Chemical Peels

Achieve a smoother and more even skin tone and texture.

Chemical peels can help restore sun damaged, wrinkled, blemished, acne scarred or blotchy skin to its original youthful appearance, achieving a smoother, more even tone and texture. Your skin will look younger, tighter and fresher than before. Still a chemical peel cannot remove all facial flaws. Deeper lines, wrinkles and other flaws may require additional treatments or techniques.

There are three basic peels that penetrate to different levels and, therefore, produce different results. What they all have in common is the application of a chemical solution to remove the damaged outer layers of skin, which allows newer layers to replace the old ones. The deeper a peel penetrates, the more dramatic the results are. But a note of caution, deeper peels involve a more lengthy recovery period. Your doctor may choose one of the three types of chemical peels, or tailor the treatment to the needs of your skin.

Using Alpha Hydroxy Acid, the Meyer Clinic only performs superficial peels and does not use TCA or Phenol in their treatments. This superficial peel only removes the stratum corneum (outermost skin layer), which generally regenerates itself every 28 days, making it is safe to perform on a regular basis.

Chemical peel sessions are sometimes recommended for certain patients throughout the year. 6 - 8 treatments are performed in 2 - 3 week intervals, leaving the skin bright and rejuvenated looking at the end of the session. Downtime for chemical peels is usually 1 - 4 days.

Superficial Peels

Sometimes called lunch hour peels, these superficial or light peels are the mildest of all the types. Using Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs), these peels include glycolic, lactic, and fruit acid peels. They burn off only the outer layers of the skin to smooth out its texture. Some people find that it also reduces fine lines and wrinkles. AHA peels may also be used to improve the texture of sun damaged skin and balance out skin pigmentation.

AHA peels are relatively fast and simple and are often performed in the doctor’s office. No sedation or anesthesia is required, since the patient only experiences a slight stinging when the solution is applied. The treatment usually takes about 10 to 15 minutes, but the doctor may vary the concentration of the chemical solution or the length of time of the treatment. After the procedure, no ointments or salves will be necessary to cover the treated area. Monthly or weekly repetition is common to achieve desired results.

Medium Peels

Medium depth peels, for treating skin with moderate sun damage, weathered skin, surface wrinkles, and/or uneven tone or pigment abnormalities, typically use a Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) solution. Full-face TCA peels take approximately 15 minutes and are usually performed in the doctor's office or in a surgery centre as an outpatient procedure.

TCA peels often do not require anesthesia because the solution itself has a numbing effect on the skin. These peels sometimes require two or more treatments, spaced out over weeks or months, to achieve the best results.

Deep Peels

The strongest chemical peel uses Phenol acid to produce a deep peel effect for individuals suffering a larger amount of skin damage and deep wrinkles. The results of deep chemical peels can even be more striking than that of dermabrasion or laser resurfacing. These peels should be used with caution because they can cause permanent lightening of the skin, which can be a telltale sign that you have had this treatment. For this reason, it’s recommended that people with very dark skin tones not undergo Phenol peels. People who are heavily freckled also should not have a Phenol peel because of the clear demarcation line it leaves between treated and untreated skin.

Full-face Phenol peels take about an hour or two, but small area Phenol peels (such as on the upper lip) may take about 10 to 15 minutes. Phenol peels are generally performed in the doctor’s office or in a surgery centre as an outpatient procedure with anesthesia.

A full-face, deep chemical peel requires a sedative prior to the treatment and an analgesic given intravenously during the procedure. You’ll also be electronically monitored during this treatment. After completing the treatment, the doctor may apply petroleum jelly or a waterproof dressing tape to the treated area. This covering will be left on for a day or two. Unlike AHA and TCA peels, Phenol peels are only used once, and create dramatic results.

After a Phenol deep peel you will probably have around seven to ten days of swelling, which might interfere with your ability to open your eyes. After that you’ll be left with a red, sunburned look for two or three months.

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