What is a Chemical Peel Procedure?
A chemical peel procedure involves the use of a chemical solution that is applied on the skin and allowed to soak in. This procedure destroys the outermost layers of the skin in a controlled manner; so that new skin can grow in its place. There are 3 types of chemical peels; which include superficial, medium and deep peels.
Superficial peels help improve the appearance of pigment changes in the skin, fine wrinkles, mild sun damage, and acne scars on all skin types. Medium peels are used for treating mild to moderate wrinkles, pigment changes, prolonged sun damage, and precancerous lesions of the skin. Deep peels are used for treating severe wrinkles, prolonged sun damage, prominent pigment changes, and growths and lesions on the skin. Sometimes, this treatment is used in combination with laser resurfacing or dermabrasion for a more dramatic overall effect.
Before the Procedure
The doctor will help you decide the type of chemical solution that is most appropriate, based upon your skin type, area of treatment, results you expect, and the amount of risk you are willing to take. A small “test spot” could be peeled to get an idea of the results, particularly for people with darker complexions.
You will need to start preparing 2 to 3 weeks before the procedure. This includes cleansing the skin twice a day, applying moisturizing cream once or twice a day, and using sunscreen before venturing out in the sun.
During the Procedure
Just before a chemical peel treatment, the skin is cleaned thoroughly. The chemical agent is next applied to the skin, with gauze, a small brush, or a cotton-tipped applicator. The chemical is left on the skin for some time, depending upon the type of chemical used. Alcohol or water may be used in order to neutralize the chemical and end the chemical reaction, after which it is wiped off. You might feel a little burning while the chemical is on the skin. You may be administered an oral sedative and pain relievers. Depending upon the size of the area being treated, the procedure might take 60 to 90 minutes to complete.
Are There Any Side Effects?
Depending upon the type of peel used, this procedure can result in some side effects. The deeper the peel, the greater is the risk of side effects. Common risks include:
- Redness (Erythema)
- Changes in skin color
- Crusting and scaling
- An allergic reaction to the chemicals
- Infections, particularly in people who have a history of herpes outbreaks
- Increased sensitivity to sunlight
Chemical peel treatment, laser resurfacing and dermabrasion are amongst the most commonly used procedures for improving the texture as well as appearance of the skin. Even though these techniques use different methods, they basically have the same effect on the skin. They all destroy and remove the upper layer of skin to allow skin re-growth. No one technique is essentially better than the others. Some people may achieve the best results from a single treatment whereas others might need to use a combination of techniques.