A chemical peel is a body treatment technique used to improve and smooth the texture of the facial skin using a chemical solution that causes the dead skin to slough off and eventually peel off. The regenerated skin is usually smoother and less wrinkled than the old skin.
Prior to treatment, you may be instructed to stop certain medications and prepare the skin with pre-conditioning creams, which you would apply at home for a period of time. A chemical peel is usually performed in a dermatologist's office, involving the following:
During a chemical peel, most patients experience a warm to hot sensation that may last about 5 to 10 minutes and may be followed by some stinging. A deeper peel can be more painful and require medication during or after the procedure, and require a longer recovery time.
Superficial peels result in mild facial redness and occasional swelling which usually resolve within 48 hours. The peeling is similar to sunburn. Most people can continue their normal activities. Make-up can be applied a few hours after the procedure.
Moderate depth peels result in intense inflammation and swelling, which resolve within a week. The peeling is more marked. Mild redness can persist for several weeks. Most people take a week off from work after a moderate depth peel.
Are There Complications?
People with certain skin types have a risk of developing a temporary or permanent skin color change. This risk may increase if you take birth control pills, have been pregnant, or have a family history of brownish discoloration on the face. Persistent redness also may occur after a chemical peel and can last for months.
Although very low, there is a risk of scarring after a chemical peel. If scarring does occur, it can usually be treated with good results. Proper precautions should be taken for patients with a history of fever blisters, cold sores or keloids.
Who Is a Good Candidate For a Chemical Peel?
Generally, fair-skinned and light-haired patients are ideal candidates for chemical peels. Darker skin types may also have good results, depending upon the type of problem being treated. However, the risk of an uneven skin tone after the procedure is increased.