A chemical peel is a skin treatment in which a chemical solution is applied to the skin. It is designed to remove the topmost layer(s) of the skin and causes it to crust, peel or scale over the next few days. The new skin underneath is softer, smoother and has fewer blemishes.
Chemical peels can be done on the face, hands or neck. They are used to treat such conditions as wrinkles, age spots, freckles, some kinds of acne and minor scars.
What happens during a chemical peel?
Chemical peels are outpatient procedures. The doctor will start by thoroughly cleaning the patient’s skin. He will then apply a chemical solution or several solutions to the patient’s skin.
A light peel removes only the top layer of the skin. It takes only 20 minutes, and the skin heals within a week. Light peels are the type offered by spas.
Medium and deep peels are performed by doctors. They require longer recovery times during which the patient must stay indoors and take anti-viral medication.
The skin will be red and swollen for several days after a medium peel. It will then turn brown and peel off in within one or two weeks.
In a deep peel, the doctor uses a solution that removes several layers of skin at once. Deep peels, which take about an hour, are used to eradicate deep wrinkles, precancerous skin growths and discoloration.
The patient will need a sedative and local anesthesia while having the deep peel done. The doctor will bandage the face after performing the peel, and the patient will need about three weeks of recovery time.
During this period, the patient will soak their face several times a day and then apply ointment to keep scars and scabs from forming.
The patient’s skin will be sensitive to the sun after the peel, so they will have to stay out the sun during the recovery period. The patient will need to wear sunscreen and a broad-brimmed hat.
Who is not a good candidate for a chemical peel?
The best candidates for chemical peels are healthy non-smokers with fair skin. Smokers need to stop smoking several weeks beforehand and continue not to smoke for several weeks after the treatment.
People who have keloids or similar large scars are not good candidates for any chemical peel. Patients should not have chemical peels done if they have an active skin infection in the treatment area.
If you are interested in chemical peels, contact Southeastern Dermatology today to make an appointment.