The chemical peel treatment is used to remove the outer damaged layer of the skin in face, neck and hands. During the cosmetic procedure of chemical peeling, an acidic solution is applied to the required area, which will exfoliate and eventually peel off the top skin. The skin underneath is then exposed, to become brighter, smoother, softer and less wrinkly than the previous outer layer.
Chemical peels are used to:
● Treat sun damages.
● Improve the appearance of acne scars.
● Reduce ageing spots, freckles, scars and pigmentation.
● Reduce the signs of wrinkles around the eyes and mouth.
● Improve the overall appearance of the skin and brighten it.
Please note that chemical peels cannot help with issues of skin sagging or acute wrinkles.
Generally, chemical peel treatments are best suited for those who have fair skin and light colored hair. Though many patients with dark skin are happy with their results from chemical peeling, chances are higher that the pigmentation of the new skin after chemical peeling may not be satisfactory for some patients.
It is important to sit down with your doctor and make it clear about your expectations from chemical peeling. Your doctor will advise the best suitable method of chemical peeling to help achieve your expected results.
Things to Do
● Stop any hair removal treatments like waxing, threading, epilating or using any hair removal products for at least a week before the scheduled day of treatment.
● Stop taking medications like Renova or glycolic acid for three days before the treatment. The doctor may advise stopping a few other medications too, which may cause complications with the chemical peeling treatment.
● The doctor may recommend a retinoid cream to prevent darkening your skin.
● It is best to stop using any rough exfoliating products or scrubs for a week before the treatment.
Your doctor may prescribe few other medications to help improve the treatment. If you have any issues of cold sores or any other skin condition, inform the doctor during the consultation.
Based on the depth of the chemical peel treatment, your expectations and the current condition of your affected skin, three types of chemical peel treatments can bring the best results.
This treatment is suitable for people who cannot spend too much downtime closed in their homes. A series of light chemical peel treatments provides gradual yet noticeable results over a period. The doctor will decide the frequency of these treatments depending on the skin condition.
Best Suited: The light chemical peel treatment is best suited for those who want to minimize acne scars, mild wrinkles, fine lines, effects of sun damage and improve skin tone.
Acids Used: Weaker peels like fruit acid peels and AHA peels are used.
Skin Appearance: One great advantage is that the patients will not have bright red skin or spots because of the chemical peels. Just a mild pink or reddish skin tone will be visible.
There is a certain downtime with the medium chemical peel treatment and is suitable for skin conditions that require a high-intensity treatment than light chemical peels. There is no need for regular incremental treatments in medium chemical peeling.
Best Suited: Medium chemical peels are generally used to take care of hyperpigmentation, heavy sun damage and moderate wrinkles.
Acids Used: Most of the acidic solutions used with medium chemical peels are the same as that of light chemical peels, but these solutions have increased concentration.
Skin Appearance: Since high concentrated chemicals are used, the skin will become red, swollen or sometimes even blistered. You need to put firth certain post-care steps to reduce such effects and bring back the skin to normal condition.
Deep chemical peels bring better results than the above two types. Nevertheless, they are effective in:
Increasing the brightness of the skin,
Improving the skin texture,
Reducing the harsh effects of skin and wrinkles around the mouth.
Best Suited: This is safer for patients with a light skin tone as dark-skinned people run the risk of uneven skin tones.
Acid Used: Phenol is the preferred chemical used in a deep chemical peel. As phenol is a highly concentrated chemical, it is generally used only on the face as the skin on the neck and hands are much more delicate.
Skin Appearance: There will be visible dark red skin tone and blisters for a significant period. This leads to a large downtime when compared with the other two types of chemical peeling.
The chemical peel treatment is safer when performed by an experienced plastic surgeon or a cosmetic dermatologist. There are also several chemical peel treatments available in salons but prior to visiting any of them, ensure that they follow all the best practices while performing the treatment. Here are some of the side effects of chemical peels.
● There can be some permanent scarring if proper chemicals aren’t used.
● Recently, the use of phenol in deep chemical peels is associated with heart issues.
● Some patients may observe a significant change in the skin color in the treated areas, which results in uneven skin tone.
● Improper treatment methods could lead to fungal or bacterial infections.
● In case one has herpes, they may run the risk of getting cold sores.
The chemical peeling is an outpatient procedure, so you can leave for your home on the same day.
● The expert will clean your skin thoroughly removing all the dirt with a specialized cleansing agent.
● The specialist may use local anesthesia depending on the type of chemical peeling treatment.
● Next, he will apply the chemical solutions, generally with a brush, depending on the depth of the chemical peeling treatment as discussed with you previously.
● The chemical solutions won’t be applied to the entire area but to some specific small areas.
● This process continues until the entire top skin in the specific area is exfoliated off.
You may feel a little burning sensation for some time after the treatment. The doctor may recommend some lotions or ointments to soothe the burning sensation and some painkillers to ease the pain for a few days.
After the treatment, the expert surgeon will ask you to follow certain precautions to prevent any complications or infections. He will advise you to stay away from the sun for a week to four weeks based on the intensity of your treatment. Even after that, he is likely to recommend a sunscreen with a high SPF to prevent sun damage on the new skin.
The recovery time and the reaction to the chemical peel differ based on the kind of chemical peel treatment.
Light Chemical Peel
The recovery time is between three to seven days. You can even wear light makeup after a week of the light peel treatment session.
Medium Chemical Peel
The skin will heal after a week but you may notice redness of the skin for several months. You may also experience some swelling and red blotches, which will generally reduce in a month or so. You may need to undergo this chemical peel again after a period of 6 to 12 months.
Deep Chemical Peel
It may take two weeks for the new skin to develop. In the meantime, you may notice the formation of crusts on the skin, which soon fades off in a month. The redness of the skin stays on for several months and precautionary measures should be followed to take care of the new skin. It is advisable to not go out in the sun until the skin has healed. The results from deep chemical peel can be quite drastic.
When you feel discomfort or irritation, you may use ice packs at home. Following the surgeon’s instructions is essential to get the best benefits from chemical peel treatment. If carried out through an experienced professional, the chemical peel treatment can help to bring back your natural glow, for sure.
The information is being provided by plasticsurgery.in and have no intention to replace the medical advice of your doctor. Please consult your doctor directly for advice about a specific medical condition. This document was last reviewed by Dr. Priti Shukla, Plastic Surgeon on: 12-JUN-2020