Chemical peel uses a chemical solution to improve and smooth the texture of the facial skin by removing its damaged outer layers. It is helpful for those individuals with facial blemishes, wrinkles and uneven skin pigmentation. Phenol, trichloroacetic acid (TCA) and alphahydroxy acids (AHAs) are used for this purpose. The precise formula used may be adjusted to meet each patient's needs. But the skin type seen in our country is best suited for medium depth or superficial peels (AHA).
Alphahydroxy acids (AHAs), such as glycolic, lactic, or fruit acids are the mildest of the peel formulas and produce light peels. These types of peels can provide smoother, brighter-looking skin for people who have minor blemishes and irregularities. AHA peels may be used to treat fine wrinkling, areas of dryness, uneven pigmentation and acne. Various concentrations of an AHA may be applied weekly or at longer intervals to obtain the best result. Your doctor will make this decision during your consultation and as the treatment proceeds.
All chemical peels carry some uncertainty and risk. Chemical peel is normally a safe procedure when it is performed by a qualified, experienced Cosmetologist/Plastic Surgeon. However, some unpredictability and risks such as infection and scarring, while infrequent, are possible.
AHA peels may cause stinging, redness, irritation and crusting. However, as the skin adjusts to the treatment regimen, these problems will subside.
Sometimes a prescription medication derived from Vitamin A - is used to pre-treat the skin. This thins out the skin's surface layer, allowing the AHA solution to penetrate more deeply and evenly. A bleaching agent is sometimes used in conjunction with this pre-treatment, especially if you have blotchy skin areas or pigmentation problems. You may have to spend a month or more in the pre-treatment phase before the doctor will schedule your actual peel.
Most chemical peels may be safely performed in a Doctor's office, office-based surgical facility or outpatient surgical center. There is no need for hospitalization after chemical peel procedure. No anesthesia is needed for AHA peels since they cause only a slight stinging sensation during application.
Your doctor will apply the AHA solution to your cleansed facial skin, a process that usually takes no more than 10 minutes. No "after-peel" ointment or covering is required. Depending on the strength of the peel, periodic treatments may be necessary until the desired effects are achieved.
For some patients, the application of an AHA-based face wash or cream once or twice a day at home will be sufficient to accomplish the desired goal. Your Doctor may additionally recommend a cream program to your at-home treatment schedule. After several weeks of at-home use, your doctor will examine your skin to determine if your regimen needs adjustment.
After an AHA peel, it is common to experience some temporary flaking or scaling, redness and dryness of the skin. However, these conditions will disappear as the skin adjusts to treatment.
With an AHA peel, the temporary redness, flaking and dryness that you experience will not prevent you from working or engaging in your normal activities. A fresher and improved skin texture will result with continued AHA treatments. Remember, protecting your skin from the sun is also important following these mild acid peels. Your doctor will recommend a sunblock with adequate UVA and UVB protection for use every day.
Improvements from AHA peels may be very subtle at first. You may detect a healthier glow to your skin. With continued treatments, you will notice a general improvement in the texture of your skin.