disappear in about two weeks, your skin may remain red for up to three months.
One treatment with a deep chemical peel will produce long-lasting and dramatic results that can last up to 10 years.
The chemical used in a deep chemical peel, phenol, can lighten the skin that’s treated. With this kind of peel, your new skin often loses its ability tan normally. It is critical that the treated area is protected from the sun.
Phenol (a deep peel agent) also can pose a special risk for people with heart disease. Be sure to tell your surgeon about any heart problems and include it in your medical history.
Acne scars, deeper wrinkles and uneven skin color can all be treated with a medium chemical peel.
The chemicals used for this type of peel will remove skin cells from both the outer layer of skin (epidermis) and upper part of your middle layer of skin (dermis).
Agents frequently used for medium depth chemical peeling include TCA (trichloroacetic acid), Jessner’s solution and glycolic acid.
- Your face will be cleansed.
- The chemical solution is brushed onto your skin and left for just a few minutes. You may feel some burning or stinging.
- The treated area may turn a whitish grey color.
- The chemicals are neutralized with a cool saline compress.
- Your skin may turn red or brown in the days just after the peel. The peeling process typically starts within 48 hours and lasts for a week. It is important to keep the skin well moisturized during the peeling process.
When trichloroacetic acid is used in a medium chemical peel, you’ll experience some redness, stinging and flaking of the skin. Commonly, symptoms are similar to those of a deep sunburn.
Although these chemicals won’t bleach your skin, you may see some color changes. You’re advised to avoid the sun and to use sunblock for several months to protect that fresh new layer of skin.
Other medium chemical peel risks include:
- Hyperpigmentation (when too much pigment occurs, causing brown blotches) may result even if you use sunscreen.
- Permanent scarring is another infrequent risk.
- Redness, which occurs in everyone after the peel, may last longer than a few months for some people.
A light chemical peel might be the right choice if you have uneven pigmentation, dryness, acne or fine wrinkling.
This kind of peel removes just the outer layer of skin (epidermis) in a light exfoliation and can result in a healthier glow.
Common agents used in light peels may include combinations of alphahydroxy acids and beta hydroxy acids, such as glycolic acid, lactic acid, salicylic acid and maleic acid. All of these chemicals are the milder choices than those used for deeper peels. You can repeat these treatments at regular intervals to achieve your desired results.
- Your face will be cleansed.
- The chemical solution is brushed onto your skin and left on for a few minutes. You may feel some mild stinging.
- The chemical peel is then washed off and neutralized.
You are likely to experience some redness, stinging, skin flaking and irritation from a light chemical peel.
After repeated treatments, these side effects will likely subside.
Other light chemical peel risks include:
- Hyperpigmentation (when too much pigment occurs, causing brown blotches). Avoid this by always using a high-factor sunscreen.
Prices may also be based on the expertise and qualifications of the person performing the procedure, type of chemical peel performed, time and effort the procedure or treatment requires and the geographic location of the office. chemical peel costs may include:
- Anesthesia fees (when done with anesthesia)
- Prescriptions for medications
- Facility costs
Be sure to ask your surgeon about all costs involved in your procedure.
When choosing a board-certified plastic surgeon in your area for any treatment, remember that the surgeon’s experience and your comfort with him or her are just as important as the final cost of the surgery.