Peeling Back the Layers

Chemical peels are performed on the face, neck, or hands. They can be used to reduce fines lines under the eyes are around the mouth, treat wrinkles caused by sun damage and aging, improve the appearance of mild scarring, treat certain types of acne, reduce age spots and freckles, or improve the texture and color of skin.

Areas of sun damage, which may contain pre-cancerous keratoses that appear as scaly spots, may improve after chemical peeling. Following treatment, new pre-cancerous lesions are less likely to appear.

Sags, bulges, and severe wrinkles do not respond well to chemical peels and may require other kinds of cosmetic surgical procedures. A dermatologic surgeon can help determine the most appropriate type of treatment for each individual case.

Are you considering a chemical peel? Are you a good candidate? 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.

A chemical peel can be performed in a doctor’s office or in a surgery center as an outpatient procedure. The skin is thoroughly cleansed with an agent that removes excess oils and the eyes and hair are protected. One or more chemical solutions, such as glycolic acid, trichloroacetic acid, salicylic acid, lactic acid, or carbolic acid (phenol), are applied to small areas on the skin. These applications produce a controlled wound, enabling new, regenerated skin to appear.

Prior to the chemical peel, your doctor may ask you to stop taking certain drugs and prepare your skin with topical preconditioning medications such as Retin-A, Renova, or glycolic acid. After the chemical peel, it’s important to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen every day.

Depending upon the type of chemical peel, a reaction similar to sunburn occurs following the procedure. Peeling usually involves redness, followed by scaling that ends within three to seven days. Mild peels may be repeated at one to four-week intervals until the desired clinical effect is achieved.

Medium-depth and deep peeling may result in swelling, as well as the presence of water blisters that may break, crust, turn brown, and peel off over a period of seven to 14 days. Medium-depth peels may be repeated in six to twelve months, if necessary.

After treatment, some peels may require bandages to be placed on part or all of the skin that is treated. Bandages are usually removed in several days and may improve the effectiveness of the treatment.

It is important to avoid exposure to the sun after a chemical peel since the new skin is fragile and more susceptible to complications.

Chemical peels are performed frequently. It is important to determine your specific needs for your type of skin. There are many facial procedures that can improve and enhance the appearance of the epidermis with regards to sun, damage, and aging. As in any procedure that requires application by trained personnel, consult the experts and do your homework.

“Chemical Peels: Conditions They Treat, What to Expect.” WebMD. WebMD,.Web. 09 July 2012.

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