Chemical peels are treatments that can improve the skin’s appearance by peeling off the old skin. The solution used in the peel makes the skin blister, and when the skin peels off, the skin below it is smoother and less wrinkled. It is often used by people who want to reduce fine lines around the mouth and under the eyes, or to treat wrinkles caused by sun damage and aging. However, it can also be used to treat certain types of acne or to reduce age spots, freckles and dark patches in the skin.
The best candidates for chemical peels are usually fair-skinned, light-haired people. Although you may still see good results if you have a darker complexion, you might risk having an uneven skin tone after the procedure, so you’ll want to talk with your doctor to make sure this procedure is your best option.
Acne scars are left behind as a result of acne that has damaged the collagen layers of the skin. These scars, which appear as raised or pitted depressions in the skin, are left far after the acne has cleared.
Deep chemical peels penetrate deep into the skin, ultimately removing scarred skin cells so that new, healthy cells can replace them. Other, more superficial chemical peels penetrate the skin’s pores, enabling them to release the dead skin and improve the skin’s overall appearance.
Chemical peels can be done in less than an hour in your doctor’s office. After cleaning your skin, your practitioner will apply a chemical solution to the designated areas of your skin that will create a slight burning feeling. The burning sensation lasts for up to 10 minutes, and there may be a stinging feeling afterward that can be treated with a cool compress.
In most cases, your face will feel slightly sunburned for a few days, and you’ll want to avoid exposure to the sun. If you had a deeper peel, you may need pain medication or, if there is swelling or blistering, you may need bandages.
In some cases, a chemical peel may cause a change in skin color that could be temporary or permanent. This is often affected by family history or taking birth control pills, so it’s important to discuss all these factors before having your procedure.
People with the herpes virus run a slight risk of reactivating cold sores, and people who tend to scar easily may have a low risk of scarring on their face.
For people who are treating a specific condition, a medium-depth peel could be repeated every six to 12 months if needed. Others may find they can go longer between treatments. Talk to your doctor at U.S. Dermatology Partners to see how it might work for you.
*Results may vary by individual