December 26, 2015
A chemical peel is a minimally invasive procedure to enhance the appearance of dull, dry, or wrinkled skin. There are three different types of chemical peels, varying in intensity, recovery time, and price.
A light or "lunchtime" peel is the most common and basic peel. With a recovery time ranging from one to seven days, this peel is a great option for anyone looking for a quick refresher for a tired or dull skin. People with mild acne, fine wrinkles, and dryness are good candidates for a light chemical peel. Light peels can be repeated every few months to achieve healthy, glowing, and refreshed skin.
Light peels are performed by a dermatologist using a combination of alpha hydroxy and beta hydroxy acids. The patient can expect slight tingling and redness, which will disappear a few days after treatment. The patient must always use a good sunscreen, not just because even a light chemical peel leaves skin sensitive and exposed, but as a general rule of thumb.
A medium peel is a slightly more intense chemical peel, with a recovery time of one to two weeks. People with deeper wrinkles and acne scars are good candidates for a medium chemical peel. Medium peels can be repeated every few months to achieve the desired results, whether it be minimized acne scarring or reduced wrinkles.
Medium peels are typically performed using a combination of trichloroacetic and glycolic acids in order to achieve a deeper penetration to lower levels of the skin (dermis). The patient can expect his or her skin to redden and even brown a few days after treatment. Blisters may form and open, leaving skin ultra-sensitive and prone to infection. The patient must consistently apply thick layers of moisturizer per the dermatologist's instruction. Skin color and texture should return to normal after several weeks.
Deep chemical peels are the most intense peels. Unlike light and medium peels, and because of the intensity of the peel, deep chemical peels can only be performed once and cannot be repeated. This peel is performed by a surgeon in a surgical setting with a chemical called phenol, and the surgeon typically mandates a pre-treatment using retinoic acid for several weeks leading up to the deep peel. The surgeon also typically administers an anesthesia to put the patient to sleep during the procedure as well as a sedative to manage pain.
The patient can expect discomfort, redness, peeling, and crusting for several days after treatment. The deep chemical peel effectively results in your skin being an open wound, and it must be cared for as such. The patient will always need to use sunscreen, as the most sensitive layer of the skin has been exposed as a result of the deep peel. Though the patient will experience swelling for several weeks, the long-lasting effects of a deep chemical peel are dramatic, lasting up to ten years!
It is important to note that all chemical peels (light, medium, and deep) have some side effects and risks. You can prepare for the side effects of a peel by discussing potential effects with your dermatologist (or surgeon, in the case of a deep peel). In order to minimize the risks, it is crucial to choose the right peel intensity for your skin type, skin color, and specific skin condition(s). Your dermatologist or surgeon will be an important resource during this process, informing you of potential side effects you may encounter as well as scheduling follow-up appointments to monitor progress.
Some risks associated with chemical peels include infection, scarring, and discoloration of skin. Though these side effects are rare when the peels are performed by a licensed and reputable practitioner, it is important to understand that they are possible. If you have a family history of skin discoloration or browning, inform the dermatologist or surgeon performing the peel, as this may increase your risk of skin discoloration following the procedure. Additionally, if you have a history of cold sores or the herpes simplex virus, inform your medical practitioner as these conditions could be triggered or worsened following a chemical peel.
Perhaps even more, important than understanding the risks and side effects of your chemical peel is choosing the right dermatologist or surgeon to perform the procedure. As with any medical or surgical procedure, ensure your medical professional is board-certified and experienced in the specific procedure you will have. Ask your doctor several important questions before your procedure, such as the expected side effects, expected recovery time, post-operative actions you'll have to take once you're back at home, etc. Staying informed about your skin and your procedure will ensure you have the most beneficial experience.
You'll want to discuss your medical history with the dermatologist or surgeon performing the peel, as this will inform them of your unique health and skin situation. Be sure to mention all medications that you are currently taking, including vitamins and herbal supplements. It is common to disclose your tobacco and alcohol usage as well. You and your medical practitioner should also discuss any pre-existing medical conditions you have in order to fully understand the effect of the chemical peel on your general health and wellbeing.
If you want to rejuvenate, replenish, and revitalize your skin, consider one of the three levels of chemical peel. If you want a quick fix with minimal follow-up, go for the light chemical peel and relish in the healthy afterglow of a light exfoliation. If you want to reduce the appearance of acne scarring, wrinkles, and mild skin dryness, opt for the medium peel. Though it may cause some redness and blistering for about a week after the procedure, the results speak for themselves. Your skin will be visibly healthier, wrinkles will be reduced, and acne scarring will be diminished. Finally, if you suffer from severe acne scarring and want to give your skin a complete overhaul, go for the deep chemical peel. This is a once-in-a-lifetime procedure (literally), so be sure to discuss with your dermatologist and surgeon to determine whether this deep peel is right for you. The deep chemical peel can take away up to ten years off of your skin! Just be informed, be prepared, and be ready for a more beautiful replenished skin.
Finally, if you suffer from severe acne scarring and want to give your skin a complete overhaul, go for the deep chemical peel. This is a once-in-a-lifetime procedure (literally), so be sure to discuss with your dermatologist and surgeon to determine whether this deep peel is right for you. The deep chemical peel can take away up to ten years off of your skin! Just be informed, be prepared, and be ready for a more beautiful replenished skin.
Dr. Amjadi MD, DDS, FACS
Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgeons
915 Gessner Rd #870
Houston, TX 77024
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