Chemical peels are a popular method of treating a variety of different skin issues and conditions. These minimally invasive procedures consist of using chemicals to encourage the skin to peel off, exposing the smoother, softer and newer layer of skin underneath. The type and strength of the acid solution used depends on what is being treated. For the right kind of patient, chemical exfoliation can be an effective method of making the skin feel smoother and look younger.
There are three forms of chemical peel treatments you can pursue.
Superficial Chemical Peel
This is a mild treatment where the doctor will apply a gentle chemical solution on the desired area which will only peel back the top layer of skin. Recovery ranges from 1-7 days. Common side effects include redness of the skin.
Medium Chemical Peel
This uses a stronger form of acid on the skin, encouraging the top and middle layers to peel off. Recovery may range from seven to 14 days and includes antiviral medication. Common side effects may include redness, swelling and blistering.
Deep Chemical Peel
This one-time procedure penetrates through to the middle layers of the skin. The recovery period is between 14 to 21 days and includes bandaging of the area, along with specialized skin care routines and a regiment of antiviral medication.
What Can Chemical Peels Treat?
Your dermatologist may decide to utilize a chemical peel for one or more common skin conditions.
- aging skin
- active acne and acne scarring
- sags and wrinkles
- sun damage, dark spots, and freckles
- crow’s feet
What To Expect
Most patients experience a slight stinging sensation during the chemical exfoliation process. The degree of stinging felt depends on the type of peel you are having done. A mild solution will probably not induce as much stinging as a stronger one. Side effects and risks are generally mild. You may experience some irritation or swelling afterward. Your doctor may give you a prescription or recommend over-the-counter solutions to counteract redness and swelling.
After your treatment, your doctor will give you instructions as to how to care for your skin. This includes applying a strong layer of sunscreen to protect the newly exposed layer of skin, as well as avoiding smoking. It is important to follow all of the post-treatment care instructions that your dermatologist gives to you. By using sunscreen and avoiding smoking, you reduce the risk of infection and scarring.