Chemical Peel for Rejuvenation
Although there are a number of different reasons why you might be considering chemical peels, in most cases this will be with the aim of treating scars, skin discoloration or wrinkles – usually on the face. Moreover, it is common for patients to combine the chemical peel process with other surgical procedures.
Prior to going ahead with the process, we would suggest you first read our comprehensive guide. We’ll cover everything you need to consider before, during and after the chemical peel procedure.
In a nutshell, a chemical peel process is performed to improve the appearance of the skin. The surgeon will most commonly apply the solution to the skin, which in turn will make it blister and subsequently, peel off. When the new skin begins to grow back, it will appear smoother, more youthful and ultimately, less wrinkled.
Whilst the common area to have a chemical peel applied is the face, it is also possible to have the procedure done on other area of the skin, such as the hands or neck.
Depending on the results that you are looking to achieve, the procedure can be been done at different depths, notably deep, medium or light. Furthermore, depending on the type of chemical peel process you entail, the chemical solution used by the surgeon can differ.
Ultimately, the deeper the chemical peel you have applied, the better the results. However, this will also mean that recover times are longer.
Here are some of the most common results that a chemical peel may resolve:
- If you suffer from mild scars, their appearance can be improved
- Chemical peel procedure can make the skin feel and look more youthful
- Reducing common skin issues linked to taking birth control pills – such as dark patches
- Certain types of acne can also be treated
- Reducing freckles, age spots or fine lines found around the mouth/eyes
- Wrinkles associated with age or sun damage can be treated
Following the peel, newly grown skin will appear smoother, with a more youthful look.
As briefly mentioned earlier, there are three different skin depths that the surgeon can utilize.
If the surgeon decides to perform a light chemical peel, then the outer layer of your sin will be removed. This particular treatment is most commonly used to treat dry or uneven skin, fine wrinkles and some forms of acne. Some patients engage in light chemical peels on a repeat basis – sometimes as often as every 2-5 weeks.
If you undertake a chemical peel with a medium depth, then the surgeon will most likely remove skin cells from portions of your upper and/or middle layer of skin – otherwise known the dermis. Moreover, medium depth chemical peels also target the epidermis. Targeting issues such as acne scars, uneven skin or winkles, some patients repeat the medium chemical peel process every 3-9 months – with the view of maintaining their results.
A chemical peel that involves a deep depth has the potential to produce the most visible results. However, it also requires the longest recovery period. It generally involves removing portions of the skin from your dermis, as well as skin cells from the epidermis. If you have more severe scars or winkles, then your surgeon might recommend a deep chemical peel. It is important to note that this particular type of chemical peel can only be performed once, so repeat visits should not be necessary.
Who is the chemical peel procedure suitable for?
Some experts believe that those that are light haired and fair skinned are best suited for a chemical peel. However, those with darker skin also have the potential for good results, although depending on the type of procedure, there is the possibility of an uneven skin tone.
Furthermore, if you suffer from bulges, sagging skin or severe wrinkles, then a chemical peel might not be suitable. If this is the case, then the surgeon might suggest an alternative treatment.
Preparing for the procedure
Before being accepted for a chemical peel, you will first need to meet with the surgeon for a brief consultation period. This will initially involve the surgeon asking you a range of questions pertinent to your medical history. The key areas that they will concentrate on is any previous or current heath conditions linked to the kidney, heart or liver. Furthermore, the surgeon will also need to be made aware of any medications that you are currently on, especially those involving the skin.
Next, the surgeon will then be required to perform a brief physical examination. They will inspect your skin, notably its thickness and tone. Once this has been initiated, you will then have the opportunity to discuss the results you are looking to achieve from chemical peels.
Once the surgeon has ascertained the desired results, they will then proceed to explain what chemical peel process they feel is best suited, along with any associated risks -all of which will be discussed.
Depending on your individual circumstances, the surgeon might feel it is necessary to prescribe you with precautionary medication, which you will be required to take in the days prior to treatment. This can include a retinoid cream if you are engaging with a light or medium depth procedure, which it is hoped will reduce the treatment time, as well as accelerate the post-chemical peel healing process.
Other common medication that might be prescribed by the surgeon is a bleaching agent, which will help prevent skin darkening. If these medications are necessary, it is also possible that you will need to take them after the procedure. Nevertheless, all of this will be discussed with you during the consultation process.
During the procedure
The procedural steps associated with chemical peels can vary depending on the patients’ individual circumstances and needs. If you admitted for a light chemical peel, then the surgeon will most likely use a brush, gauze or cotton bail to apply the chemical solution. The solution usually contains salicylic or glycolic acid.
The area of the skin being treated will begin to whiten upon receiving the solution. It is highly likely that you will feel a mild stinging sensation once the solution is applied. In order to remove the chemical solution from the skin, the surgeon will then apply a neutralizing wash.
If you are engaging with a medium chemical peel, then the surgeon might opt for a chemical solution that contains trichloroacetic acid. Moreover, this might be applied in combination with glycolic acid. Once applied, the surgeon will then proceed to apply cool compresses, whereby a stinging sensation might be experienced for up to 20 minutes.
If you are instead opting for a deep depth chemical peel, then you will most likely initially receive intravenous fluids. Next, you will then have a carbolic acid solution applied to your skin, which will then likely turn grey or white. Due to the underlying strength of the carbolic acid – otherwise referred to as phenol, the surgeon will most commonly apply it gradually, possibly in intervals of 15 minutes. This particular chemical peel process will usually take about 1.5 hours.
Recovery and Aftercare
Once the chemical peel procedure is complete, you will then need to follow your surgeon’s instructions regarding your after care. A light chemical peel most commonly results in dry, red and slightly irritated skin, meaning that you will need to apply a protective agent to sooth it.
If you went for a medium depth chemical peel, then on top of the aforementioned specificities, your skin might also feel swollen and you will likely feel a stinging sensation. As well as applying a protective agent to sooth it, the surgeon will also suggest applying ice packs when you get home. Moreover, over-the-counter medications might be also be advised. Although the skin should heal in about 1-2 weeks, the redness around the affected area may take a few months.
If you underwent a deep chemical peel, then the swelling and redness that you experience will feel more severe. Other potential effects might include swelled eyelids, throbbing or burning. Suggested after treatment might include painkillers and the application of dressing – and it will also be recommended that you position your body at a semi-reclined angle when sleeping.
In terms of the length of time it will take your newly developed skin to appear, this usually takes in the region of 2 weeks. However, whilst white spots might appear for several weeks longer, redness might last for months.
Regardless of the type of chemical peeling procedure you undertake, it is highly advisable that you limit your skin’s exposure to the sun. Moreover, it is important that you follow the instructions given to you by the surgeon regarding moisturizing and cleaning the affected area.
The key reason for this is that sun damage can have the undesired effect of reversing the results of a chemical peel and in some cases, it can result in changes to the colour of your skin.
If our comprehensive guide has not answered your concerns, please feel free to call the surgery for a confidential discussion.