Chemical peel uses a chemical solution to improve and smooth the texture of the facial skin by removing its damaged outer layers. It is helpful for those individuals with facial blemishes, wrinkles and uneven skin pigmentation. The precise formula used may be adjusted to meet each patient’s needs.
A chemical peel can restore a more youthful appearance to wrinkled, unevenly pigmented, sun-damaged, or blotchy skin. However, a peel cannot reverse the aging process or completely remove deep scars. Deciding if chemical peel is right for you.
Chemical peel is most commonly performed for cosmetic reasons — to enhance your appearance and your self confidence. Chemical peel may also remove pre-cancerous skin growths, soften acne facial scars and even control acne. Chemical peel is especially useful for the fine wrinkles on cheeks, forehead, and around the eyes, and the vertical wrinkles around the mouth. The chemical solution can be applied to the entire face, or to a specific area. During the procedure, most people feel a brief burning sensation, followed by a feeling of numbness or stinging. The sensation will vary depending on the type of peel as well as the possible of pain medications in the case of deep peels. The AHA, BHA and TCA peeks are uncomfortable only during treatment. The phenol peel may have discomfort after the procedure.
What can I expect after a chemical peel?
After a chemical peel, most people experience some facial swelling and reddening. Your doctor may advise you to keep your head elevated. The recovery period is different for each type of chemical peel. Here’s what you might expect:
- Light peels — Generally cause some flaking, redness and dryness, or skin irritation. These side effects diminish over time. Once the body heals itself naturally, the outer layer of skin will fall away. Patients are usually able to engage in normal public activities the day after a light peel.
- Medium peels — May cause significant swelling, depending on the potency of the chemical solution that was used. Swelling should diminish after the first week. The skin will heal sufficiently to resume normal activities in approximately 7-10 days Deep peels — Your doctor may prescribe a mild pain medication to relieve any discomfort. If a waterproof adhesive is applied to the treated area, it will be removed in 1-2 days, and you’ll be instructed to cover the area with antiseptic powder several times a day. A scab will form and, within 7-10 days, new skin will form. While the skin will be red at first, the color will lighten over a few weeks to a few months.
After any peel, it is critically important that the skin be protected from the sun. Ask your doctor to recommend a sun block with both UVA and UVB protection, and apply it daily. After the procedure, the doctor may recommend that the patient stop smoking for at least a week. Smoking decreases circulation of the blood in the skin, which can slow your recovery.