Chemical peels are an aesthetic treatment that involves applying a special chemical solution to the skin, which causes the topmost layers to peel off. During the healing process that follows, the layers lost during treatment are replaced by new, healthier skin. Chemical peels are effective for addressing a variety of skin issues:
- Age spots
- Wrinkles or fine lines
- Uneven complexion
- Acne scars
- Sun damage
Who Is An Ideal Chemical Peel Candidate?
Chemical peels are used for people of all ages, and they can be applied to the hands, arms, chest, face and neck. Although these treatments are available to nearly anyone, it’s important to consider your skin color and type. Ideal candidates have thin, fair skin that tends to wrinkle and scar easily. Stronger types of chemical peels are not suggested for people with deeply-pigmented skin, including those of Asian, Mediterranean of African descent.
Chemical peels can help fade, minimize or even eliminate fine lines, wrinkles, and other surface blemishes. However, it’s important to have realistic expectations for the results. These treatments don’t give you flawless skin. They only improve your current skin. You should consult with our medical team to determine what’s right for you.
What Risks Do Chemical Peels Present?
Chemical peels are a safe way to address blemishes and signs of aging. Although complications are very rare, they can include:
- Lightening of the skin
- Darkening of the skin
- Cold sore reactivation
How Are Chemical Peels Performed?
Most chemical peels are done in the same way. Your doctor will clean your skin, apply the solution to the areas to be treated and let it sit for a certain amount of time. In a few moments, you’ll notice a slight burning sensation that gradually gives way to a temporary throbbing feeling. Afterward, a nurse may apply a special bandage or ointment, or sometimes nothing at all. This depends on the strength of the peel you chose.
The entire chemical peel process can range between 15 minutes and one hour, depending on the strength of peel being used. You will immediately be able to move around after your treatment, if you chose a stronger peel, it’s generally recommended to arrange for someone to take you home and help you out for the next couple of days. With milder peels, this won’t be necessary.
The Recovery Process
Many patients report feeling like they have a sunburn after their chemical peel, and some redness should be expected. In general, stronger chemical peels result in a longer healing period and more redness. Gentler peels tend to cause redness the first day, and mild skin flaking typically occurs for a few days afterward. Gentle chemical peels should cause little or no swelling, and you shouldn’t have to stay home from work or school. Many patients choose to have these treatments done over a lunch break and return to work immediately after.
After any chemical peel, it’s strongly recommended to avoid exposing the treated skin to UV rays. The fresh skin will be highly vulnerable to damage. Ten minutes before going outside, you should always apply an SPF 15 or higher sunscreen to any areas that have been treated.