Chemical peels are designed to enhance skin quality by removing its damaged outer layers, in order to create a smoother surface and improve its texture. It can treat the face, neck, chest, arms, hands, and legs. This cosmetic treatment may be useful for individuals with facial blemishes, wrinkles, uneven pigmentation, precancerous skin growths, and acne. The most commonly-used chemical solutions are: Alphahydroxy acids (AHAs), trichloroacetic acid (TCA), and phenol peels.
Learn more about the Chemical Peel procedure in our Plastic Surgery Forum.
1 to 2 Hours
Temporary sun sensitivity, redness, burning, itching, pain, and discomfort (degree may vary with each peel).
Moderate discomfort and mild swelling should subside within the first week. Patients should use a broad-spectrum sunscreen everyday and avoid sun exposure unless adequately protected. Return to work: 1 week to 10 days (the skin will be healed enough to wear makeup).
Permanent discoloration, infection, and scarring (risks vary with the type and depth of the peel)
From subtle to dramatic results, AHA, TCA, and phenol peels offer temporary to long-lasting results; although not immune to sun damage and the effects of aging.
About two to three weeks before getting a chemical peel, a patient must prepare the skin by cleansing it twice a day, applying a special moisturizer and sunscreen, and if recommended by a doctor, take tretinoin (Retin-A) every day. First the skin is thoroughly cleansed with an agent that will remove excess oils, whilst protecting the hair and skin. Depending on your condition, the chemical peel solution can be applied to the entire face or specific regions, such as the “crow’s feet” area or near the nasolabial folds. It is applied using a sponge, cotton pad or depending on the size of the area, a cotton swab or brush. The doctor carefully observes the skin and, based on the changes, determines how long the solution should stay on.