Chemical peeling is a technique used to rejuvenate and improve the appearance of the skin. With this treatment, a chemical solution is applied to the skin, which causes the surface layers to separate and eventually peel off. The new rejuvenated skin is usually smoother with improvement of the color and texture.
Thousands of chemical peels are performed each year. Dermatologic surgeons have used various peeling agents for the past hundred years and are experts in performing multiple types of chemical peels. Chemical peels are an integral part in aiding rejuvenation of the skin and slowing the effects of the aging process.
WHAT CAN CHEMICAL PEELS DO?
Chemical peeling is often used to treat fine lines around the eyes. It helps correct sun damage in the form of pigmentation such as sunspots, age spots, liver spots, freckles and blotchiness due to taking birth control pills. Skin that is dull in texture and color may be improved with chemical peeling. Areas of sun damaged skin, precancerous keratoses and scaly patches may improve after chemical peeling. Patients with active acne may benefit from superficial chemical peels. Acne may be caused by the accumulation of dead skin cells in the pores of the skin and light chemical peels may remove these cells and open up the pores, making it easier for acne medications to penetrate into the pores. Chemical peels combined with other anti-aging treatments and products will help to rejuvenate your skin improving the color and texture of the skin.
LIMITATIONS OF CHEMICAL PEELS
Chemical peels cannot remove loose or sagging skin and do not serve the same function as a face-lift, brow-lift or eyelid-lift. Chemical peeling will not improve deep scars. CO2 laser resurfacing, punch grafting, punch excision, or dermabrasion are more effective for this. Chemical peeling cannot change pore size, nor can it remove broken blood vessels on the face. However, chemical peels may improve the appearance of these conditions.
HOW IS THE CHEMICAL PEEL PERFORMED?
The procedure may be performed on the face, neck, chest, hands, and arms. Superficial, medium, or deep peels may be indicated depending on the individual’s amount of sun damage. As a rule, the deeper the peel, the longer the recovery time, and these are usually indicated only for the most severe sun-damaged skin. Prior to treatment, patients often discontinue certain topical medications such as vitamin A creams or glycolic acid products a few days prior to the peel. Often these medications are used as a pretreatment preparation for the chemical peel.
The skin is thoroughly cleansed with an agent that removes the excess oils. The physician may use any one of a number of chemical peeling agents. Generally, the types of acids used would include glycolic acid, tricholoroacetic acid of varying concentrations, and salicylic acid or a combination of the various acids.
During a chemical peel, the physician applies the solution to the skin. The application produces separation and eventual peeling of layers of the skin, enabling new regenerated skin to appear. During the procedure, most of the patients experience a warm somewhat hot sensation, which usually lasts about five to ten minutes, followed by a stinging, sunburn sensation.
RESURFACING OF NONFACIAL SKIN
The Cook Total Body Peel has been designed to improve sun damage on nonfacial skin. This technique uses a combination of glycolic acid gel and TCA (trichloroacetic acid). Neutralization of this peel permits precise limitation of the depth of the peel. The Cook Total Body Peel can be applied to the neck, chest, arms and hands. Wrinkling is reduced, pigmentation, such as age spots, is greatly reduced, and the skin texture is smoother. The skin appears more even in color and texture.
EXPECTATIONS AFTER A CHEMICAL PEEL
Depending on the type of chemical peel, a reaction similar to a mild to severe sunburn usually occurs. Superficial peeling usually involves redness, followed by mild flaking that usually ends within one to five days. A medium depth chemical peel may result in swelling, tightness of the skin and the surface of the skin may turn brown. The brown top layers peel off over a period of seven to ten days.
It is important to avoid sun exposure for several weeks to months after a chemical peel since the new skin is fragile and more susceptible to injury.
WHAT ARE POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONS?
In darker skin types patients may develop a permanent color change to the skin. The use of birth control pills or pre-existing skin discoloration may increase the possibility of developing abnormal pigmentation.
Although low, there is the risk of scarring after any type of facial rejuvenation including chemical peels.
There is a small risk of infection. Usually this would be a reactivation of cold sores or herpes simplex infection. Therefore, it is important to inform Dr. Cox of any previous history of cold sores, unusual healing tendencies or a predisposition to scarring, or extensive past history of x-ray or radiation exposure to the face.
During your consultation with one of our providers, your skin type will be evaluated and we will discuss the most appropriate treatment for your skin.