A chemical peel is a non-invasive method of improving the appearance of your skin through the application of a chemical solution. The solution peels away the damaged outer layers of your skin, leaving you with fresh, new skin that is smooth and youthful-looking.
How Are Chemical Peels Performed?
Chemical peels are mostly reserved for the face, though sometimes they are used on the neck and hands. They can reduce or eliminate age and liver spots, acne scars, wrinkles, freckles, scars, sun-damaged skin, rough and scaly skin and irregular skin pigmentation.
Chemical peels work best on people with fair skin and light hair. Those with darker skin are more likely to end up with an uneven skin tone following the procedure.
During a chemical peel, a solution is applied to your skin to remove the damaged outer layers. There are three types of chemicals used, depending on the extent of your procedure.
Alpha hydroxy Acid
Dermatologists use alpha hydroxy acids for a light chemical peel. This type of peel removes only the outer layer of skin (the epidermis) and is a good choice for individuals with uneven skin pigmentation, acne scars, dryness and fine wrinkles. Treatments can be repeated once a week for up to six weeks to achieve results.
Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) is used for a medium chemical peel. This treatment removes both the outer and upper layers of the middle layer (the dermis). It’s best for those with deeper wrinkles, acne scars and uneven skin pigmentation. A medium chemical peel can be repeated every six to 12 months to maintain the results.
A deep chemical peel uses phenol, the most robust chemical solution available, to penetrate down to the lowest layers of your skin. It is reserved for deep facial wrinkles, scars, sun-damaged skin, blotchiness and pre-cancerous growths.
Pretreatment with Retin A or a similar medication is often recommended to condition your skin for treatment and speed up the healing process. Deep chemical peels offer dramatic solutions and may require anesthesia and a sedative and have the longest recovery time.
Are There Risks with Chemical Peels?
Side effects vary depending on the chemical solution used. You may experience anything from a little burning or stinging and skin redness to pain, discomfort and swelling.
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