What Are Chemical Peels?
Too often, chemical peels are vilified as unnatural. The truth is that this attitude stems from fear and a lack of information — and in fact, chemical peels simply speed up one of the skin’s own natural processes.
By removing the top layer or layers of skin, chemical peels stimulate new skin-cell production and clear the way for fresh, beautiful skin to emerge. Peels can be applied in a variety of strengths; Dr. Sadeghi will recommend the best peel procedure for your specific situation.
How Do Chemical Peels Work?
One to three layers of a chemical peel solution is applied to the target area. Depending on the strength of your peel, and the depth of the wrinkles the peel will address, you will feel a burning sensation. Discomfort can be minimized with sedation or pain medications.
The peel solution permeates the top layer or layers of skin, allowing it to gradually slough off. The “new” skin revealed underneath may be pink and tender, but these qualities will fade, leaving radiance and softness.
Concerns and Areas Treated
Chemical peels can treat an area of the face; the full face; or in some cases, the decolletage area. Different peel solutions have different indications.
Risks of Chemical Peels
The deeper the peel, the greater the risk that skin may develop pigmentation abnormalities or scarring as it heals. In addition, deeper peels require a longer healing time and more stringent attention to care, such as regular applications of Vaseline and sunblock.
The glycolic peel is popular with those who are trying peels for the first time, or who need minimal or superficial correction.
After the peel is applied to your skin, it will be allowed to work for a period of a few minutes before being neutralized. Over the following few days, the top layer of skin will gently dry, flake, and fall off, revealing fresh, radiant skin underneath.
Some patients can camouflage peeling with light makeup and Vaseline, while others prefer to enjoy any downtime in solitude. Remember to wear sunscreen and avoid being in the sun throughout your healing process. In fact, we recommend daily application of SPF 35 or higher no matter if you’ve just peeled or not!
Dr. Sadeghi may recommend a course of several glycolic peels to achieve your desired results.
Trichloroacetic Acid (TCA) Peel
TCA peels address superficial issues such as acne blemishes, light pigmentation, and surface wrinkles. A full-face TCA peel takes 30 minutes or less, and will burn somewhat upon application; however, the skin can quickly be cooled with fans. Sedation is also available, if desired.
After treatment, it will take one to two days for the skin to tighten and begin shedding. You may shed the top layer of dead skin for up to three days. In general, most patients experience about a week of downtime, so plan around important social engagements or events.
10 to 14 days after your peel treatment, your skin should be fully healed. You’ll notice an improvement in overall tone and texture, as well as correction of blemishes, pigmentation, and superficial wrinkles. Keeping your skin moist with Vaseline or a similar ointment is important. You’ll need to wear sunscreen throughout the day and avoid being in the sun as you heal.
This peel may be applied to the neck, hands, forearms, and chest as desired or recommended by Dr. Sadeghi.
Phenol-based peels are some of the strongest peels available; for this reason, they are only indicated for patients with deep wrinkles caused by sun exposure, or wrinkles around the mouth and chin.
A full-face phenol peel takes between one and two hours to perform. There may be some burning, but this peel solution acts as an anesthetic, so pain should be minimal. Shortly after application, the peel solution is neutralized with water. The skin will begin to crust over; one hour later, the face is covered with a thick layer of Vaseline OR a thin cloth mask to protect the delicate skin being exposed under the peel.
Pain medication can help alleviate any discomfort resulting from an intensive peel. Immediately after your peel, the fresh skin underneath will be pink and tender; your face may also be puffy. These side effects will subside within a few days — however, the skin will still be sensitive.