For those who want to treat scarred and uneven skin, chemical peels can help. Chemical peels use a chemical solution on the skin to remove dead skin cells on the topmost outer layer of skin. Chemical peels are good for treating skin damaged from sun damage, acne, rosacea, hyper-pigmentation, and dullness. Benefits observed after a successful chemical peel include improvement of fine lines, tighter pores, clearer skin and a healthy glow.
There are Three Kinds of Peels
Chemical peels come in three basic forms: superficial, medium, and deep. Superficial peels are the lightest kind of peel. They’re used to improve mildly afflicted skin suffering from discoloration and roughness.
Medium peels are better suited for people interested in decreasing age spots, wrinkles, and moderate discoloration. Precancerous growths, like actinic keratosis, can also be treated with medium peels.
Deep peels are the most intense peels on the market. These peels deeply penetrate skin to minimize, and in some cases eliminate, damaged skin cells related to scars, freckles and moderate facial lines. Because of their intense nature, a deep peel can only be performed once.
How Chemical Peel Treatments are Performed
Chemical peeling treatments are best performed in an aesthetic clinic. Because they’re outpatient procedures, patients aren’t required to endure an overnight stay.
The cosmetic surgeon preps skin by thoroughly cleaning it, and then applying small applications of chemical solution to the skin. Acids commonly used for this treatment include lactic acid, trichloroacetic acid, salicylic acid, carbolic acid (phenol), and glycolic acid.
A burning sensation is common during the treatment process, as the acids create small wounds to facilitate new skin development. Pain medication may be prescribed to alleviate discomfort during and after deeper peels are performed.
What Happens after Cosmetic Peel Treatments?
During the healing process, skin reacts as if it is sunburned, and therefore must be protected. Expect to experience peeling skin as layers of old skin come of, as well as redness and scaling that lasts between three and seven days.
Because intense peels have a stronger effect on skin, the healing process can be even more striking. Mild peels take about a week to heal. Medium peels can take seven to 14 days, and may include swelling and blisters.
Deep peels can take three weeks to heal, and require bandaging. Deep peels are literally skin burns and are treated as such. In addition to extended healing time, these peels also require antiviral medication and prescribed moisturizers to aid skin and prevent infection.
Careful behaviour after healing is also required. Skin will be extra sensitive to the sun; therefore patients are advised avoid direct sun exposure for several months. High quality sunscreen should be used in the chance they’ll have to step outside in direct sunlight.
Who Should Get a Peel?
Chemical peels generally tend to perform best on patients who with fair skin. This isn’t to say darker skinned patients cannot have peels, they simply have a higher risk of discoloration from treatment.
Chemical treatments do not work particularly well for patients seeking to correct severe wrinkles, bulges or sagging skin. Patients with these challenges may require cosmetic surgery to correct these issues.