There are a variety of chemical peels and laser treatments that are used to exfoliate dead or damaged skin cells and helps your skin look healthier and have a nicer, more radiant glow. They are also called chemoexfoliation or derma-peels. The chemical peels can be divided into superficial, medium and deep chemical peels. The deeper the peel, the more you can expect your skin to rejuvenate.
Chemical peels can be used for the face, neck and hands. They are useful for the treatment of:
More severe wrinkles, bags under the eyes, bulges, and other changes associated with aging, or other skin conditions, may not respond to chemical peels and may require more aggressive treatments such as skin resurfacing with different types of lasers, or surgical procedures like blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery) facelifts, or soft tissue fillers, to correct these problems.
They are usually performed at the doctor's office or perhaps at an out-patient surgical center.
The skin is cleansed thoroughly with a solution to remove excess oils, and the hair and eyes are protected. Then one or more of the chemical solutions are applied to small areas of the skin. These chemicals essentially produce a controlled chemical burn to the skin, removing the old skin, and allowing the regeneration of new skin.
Fair-skinned and light-haired patients are ideal candidates for chemical peels. But dark-skinned patients may also have excellent results, depending upon the type of skin condition being treated.
Your physician will provide you with before and after-treatment instructions, but in general, and depending upon the type of peel you are going to have, antibiotics may need to be prescribed, as well as antiviral medications if you have a history of cold sores.
Most patients experience a warm, stinging sensation that lasts about 5-10 minutes. Cool compresses may be applied to help diminish this stinging sensation. Depending upon the depth of the peel, pain medication may be required.
Peeling usually involves redness and scaling that may last up to seven days. Swelling and blistering may occur with deeper peels. The blisters may break, crust, turn brown and then peel-off after 1-2 weeks.
After deeper peels, you may require bandages in parts or all of the area peeled. Usually they will be used for a few days, depending upon the condition of the skin.
After the peel the skin will be more sensitive to the effects of the sun, and you may need to use a sun block for a few weeks following the procedure, to prevent abnormalities in the color of the skin from taking place. Dermatologists will tell you that it may be a good idea to use a sun block on a daily basis anyway, peel or no peel.
Although most of the outcomes of chemical peels are excellent, the deeper the peel, or the greater the intensity of the skin resurfacing, the greater the potential for complications. The possible complications associated with chemical peels may include:
Do not forget to tell your doctor about your history so that he can start you on medications prior to your peel.
Your physician will provide you with a set of instructions to follow after your procedure. Be aware that, like in any other skin treatment you might have, and in the case of chemical peels, depending upon the depth of your peel, preparation is of the utmost importance to maximize the results: