Chemical peels are a method of regenerating and resurfacing the skin by inducing a controlled wound to the skin. They remove the top layers skin to help induce collagen remodelling and therefore improve sun-damaged skin, skin pigmentation problems, wrinkles, skin texture, and the overall appearance of the skin. The strength of the chemical peel will determine its depth. Deeper peels will have a greater number of complications and a longer recovery, but also will result in a greater improvement in the skin.
Although chemical peels are used mostly on the face, they can also be used to improve the skin on your neck and hands.
You can get improvement in:
- Acne or acne scars
- Age and liver spots
- Fine lines and wrinkles
- Irregular skin pigmentation
- Rough skin and scaly patches
- Sun-damaged skin
What are the different types of chemical peels?
Chemical peels are broadly defined by the depth of damage in the skin that they produce. They are categorized as superficial, medium, and deep. Superficial peels do not damage skin below the epidermis, the most superficial skin layer.Medium peels may reach to the superficial layer of the dermis, the deeper layer of the skin. Deep peels generally reach the deeper layers of the dermis. The depth of damage depends on the nature and concentration of the chemicals in the peeling solution and the length of time they are permitted to interact with the skin. Popular chemicals in peeling solutions include alpha-hydroxy acids, beta-hydroxy acids, trichloroacetic acid, and phenol.
Which chemical peel is right for me?
Chemical peels induce a controlled wound to the skin, and can replace part or all of the top layers of skin. The key determinants to which chemical peel is right for you are; the degree of the skin problem/ageing/sun-damage, the skin type/colour, the amount of improvement you would like to achieve, and the amount of recovery or downtime that is acceptable by you.
As a rule, the deeper the peel, the more side effects, potential complications, and recovery are needed. Another rule of thumb is that the darker the skin type, the more problems that may be encountered post-peel, especially pigmentation problems such as post inflammatory hyperpigmentation where the treated skin may become darker than the untreated skin. Therefore, deeper peels in darker skin types must be considered with caution and sometimes it may be better to perform a series of more superficial peels rather than one deep peel.
The degree of skin ageing will also determine which peel to use. For younger patients with less sun-damage, pigmentation and wrinkles, only superficial peels may be required. The opposite is also true.
Is there any Downtime?
This depends on the peel used. With TCA peels patients can expect the skin to tighten, darken and then peel. The whole process can take 5-7 days. With our gentler peels patients can experience some initial reddening which will settle over just few hours for most people. So you could go back to work with none the wiser.
What are risks, side effects, and dangers of chemical peels?
The risks, side effects, and complications of chemical peels include scarring, infection, reactivation of herpes simplex infections, and a substantial contrast in coloration of the treated skin. All patients will have a recuperation period, the length of which depends upon the depth of the peel. Deep peels can result in substantial periods of healing on the order of weeks.