The term Chemical Peels refers to a group of cosmetic treatments involving the application of a mild acid to the surface of the skin. Usually derived from a from a botanical source, the acid will break down the bonds holding onto dead skin cells, As these are sloughed off, the top layer of skin will eventually ‘peel’ (hence the name of the technique). New cells can then rise to the surface of the skin, providing a brighter complexion, smoother appearance, and a more even skin tone. A Chemical Peel can reduce the fine lines and wrinkles that appear with age, eliminate deep acne scarring, sun damage, and even area of discoloration/pigmentation.
A Chemical Peel may contain one or more of the following:
- Glycolic Acid
- Salicylic Acid
- Lactic Acid
- Fruit Enzymes
- Tartaric Acid
- Carbolic Acid
- Trichloracetic Acid
American Self Plastic Surgery and Orthopaedics offers several different types of Chemical Peels. These can include the VI Peel, Vitalize Peel, Obaji Blue Peel, Micro Laser Peel, and the Skin Medica Peel. At the consultation appointment, it will be determined which chemical peel is right for an individual’s unique situation. At this time, a personalized treatment plan will be created, tailored to the patient’s aesthetic needs and want.
Three Depths of Chemical Peels:
- Light; requiring minimal recovery time of one to seven days
- Medium; the recovery time required is between seven to fourteen days
- Deep; an intense peel that will take between 14 – 21 days to recovery
The Ideal Candidate for a Chemical Peel:
Patients seeking an improvement in their skin’s texture, tone, and elasticity may benefit from a Chemical Peel. Potential patients should be in good health overall, understand the chemical peel process, and hold realistic expectations for the procedure. There is a chemical peel available to treat most any skin type and ethnicity.
Chemical Peel Techniques:
Once the skin is cleaned and prepped, the chemical solution will be gently placed on the face. The amount of time the chemical sits on the face will determine the depth of correction obtained. Some peels will be removed from the skin after 15 to 30 minutes, while others will require the patient to finish the peel process at home, after several hours.
While not all peels require pretreatment of the skin, the deeper treatments often will. This may include the avoidance of sun exposure and waxing the week before treatment, or the application of a product such as Retin-A, prior to the procedure. During the consultation appointment, specific instructions on pre-treatments will be reviewed.
The Results from a Chemical Peel:
Two to three days after the application of a Chemical Peel, the skin will begin to peel. This may continue from three to twenty-one days, depending on the depth of treatment. The face may initially be mildly swollen and red. It is not uncommon for the tissue to feel tight, as well.
While the skin is in the healing process, patients should avoid sun exposure, and always wear a sunscreen with an SPF 30 or higher. The face should also remain hydrated. The post-treatment instructions will clearly explain the products that are safe to use during this time. Makeup should not be worn until the initial healing phase has passed.
The benefits form a Chemical Peel can be seen once the skin has started to heal, usually between 7 and 14 days after treatment. The depth of a peel will determine how long the results will last. A light, ‘lunch time’ peel will only remove the most superficial layer of skin, so it will need to be repeated in several weeks later. A deep Chemical Peel can provide excellent results that will last from 6 months to a year.
Risks of a Chemical Peel:
As there are several different types of Chemical Peel, some more aggressive than others, and the risks involved can vary. While they are all considered safe when applied by an experienced cosmetic surgeon or esthetician, there is still the chance for complications to occur. Side effects and risks can include redness (lasting several months), scarring, changes in skin color, and acne breakouts.
Chemical Peel FAQ:
Chemical Peels are not painful, although patients may feel a strong tingling or burning sensation.
Dr. Hillelson’s Chemical Peel procedures normally take between 30 and 60 minutes in the office.
During the healing stage, following a Chemical Peel, the face should be kept clean and makeup free. The length of recovery time needed will vary according to the strength of the Chemical Peel.
Superficial Chemical Peels may need to be repeated more often, while deep peels will not require a second procedure for six to 12 months.