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Chemical Peel Description & Benefits
A chemical peel is a technique used to improve the appearance of the skin. A chemical peel is exactly what it sounds like: chemical solutions are applied to the damaged skin in order to cause the layers to peel away and reveal younger, healthier layers beneath. Once the dead layer is completely gone, the new skin heals and provides a healthy and glowing appearance. Wrinkles and sun damage are reduced and skin is much softer. Chemical peels are designed to accelerate the removal of old, dead skin cells at the surface of the skin to promote new cell growth, and can be used to treat a particular area (such as lines around the eyes or mouth), or all over the face, arms, hands and neck. Chemical peels are normally safest and most effective when performed on the face. Chemical facial peels can't alter the size of pores, improve sagging skin or remove deep scarring, but the treatment can reduce fine wrinkles, freckles and irregular pigmentation and remove sunspots and rough scaly patches on the patient’s skin. There are three types of chemical face peel available – superficial chemical peel, medium-depth chemical peel and deep chemical peel.
Chemical Peel Procedure Steps
Chemical facial peels can take anything from a few minutes to two hours, depending on the type of peel that you are having. There are three main types of chemical peels, ranging from light, medium to deep peels and are classified by the type and strength of chemical used. Light and medium peels will generally take less than a half-hour. During the light to medium peels a solution is applied using a sponge, cotton pad, cotton swab or brush to the areas to be treated. Generally, the most superficial peels are those using alpha hydroxy acids (AHA), such as glycolic, lactic or fruit acid. Various concentrations of an AHA may be applied weekly or at longer intervals to obtain the best result. A trichloroacetic acid (TCA) peel is stronger, and has a greater depth of peel compared to AHA's. In contrast, the deep peel takes 1 to 2 hours to perform. A solution is applied to the area to be treated and there is a slight burning sensation, but it is minimal since the solution also acts as an anesthetic. After the peel solution has worked on the skin, it is neutralized with water. Approximately one hour later, a thick coating of petroleum jelly is layered over the patient's face, covering the protective crust which develops rapidly over the area. This stays in place for 1 to 2 days. In an alternative technique, the patient's face is covered by a "mask," composed of strips of adhesive tape, with openings for the eyes and mouth (this is particularly effective in cases of severe wrinkling).
Chemical Peel Recovery
The recovery and healing times for chemical peels vary depending on the depth of chemical face peel you have undergone. After a light chemical peel, the skin will appear pink and may show faint white discoloration or blotches which will fade in one or two hours. This pinkness will depend on the sensitivity of the skin. Some flaking of the skin after your peel is normal and should subside during the first few days post peel. You can go straight back to daily life. After a medium depth peel or deep chemical face peel, the skin will generally be red and swollen for the next 24 hours. Once the initial burning has worn off it is not painful, but feels tight. Over the next few days the skin dries and looks like brownish leather. Petroleum jelly should be applied several times a day to prevent cracking. You can use water on the skin, but avoid soap. The skin begins to peel five to seven days after the chemical facial peel, and must be left to come off at its own pace. Don’t pick at your skin as this could cause scarring. As soon as the skin has healed, make up may be applied over the new, pink skin. Sometimes a secondary peel occurs during the second week in the form of dry scaling skin. Patients often feel unwell after a deep chemical peel, and experience moderate to severe pain lasting several days. This can be controlled with pain medication. The face swells in the first two days and it can be very itchy during the healing process. A few days after the chemical face peel procedure, new skin with a bright pink color will emerge - this pinkness will fade in a few days. Post-operative puffiness also subsides in a few days, but the skin will remain sensitive. Using sunscreen every time you go out will prevent further sun damage and maintain the improved skin quality after your chemical peel.
Shop for Chemical Peel Recovery Products
You can find a way variety of products designed to help you have the best preparation and recovery from your procedure at the:
Chemical Peel Side Effects & Risks
There are some potential chemical peel side effects such as hyper pigmentation, skin infection, extended red face appearance, cold sores, and permanent scarring.
Chemical Peel Costs
The average cost of a procedure is anywhere from $480-850, depending on the physician and areas treated.
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