There are three different levels of peels: mild, medium and deep, but the method of treatment is mostly the same.
How A Chemical Peel is Performed
A few days before your scheduled treatment, your doctor or practitioner will advise you to prep your skin with a topical ointment like Retin-A, Renova or a low percentage glycolic acid. At the appointment, a chemical acid is applied to the skin damaging the top layer or more. The entire procedure takes less than 90 minutes.
When you schedule a consultation, you and your cosmetic professional will decide together which level of peel will be best for you.
Salicylic acid, lactic acid, or glycolic acid is applied to the skin causing temporary redness and flaking. Several treatments or repeated treatments may be required depending on the expected outcome. Mild peels are popular with young people who only need to remove superficial sun damage and want to increase their glow.
This level of peel is only for fair skinned people. Trichloroacetic acid, a stronger acid than used in a mild peel, is applied to the face and affects deeper tissue. The treated skin forms blisters and then the skin peels away over about 2 weeks. Medium peels can be repeated after 6 months if needed.
Medium peels can remove brown and rough skin, fine lines while revealing young healthy new skin.
This is only for people with fair skin and it is not even recommended for olive toned skin due to the risk of discoloration. This type of peel causes a controlled second-degree burn on the treated area, so anesthesia may be required. Phenol is the chemical acid agent used in this level of peel resulting in swelling and blisters that burst and scab over. Sometimes bandages are applied to the face to promote healing. It may take several weeks to heal. In most cases, deep peels are only done once.
Improvement from deep peels can be dramatic and the results can last for many years. This type of peel penetrates several layers of the skin and improving the appearance of wrinkles and scaring, along with brightening the skin and smoothing the texture.
Due to the strength of the chemical agents used, there can be complications with a deep peel including infections, scaring and problems with skin pigmentation and abnormal lightening.
Chemical Peels and Acne
Chemical peels remove dead skin cells and deeply clean the skin, so they may improve acne and acne scars. However, as with all types of exfoliation, sometimes the acne will look worse before it gets better. If you have a significant increase in acne or whiteheads, consult your doctor.
Fair skinned and light-haired people are the ideal clients. Occasionally, people with darker tones will have an uneven skin tone after a peel. Also, subsequent pregnancy and birth control pills may increase the likelihood of unusual pigmentation. Regardless of the depth of the peel, anyone who receives a peel should wear sunscreen to protect exposed fragile skin.
Some of the chemicals used for peels are available at the drug store and online. However, results vary and are highly dependent on following the instructions. For your own safety, when working with acids, it is very important to follow the instructions.
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