What Is a Chemical Peel?

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what is a chemical peel

 

If you’re someone who prioritizes skincare or who has tried an aesthetic treatment or two, you’ve probably heard of a chemical peel before. So what are they? Chemical peels are a popular cosmetic procedure in which a solution of chemicals is used to resurface and remove the outer layer of skin—most commonly on a person’s face—causing it to grow back tighter and smoother.

What is a chemical peel treatment?

Chemical peels are most commonly implemented to reduce appearance of wrinkles, scars, or uneven skin tone and texture. There are several different types of chemicals used and several different “depths” offered, depending on each patients’ need:

  • Light Depth Peel
    • Only effects the outermost layer of skin, the epidermis. Treats acne scars, fine lines.
  • Medium Depth Peel
    • Dermis and epidermis are treated and removed. Great for treating uneven skin tones and textures, and acne scars or wrinkles.
  • Deep Depth Peel
    • Removes deeper layers of skin. Usually prescribed only for more serious scars or more severe wrinkles.

 

What to expect from a Chemical Peel Treatment

In order to qualify for a chemical peel treatment, you will need a consultation appointment with your dermatologist to make sure you’r a good candidate who doesn’t have any potential risks for adverse effects.

Before applying the chemical treatment, your dermatologist or provider will ensure sure the application site is clean and dry. They will also cover your eyes and hair to prevent sensitive areas from contacting the chemicals.

For a more serious, deeper peel you may be given a sedative, anesthetic and/or an IV to provide fluids.

During the Treatment

Your provider will gently apply the chemical solution to your skin with a sponge, cotton swab, or similar. Once the chemicals have reached to desired depth, your provider will then apply a neutralizing solution to the skin in order to counteract the chemical peel solution.

After the Treatment

After the chemical peel treatment, it’s normal for skin to be red and irritated, or feel tight and swollen for up to two weeks as the outer layer of skin regrows. It’s important to avoid exposing the healing skin to direct sunlight and/or pick at the skin. You may be prescribed some kind of ointments to promote healing and prevent infection or sun damage

After a chemical peel of any depth, your skin will be red, tight, irritated or swollen. Follow your doctor’s directions for sun protection, cleansing, moisturizing and applying protective ointments to your skin. And avoid picking, rubbing or scratching your skin. It may take several months before your skin color returns to normal and you can see the full results of the peel.

Treated areas will develop new skin within about two weeks after a deep chemical peel, although redness might last for months. Treated skin might become darker or lighter than normal or lose the ability to tan.

You might prefer to remain at home while you’re healing from a chemical peel. You’ll likely need several follow-up visits soon after your treatment so that your doctor can monitor your healing.

Once new skin completely covers the treated area in about two weeks, you can use cosmetics to conceal any redness. Use sunscreen every day.

Results

After your chemical peel treatment, you can expect an improvement in:

  • Skin tone
  • Skin texture
  • Appearance of fine lines & wrinkles
  • Firmness of skin.

Just like with most other cosmetic treatments, results are not permanent. As we age naturally, wrinkles and further sun exposure are inevitable. Treatment may need to be repeated more than once to maintain results over the years.

What are the risks?

Chemical Peels aren’t right for every situation or every person. As with all other cosmetic treatments or procedures, you should always have a consultation or assessment with your skincare provider before opting for a chemical peel. The most common side effects are redness or peeling of the outer layer of the skin, but in the most serious cases it can cause scarring, discoloration, or infection.

Chemical peels are also not recommended in combination with certain acne medications, during pregnancy, and certain skin types.

You’ll need to consult with your dermatologist before you schedule a chemical peel appointment. Schedule a consultation with your DermaBlue skincare experts today to find out if chemical peels are the right solution for your skincare needs.

AUTHOR OF THE ARTICLE
Dr. David LaMond, D.O.

Dr. LaMond is a nutrition, hormone and prevention expert. Drawing from his foundation and board certification in Family Medicine, he has created the core medical principles behind the blue sky concept of total patient care…

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