Have you ever wondered how some celebrities suddenly look years younger without going under the knife? The secret to it all are chemical peels, which offer beautifying results with no surgery involved. By invigorating the collagen, they tighten the texture of your skin to fight fine lines, wrinkles, discoloration and the other major signs of aging for a younger, healthier look without all the fuss or recovery time.
Benefits of Chemical Peels
There are a number of reasons people may get chemical peels. They may be trying to treat a variety of things, including:
Wrinkles and fine lines
Uneven skin tone or redness
Types of Chemical Peels
Superficial peels, which use mild acids like alpha-hydroxy acid to gently exfoliate. It only penetrates the outermost layer of skin. The treatment is used to improve the appearance of mild skin discoloration and rough skin as well as to refresh the face, neck, chest or hands.
Medium peels, which use trichloroacetic (35 percent or less) or glycolic acid to reach the middle and outer layer of skills. This makes it more effective for removing damaged skin cells. The treatment is used to improve age spots, fine lines and wrinkles, freckles and moderate skin discoloration. It also can be used to smooth rough skin and treat some precancerous skin growths, i.e. actinic keratosis.
Deep peels, which fully penetrate the middle layer of the skin to remove damaged skin cells; these peels often use phenol or tricholoracetic acid (50-70%). The treatment removes moderate lines, age spots, freckles and shallow scars. Patients will see a dramatic improvement in skin appearance. The procedure is used on the face and only can be performed once.
The deeper the peel, the better the result. However, with deeper treatments expect more cost, more discomfort, a longer downtime, and more potential risk. Superficial peels have no downtime and are comfortably performed in the office setting.
What are the complications or potential side effects of a chemical peel?
Temporary or permanent change in skin color, particularly for women on birth control pills, who subsequently become pregnant or have a history of brownish facial discoloration.
Reactivation of cold sores
What can I expect after having a chemical peel?
All peels require some follow-up care:
Superficial peels require 1-7 days to heal. Treated skin will initially be red and may scale. Moisturizer should be applied until the skin heals, followed by daily use of sunscreen. Makeup can usually be worn the next day.
Medium peels require 7-14 days to heal. Treated skin will initially be red and swollen. Swelling worsens for the first 48 hours. Eyelids may swell shut. Blisters may form and break. Skin crusts and peels off in seven to 14 days. Skin must be soaked daily for a specified period, followed by ointment application. Antiviral medication is taken for 10 to 14 days. Moisurizer may be applied. Completely avoid all sun exposure until healing is complete. Camouflage makeup may be worn after one week. A follow-up appointment will be necessary to monitor progress.
Deep peels require 14-21 days to heal. The treated area will be bandaged. Skin must be soaked four to six times daily, followed by ointment application for the first 14 days. Afterwards a thick moisturizer is applied for the next 14 days. Antiviral medication is taken for 10 to 14 days. Mild lotion or cream may be applied. Avoid all sun exposure for three to six months. Camouflage makeup may be worn after 14 days. Several follow-up appointments will be necessary to monitor progress.
Sun exposure and smoking after a chemical peel must be avoided because they can cause unwanted side effects, including infection and scarring.