|Procedure Name:||Chemical Peels|
|Also Known As:||Fruit Acid Peel, Skin Peel, Facial Peel, AHA Peel, TCA, Glycolic Acid, Lactic Acid|
|Great For:||Skin rejuvenation, acne and blemishes, improving skin tone|
Chemical peeling is peeling off the skin using a chemical (can be microscopic for lighter peels to not interfere with your daily activities). At Absolute Cosmetic Medicine, we use several different types of peels depending on patient requirements.
Gentler peels in different percentages can be performed by our skin technicians and nurses, however stronger peels such as a TCA or Jessner Peel must be done by the doctor.
Chemical peels refresh the skin by removing its outer damaged layers during the application of the treatment. Some sunspots, irregular pigmentation, freckles and rough scaly patches can be significantly reduced.
Through stimulation of your body’s natural healing process and production of collagen, chemical peels can also reduce fine wrinkles. There is some evidence that it may reduce the risk of skin cancer.
Chemical peels are safest and most effective on the face and although hands can be peeled, the risks of scarring are higher and the results are less predictable.
Some peels are gentler and slower with near invisible peeling and are a good introduction to this successful procedure.
Cleopatra and the ancient Romans used various food acids to peel their skin. In the early 1900′s, European and American women underwent ‘non-medical’ peels in salons with secret formulas, which were probably mild acids.
In the early 1950′s, the phenol peel was developed for cosmetic use. This was a fierce, deep peel that could remove years of wrinkles, but also gave peeling a reputation for complications – pigmentation, de-pigmentation (whitening), scarring and even abnormal heart rhythms due to absorption of the chemicals.
In recent times safer peels have made a comeback in popularity because although it will not make a 50-year-old look 25 again, they can significantly rejuvenate the skin without the risk of common serious side-effects.
When the selected product is applied to the skin, it causes removal of the top or most sun damaged layers. As these layers peel off over the next week or so, new unblemished skin forms from the deeper germinal layers.
Chemical peeling stimulates the growth of new healthy skin cells replacing tired old sun-damaged skin. This process is to be sharply contrasted with sunburn, which removes the outer layers of skin but causes UV damage to germinal cells, thereby compounding the ageing process and risk of skin cancer.
Firstly, the skin is thoroughly cleansed. The product is then applied onto the face for a scheduled period of time. At this stage it is slightly uncomfortable, so a cold pack and a cooling fan are used until the stinging abates after approximately one minute.
Once the initial discomfort has worn off, your skin will not be painful but will feel tight. Your skin will also go red and a little swollen over the next 24 hours.
Over the next few days, the skin dries and looks like brownish leather. Emollient should be applied several times a day to prevent cracking. As mentioned some peels have no downtime while others need 5 to 10 days out of action.
Not everyone needs a chemical peel, but many people may benefit from the procedure.
Fine wrinkling can be reduced, though deeper lines will remain (some of which can be reduced or removed with laser resurfacing).
Most brown marks and pigmentation can be removed or lessened, especially age and ‘liver’ spots (lentigines) and melasma after pregnancy. However, pigment changes can be caused by the peel in people prone to this complication due to their skin type. Those known to develop brown discolouration on their skin after injury such as a mild burn should have a test area peeled first before undergoing a full face chemical peel and even a course of fading cream.
There is no pain during or after the procedure if proper sedation is used, with only some itching or tightness of the skin in the days after as your skin begins its healing response.
Chemical peeling is not a substitute for a facelift and will not tighten sagging skin.
Chemical peeling will not remove broken capillaries – these will need to be treated with an IPL laser.
Chemical peeling does not help significant acne scarring. Erbium laser resurfacing will achieve the best results.
Patients working outdoors with lengthy periods in the sun or those who wish to continue to sun-worship should not have any form of chemical peeling. All of the benefits of peeling will be rapidly lost by UV light exposure from any source.
Scarring can occur with strong acids or a phenol peel, but is almost unknown with a TCA peel. The most common causes of scarring are from infection and pulling the flaking pieces of skin off before they are ready. Both are avoidable and patients should take extreme care to avoid manipulating the skin while it is flaking.
Cold sores can be activated in those prone to this problem. Anti-viral medication is highly recommended for such patients. Increased pigmentation can occur, and will resolve with time. Pigmentation changes can also be largely prevented with use of sunscreen and minimising sun exposure for three months after the peel.
Contact Absolute Cosmetic Medicine today to enquire about chemical peels or to book a consultation.