Chemical peeling uses a chemical solution to improve and smooth the texture of the facial skin by removing the skin's damaged outer layers. It is helpful for those individuals with facial blemishes, wrinkles and uneven skin pigmentation.
Phenol, trichloroacetic acid (TCA) and alphahydroxy acids (AHAs) are used for this purpose. The precise formula used are adjusted to meet each patient's needs.
Although chemical peels may be performed in conjunction with a facelift, it is not a substitute for such surgery, nor will it prevent or slow the aging process.
A chemical peel is most commonly performed for cosmetic reasons -- to enhance the appearance and self confidence. Chemical peeling may also remove pre-cancerous skin growths, soften acne facial scars and help control acne.
Chemical peeling is especially useful for the fine wrinkles on cheeks, forehead, around the eyes, and vertical wrinkles around the mouth.
There are basically three types of chemical peels:
1. deep peels (phenol)
2. medium depth peels (TCA)
3. and light peels (alpha hydroxy acid)
Deep phenol peels are used to get rid of very deep lines in the upper lip, usually in older individuals.
Medium depth chemical peels (TCA) are used to remove deep skin blemishes, sun spots, and refreshen and rejuvenate the skin. These are used on the full face.
Alpha hydroxy acid peels peels are usually done in a series of 6-8 treatments which are performed in the office. These treatments re-freshen the skin by exfoliating only the very outer layers of the skin. These can be done on a lunch hour and patients are able to go back to work immediately. There is only minimal redness lasting approximately one day. These are very light peels.
The medium depth peels and deep peels are done in the operating room under intravenous sedation and local anesthesia.
Recovery time for these peels can last from 2 weeks to 2 months, depending upon how deep the peel has been done.
Once the skin is anesthetized, the chemical peeling agent is placed on the skin for peeling. Antibiotic ointment is applied thereafter to prevent infection.
If you have further questions about Chemical Peels, please feel free to contact our office.
The anesthesia used is a local anesthetic with intravenous sedation. Light chemical peels require no topical anesthetic at all.
The postoperative course for peeling really depends upon how deep the peel is performed. The deeper the peel, the better the result; however the more prolonged the healing process is. The peeled areas first become scabbed over, then once the scabs fall off (in 1 week), makeup can be used for camoflage over the new pink skin.
The skin appears pink like a sunburn for several weeks until full healing takes place. Chemical peels are not painful, but uncomfortable in the postop recovery phase. Pain medications are given and used as needed. Patients are generally able to get back to their normal lifestyle within 2-3 weeks after a deep peel, sooner if the peel is done lighter.