What does a chemical peel treat?
Chemical peels can be used to treat wrinkles, discolored skin, cutaneous imperfections or superficial scars.
Types of chemical peels
Light Chemical peels: a superficial chemical peel that removes the outermost layer of the skin. This type of peel treats fine wrinkles, acne, uneven skin tones, and dryness.
Medium Chemical peels: a medium chemical peel removes skin cells from the epidermis and from portions of the upper part of the dermis. It is used to treat wrinkles, acne scars, and uneven skin tones.
Deep Chemical peels: A deep chemical peel removes skin cells at the deepest level. This may be recommended to treat deep wrinkles (rhytides), scars, or precancerous growths.
How often should you get a chemical peel?
A light chemical peel can be done every two to five weeks. Medium chemical peels might have to be repeated to achieve the desired result. Typically they should not be repeated more than once per month. Deep chemical peels will typically not need to be repeated very often to achieve the desired result, but can be done in 6 months if needed.
Are chemical peels for everyone?
No. You should not have a chemical peel, without consulting with Dr. Chacon, if you have taken oral acne medications, have a family history of keloids, are pregnant, or have frequent or severe outbreaks of cold sores.
What to expect:
Before a chemical peel, your doctor might recommend for you take an antiviral medication, use a retinoid cream, use a bleaching agent, avoid unprotected sun exposure, avoid certain cosmetic or hair removal products, and maybe arrange for a ride home if you are going to be sedated during the procedure.
During a light chemical peel, your doctor will use either a brush, gauze or a cotton ball to apply the chemical solution, which normally contains glycolic acid or salicylic acid. The treated skin will then begin to whiten. You might feel a mild stinging while the solution is on your skin. Then your doctor will apply a neutralizing solution or wash the solution from the skin.
During a medium chemical peel, your doctor will apply a solution containing trichloroacetic acid, sometimes in combination with glycolic acid. The treated skin will begin to whiten. After a couple of minutes, a cold compress will be applied to soothe the treated skin. You might be given a hand-held fan to cool your skin. This solution will not need to be neutralized, and you might feel stinging for up to 20 minutes.
During a deep chemical peel, you will be given IV fluids and your heart rate will be monitored closely. Your doctor will apply a solution containing carbolic acid to your skin, which will make the skin turn white or gray. The solution will be applied in 15-minute intervals to limit your exposure to phenol. A full facial may take up to 90 minutes.
After a chemical peel of any depth, your skin will be red, tight, irritated, or swollen. Follow your doctor’s directions for sun protection, cleansing, moisturizing, and applying protective ointments to your skin. And avoid picking, rubbing, or scratching your skin. It may take several months before your skin color returns to normal and you can see the full results of the peel.
After a light chemical peel, your skin may be irritated and your doctor might apply a protective ointment. You can usually wear makeup the next day. Treated areas might take up to a week to heal.
After a medium chemical peel, the treated skin will be red and swollen. petroleum jelly can be applied to soothe the skin and prevent dryness. After 5-7 days, makeup can be applied. Ice and over-the-counter pain relief can be used to reduce discomfort. As swelling decreases, treated skin will begin to form a crust and might darken or develop brown blotches. Treated areas take about seven to 14 days to heal after a medium chemical peel, but redness might last for months.
After a deep chemical peel, you’ll experience severe redness and swelling. Your doctor will apply a surgical dressing to the skin. They might also prescribe painkillers. You’ll need to soak the treated skin and apply ointment several times a day for about two weeks. Treated areas will develop new skin within about two weeks after a deep chemical peel, although redness might last for months. Treated skin might become darker or lighter than normal or lose the ability to tan. You might prefer to remain at home while you’re healing from a chemical peel. You’ll likely need several follow-up visits soon after your treatment so that your doctor can monitor your healing. Once new skin completely covers the treated area in about two weeks, you can use cosmetics to conceal any redness. Use sunscreen every day.
When will I see the results?
A light chemical peel improves skin texture and tone and lessens the appearance of fine wrinkles. The results are subtle but increase with repeated treatments. If you have a medium chemical peel, treated skin will be noticeably smoother. After a deep chemical peel, you’ll see a dramatic improvement in the look and feel of treated areas.
Photographs taken before and after, can also help to elucidate results more effectively.