Chemical peels are an effective way to improve the health and appearance of your skin, but how do they work? What can you expect from them? In this article, we’ll answer all of your burning questions about chemical peels and give you all the information you need to make an informed decision about whether or not one is right for you.
Chemical peels improve the appearance of the skin. The skin is exposed to a chemical solution, which causes blisters and eventually peels off. This new skin tends to be more flawless and smooth than the previous one.
A chemical peel is a treatment for the face, hands, or neck. They can be used to:
- Easily reduce fine lines and age spots around the eyes and mouth.
- Treat wrinkles caused by aging and sun damage
- To enhance the appearance of minor scars
- Treat certain forms of acne
- Pregnancy-induced age spots, freckles, and dark spots (melasma) can be reduced
- Improve skin’s appearance and feel
- After chemical peeling, sun damaged areas may look better.
After a chemical peel, your skin becomes temporarily more sensitive to the sun, so protect it daily with broad-spectrum sunscreen. It should protect against UVA and UVB rays of the sun. In addition, it should be a physical sunscreen stronger than SPF 30. Limit your time outdoors, especially between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Wear a wide-brimmed hat and limit your time in the sun.
Who Is a Good Candidate For a Chemical Peel?
Patients with fair skin and hair are often good candidates for chemical peels. Darker skin types can also achieve satisfactory results, depending on the problem being treated. However, you may also experience uneven skin tones after the procedure.
Chemical peels do not work well on skin that sags, bulges, and has more severe wrinkles. They may require other cosmetic surgery procedures such as laser resurfacing, a facelift, brow lift, eyelid lift, or soft tissue filler (collagen or fat). A dermatologic surgeon can help you determine the best type of treatment for your condition.
Things You Should Know Before You Get a Chemical Peel
Let your doctor know if you have ever had problems with scars, or with recurrent cold sores, or if you’ve had facial X-rays.
Before a chemical peel, your doctor may tell you to stop taking some drugs and may ask you to do other things like taking Retin-A, Renova, or glycolic acid. The doctor may also prescribe antibiotics or antiviral drugs.
Work with your Doctor to figure out the appropriate depth of peel. This depends on the condition of your skin and your desired outcome of treatment.
In advance, check with your doctor if someone will need to drive you home after the peel.
How Chemical Peels Are Done
A chemical peel can either be done in a surgery center or in a doctor’s office. It’s an outpatient procedure, so you won’t need to stay overnight.
Peels are performed by professionals who start by thoroughly cleaning your skin. Following the application of a glycolic acid solution, a phenol solution, trichloroacetic acid solution, salicylic acid solution, lactic acid solution, or carbolic acid solution is applied to small sections of your skin. In this way, a controlled wound is created, allowing new skin to develop.
During a chemical peel, many people experience a stinging and burning sensation, followed by an annoying feeling that lasts between five and ten minutes. During or after a deeper peel, pain medication may be required. Cool compresses may ease the stinging.
What To Expect After the Chemical Peel Is Done
Peeling normally involves redness followed by scaling that lasts for three to seven days after the procedure. Reactions from chemical peels are similar to sunburn after the procedure. The mild peeling procedure may be repeated one to four times per month until the look you desire is achieved.
Your skin may swell or blister after deep or medium-depth peeling and may take about a week or two to fully heal. However, repeated medium-depth peels are recommended within six to 12 months if needed.
Following a treatment, you may need bandages on part or all of the treated skin for several days.
After getting a chemical peel, it is essential to avoid the sun for several months to ensure that your skin is given time to heal.
After a chemical peel, some skin types may develop a temporary or permanent color change in the skin. Taking birth control pills, after a pregnancy, or having a family history of brown discoloration on the face may make that more likely.
There is a low risk of scarring in certain regions of the face. A few people may be more inclined to scar. However, it can usually be treated successfully.