The chemical solutions used for this purpose are trichloroacetic acid (TCA) and alphahydroxy acids (AHAs). The chemical solution causes the outermost layers of the skin to blister and eventually peel off. The new skin is temporarily more sensitive to sunlight.
Conditions that Chemical Peels Treat
Chemical peels can be performed on the face, neck, or hands. Chemical peels:
- Reduce age spots and freckles
- Treat some types of acne
- Improve the appearance of mild scars
- Improve the appearance of dull skin
- Treat Wrinkles
- Reduce fine lines under eyes and around the mouth
How Chemical Peels Are Performed
Chemical peels are performed as an outpatient procedure. First, the skin is thoroughly cleansed in order to remove excess oils. The eyes and hair are protected, and then one or more chemical solutions are applied to small areas of the skin. The chemicals produce a controlled wound, and new, regenerated skin appears in its place.
Types of Chemical Peels
There re two types of chemical peels: superficial peels and medium-depth peels. When a superficial peel is applied, only a portion of the outer layer of the skin (the epidermis) is removed. Superficial peels give the skin a smooth, rejuvenated look, and are ideal for treating uneven skin tone, mild scarring and acne, fine lines, and wrinkles.
Medium-depth peels remove the outer layer of the skin as well as a small portion of the medium layer of the skin (the dermis). Medium-depth peels are recommended for patients with skin discoloration, sun damage, wrinkles, and precancerous spots. After a medium-depth peel, patients are required to wear a face bandage for a day or longer.
What to Expect
At Innovative Vein, patients receive a professional evaluation to assess specific needs and skin types and determine which chemical solution and peel depth is appropriate for their condition. The results of a chemical peel can also be enhanced with other cosmetic procedures such as injection of dermal fillers and laser-based rejuvenation techniques.
During a chemical peel, patients feel a warm or hot sensation that lasts for five to ten minutes. The warm sensation will be followed by a stinging sensation. Cool compresses can be applied to alleviate the stinging. For patients who choose a medium-depth peel, pain mediation may be recommended to alleviate discomfort.
After a mild chemical peel, skin reacts as if it has been sunburned. There will be redness, followed by scaling and peeling. Medium-depth peels can result in swelling, plus water blisters may develop. Mild or superficial peels can be repeated in one to four weeks until the desired results are achieved; medium-depth peels can only be repeated every six to twelve months.
The risks of chemical peels include the development of temporary or permanent skin color change and scars in certain areas of the face. For patients with a history of herpes outbreaks, cold sores may be reactivated after a chemical peel. Chemical peels from an unqualified provider carry a greater risk of developing unwanted side effects such as infections, permanent skin scarring, and discoloration.