Chemical peeling

Chemical peeling, also known as chemo-exfoliation or derma peeling, is a technique that uses chemical solutions to improve and soften the firmness of facial skin by removing damaged outer layers.

Dermatologists and plastic surgeons use special formulas that are tailored to the needs of your face. Chemical peels are a way to accelerate the growth of a new layer of skin that is smoother and looks younger.

Am I a candidate for a chemical peel?

Chemical peels are most often done for cosmetic reasons, to improve appearance and self-confidence, but can also be recommended to remove the accelerated skin growth seen in pre-skin cancer cases or to soften facial acne scars.
The best way to determine if you are a candidate for chemical peels is to consult with a dermatologist who specializes in plastic surgery.
Chemical peels are a good option for you in the following cases:

  • Be physically healthy
  • Have mild to moderate or severe aging
  • Have facial acne scars
  • Have specific but realistic goals in mind to improve your appearance.

How do I prepare for chemical peels?

Your preparation for chemical peels depends on the type of peeling treatment you are considering.
Your doctor will prescribe Retin-A, a product of vitamin A, to prepare you for your treatment. This drug regulates the surface layer of the skin, allowing the TCA or phenol solution to penetrate deeper and more symmetrically. If your skin does not tolerate Retin-A pretreatment, AHA cream may be used.

Hydroquinone, which is a whitening agent, is sometimes used in combination with Retin-A or AHA, especially if your skin has blemished areas or pigmentation problems. This type of treatment can take up to a month before your doctor makes the final treatment.

If you are going to have a deeper phenol or TCA peel, you will need to have someone with you to take you home and be with you for 1-2 days. Chemical peels are sometimes performed under local anesthesia or relief.

Your preparation for chemical peels also includes:

  • Laboratory tests or a clinical evaluation
  • Taking certain medications or adjusting medications
  • Stop smoking before peeling treatment

How is chemical peeling done?

Chemical peels are usually performed on an outpatient basis. Full face peeling with TCA, AHA usually takes 30 minutes.
Exfoliation of the whole face with phenol takes about 1-2 hours, while exfoliation of small parts of the face such as the upper lip can take 10-15 minutes.

The skin is thoroughly cleansed with an agent that removes excess oils and protects the eyes and hair. Depending on your skin needs, one or more chemical solutions such as glycolic acid, trichloroacetic acid, salicylic acid, lactic acid or carbolic acid (phenol) are used to exfoliate. During a chemical peel, the doctor applies the solution to small areas on the skin. These applications produce a controlled wound that makes new skin appear.

During this treatment, most patients experience a warm, somewhat hot sensation that lasts for 5-10 minutes, followed by a stinging sensation. Cold compresses may be used to help relieve the bite. A deeper exfoliation may require analgesia during or after treatment.

What are the different types of chemical peels?

There are three different types of chemical peels:
superficial peels, such as glycolic acid, lactic acid or acidic fruits, which are the mildest peeling compounds and cause light peeling. These types of exfoliators are used by skin care beauticians and can create softer skin with a lighter appearance. These are best in cases where you can not tolerate the time required to recover from phenol or TCA. AHA peels may be used to treat mild wrinkles, asymmetric pigmentation areas and acne. Different concentrations of an AHA It may be used weekly or at longer intervals to achieve the best results. An alpha hydroxy acid, such as glycolic acid, can be used with a face wash or cream in lower concentrations as part of a daily skin care regimen to improve skin firmness.

Trichloroacetic exfoliators , blue peels or medium peels, can be used in many concentrations, but are most commonly used for medium-depth exfoliation to treat thinner surface wrinkles and superficial pigment changes. The results of TCA peels are usually less significant and are not as durable as phenol peels and may require more than one TCA peeler to achieve the desired result. Recovery from a TCA peel is usually shorter than a phenol peel.

Phenol or deep peeling is the strongest chemical solution and creates a medium or deep peeling. This solution is intentionally used to treat thick wrinkles, blemishes or skin lesions caused by sun exposure or pre-cancerous growths. Because phenol can sometimes lighten treated areas, your skin pigmentation may be a determining factor in whether or not this treatment is right for you. Phenol is intentionally applied to the face and can cause scarring if applied to the neck or other areas of the body.

What results can be expected?

Your peeling results depend on the peeling treatment used:

  • AHA (superficial) peels improve the skin, which may be very minor at first. At first you will notice a healthier appearance on your skin and with repeated treatment you will notice an overall improvement in the consistency of your skin.
  • TCA (medium) peels on the skin result in a much smoother, fresher appearance. However, the results of a TCA peel are usually not as durable as phenol peels.
  • Phenol peels (medium or deep) lead to significant improvement in the surface of your skin, less slight wrinkles, fewer pigment changes, and much firmer skin. Your results are durable but not resistant to the effects of aging and sun exposure.

Lifetime protection from sunlight is the key to maintaining your results.
Follow-up with an expert in this area is the best way to ensure the long-term results following your chemical peels.

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