A chemical peel is the application of a chemical solution to the skin to improve its appearance. It causes the top layers of skin to peel off leading to new skin which is smoother, less wrinkled, and more even in color. Chemical peels are usually used to improve areas of photodamage like wrinkling, brown spots (lentigines), keratoses (small scaly growths), telangiectasia (broken blood vessels), loss of elasticity, and sallow color. Sometimes chemical peels are combined with other procedures to improve such photodamage. A consultation in our office can help determine what combination of treatments is best for your skin type. Chemical peels reduce fine lines and wrinkling of the face, can treat mild scarring due to acne, decrease skin discoloration such as brown spots and blotchiness, and refresh the skin texture and color leading to smoother and more youthful appearing skin.
Different chemical peels use different chemicals to achieve similar results. Examples are glycolic acid, Beta-Lift peel, and trichloroacetic acid.
Before you come to the office, you may be instructed to discontinue certain topical medications prior to the chemical peel. Once in the office, your skin is cleansed and prepped to remove excess oils. There are various types of chemicals which can be applied and depending on your degree of sun damage or scarring, the correct peeling agent for you will be determined. Next, the chemical is applied to your skin and you may experience some stinging and warmth on the skin surface. The skin is then cleansed once again with water or a special neutralizing agent and a sunscreen/moisturizer is applied to protect your skin. The new skin is also temporarily more sensitive to the sun. This treatment may be repeated monthly or not at all, depending on the results you achieve.
We often recommend pre-treatment and post-treatment of your face with various creams to help the effect of the chemical peel last for a longer period of time.