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Chemical peeling is a technique used to improve the appearance of the skin that is typically performed on the face, neck or hands. In this treatment, a chemical solution is applied to the skin that 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 is also temporarily more sensitive to the sun.

What can a chemical peel do?

Chemical peeling is often used to treat

  1. Fine lines under the eyes and around the mouth. Wrinkles caused by sun damage, aging and hereditary factors can often be reduced or even eliminated with this procedure. However, sags, bulges and more severe wrinkles do not respond well to peeling and may require other kinds of cosmetic surgical procedures such as a facelift, brow lift, eye lift or soft-tissue filler.
  2. Mild scarring and certain types of acne also can be treated with chemical peels.
  1. Pigmentation of the skin in the form of sun spots, age spots, freckles and skin that is dull in texture and color may be improved with chemical peeling.
  1. Chemical peeling may be combined with laser resurfacing, dermabrasion or soft-tissue fillers to achieve cost-effective skin rejuvenation customized to the needs of the individual patient.
  1. Areas of sun-damaged, precancerous keratoses or scaling patches may improve after chemical peeling. Following treatment, new lesions or patches are less likely to appear. Generally, fair-skinned and light-haired patients are ideal candidates for chemical peels. Darker skin types may also experience good results depending upon the type of skin problem encountered.

How are chemical peels performed?

Prior to surgery, instructions may include the elimination of certain drugs and the preparation of the skin with topical pre-conditioning medications. The patient may be advised to clean the area with an antiseptic soap the day before surgery.

A chemical peel is performed in our office as an outpatient procedure. At the time of treatment, the skin is thoroughly cleansed with an agent that removes excess oils, and the eyes and hair are protected. One or more chemical solutions – an alpha hydroxy acid, such as glycolic acid, salicylic acid, or lactic acid; trichloroacetic acid (TCA); or carbolic acid (phenol) – are used. .. During a chemical peel, we apply t he solution to small areas on the skin. These applications produce a controlled wound, enabling new, refreshed skin to appear. Most patients experience a warm to somewhat hot sensation that lasts about five to 10 minutes, followed by a stinging sensation. A deeper peel may require pain medication during or after the procedure.

What should be expected after treatment?

Depending upon the type of peel, a reaction similar to a sunburn occurs following a chemical peel. Superficial peeling usually involves redness, followed by scaling that ends within three to seven days. Medium-depth and deep peeling may result in swelling and the presence of water blisters that may break, crust, turn brown and peel off over a period of seven to 14 days. Some peels may require bandages to be placed on part or all of the skin that is treated. Bandages are usually removed in several days and may improve the effectiveness of the treatment. It is important to avoid overexposure to the sun after a chemical peel since the new skin is fragile and more susceptible to complications.

There are 3 types of peels depending upon the agent used for peeling and its percentage.

Superficial peels:

Superficial peels are used to remove skin cells from the top layer of the skin (epidermis). They can be performed by some qualified beauty therapists, as well as medical staff.

A superficial peel is only left on the skin for a few minutes. Afterwards, your skin may feel tight for a couple of hours.

Regular treatment is needed to maintain the effects of a superficial peel, which are temporary.

Medium peels

Medium peels are used to remove skin cells from both the top and middle layers of the skin (the upper part of the dermis). They should be performed by qualified healthcare professionals.

Medium peels are only left on the skin for a few minutes. You may experience a burning or stinging sensation during the application of the peel, and the skin may go brown or red in the days afterwards. It can take up to six weeks for the skin to return to normal.

Treatment is required every 6 to 12 months to maintain the effect.

Deep peels

Deep peels affect the skin right down to the lower part of the dermis. The procedure should be carried out by a healthcare professional with relevant skills and experience.

local anaesthetic and a sedative may be needed during treatment. While the peel is applied, you may experience a freezing sensation. The peel can be left on the face for up to 30 minutes or more, depending on the desired effect.

There will be some peeling, redness and discomfort for a few days, depending on the type of peel used. Some people experience swelling for up to two weeks, and skin redness can last up to three months.

A deep peel is a one-off treatment with lasting effects, so it doesn’t usually need to be repeated.


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