What Is a Chemical Peel?
A chemical peel is a technique used to improve the appearance of the skin on the face, neck, hands or back. A chemical solution is applied to the skin that causes it to exfoliate and eventually peel off. The new, regenerated skin is usually smoother and less wrinkled than the old skin. The new skin is also temporarily more sensitive to the sun.
Glycolic or salicylic acid is applied to penetrate the outer and middle layers of skin to remove damaged skin cells. This treatment is used to improve age spots, fine lines and wrinkles, freckles and moderate skin discoloration.
What Should First Be done Before Considering a Chemical Peel?
A thorough evaluation by a dermatologic surgeon is imperative before embarking upon a chemical peel.
When Is a Chemical Peel Appropriate?
Chemical peels are used to treat several conditions including:
- Acne scars
- Aging skin
- Crow’s feet
- Sun-damaged skin
Who Is Not a Candidate for a Chemical Peel?
Generally light-haired and fair-skinned people are the best candidates for a chemical peel. The procedure does not work as well on dark-skinned patients. The procedure is not recommended for individuals with infections, active skin disease, cut or broken skin, sunburns or active Herpes simplex sores. Other counter-indications include patients who are:
- Nursing or pregnant
- Have taken Accutane in the last six months
- Have psoriasis, eczema, dermatitis or rosacea
- Have used Retin-A, Renova, prescription skin care products, products that contain ascorbic acid, bleaching or skin-lightening agents or other acid-based products in the last 48 hours.
Are Chemical Peels Painful?
Chemical peels sting but do not cause a great deal of pain. In addition to stinging, the procedure may cause redness, irritation, and crusting but as the skin begins to adjust all these problems will lessen.
What Are the Complications or Potential Side Effects of a Chemical Peel?
Peels require seven to fourteen days to heal. Treated skin will initially be red and somewhat swollen. Swelling is most noticeable for the first 48 hours. In rare cases, eyelids may swell shut. Blisters may sometimes form and eventually break. Skin crusts and peels off in seven to fourteen days. Camouflage makeup may be worn after a few days. Your dermatologist will inform you of the benefits and risks during your consultation.