Face/Neck
Chemical Peels

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A chemical peel is an aesthetic procedure performed to achieve better skin tone and to remove fine lines, especially on the face.  The chemical solution removes outer layers of skin which are damaged by age, sun, acne, wrinkles, or pigmentation problems.  Removing the outer skin prompts the body to generate a new layer of skin cells which are tainted by the previous skin condition.  Chemical peels may not be appropriate for darker skin complexions.

Reasons for Considering a Chemical Peel:

  • Reduce facial wrinkles and lines.
  • Improve sun-damaged skin.
  • Correct age spots and pigmentation problems.
  • Lighten scars (especially from acne).
  • Treat precancerous skin lesions.

General Procedure

At the time of your procedure, any active skin disease, infection, or acne needs to be under control in order to maximize results.  There are several different types of chemical solutions which can be used, ranging from a mild solution to a very strong one.  The surgeon will select what is best for the patient based on their skin condition, color, and desired result.

During the procedure, the skin is first cleansed of oils.  A solution is then carefully applied and is allowed to remain on the skin for a short time in order to remove the layers of damaged skin.  At this point, the skin will turn white, a frost-like effect.  The skin is then neutralized and cleansed.  Finally, an ointment is applied to the skin to aid in healing.

Recovery Process

Generally, post-operative instructions call for plenty of rest and limited movement in order to speed up the healing process and recovery time.  An ointment and dressings are applied immediately following surgery to aid in the healing process and to minimize swelling.  The skin will have a pinkish color, and a thin crust may form over the area that was treated.  Patients sometimes report minor pain associated with the procedure, which can be treated effectively with oral medication.  While complications are rare, patients can minimize potential problems by carefully following the post-operative directions given by the surgeon.  Recovery time varies depending upon the extent of the chemical peel.

 

 
Chemical peels are one of the most popular non-invasive cosmetic procedures performed to rejuvenate the appearance of the skin. Over time, factors such as sun damage, heredity, diet, and repetitive muscle movement contribute to the formation of lines and wrinkles in the face. Additionally, the development of pigmentation irregularities or acne scars can cause skin to lose its smooth, youthful appearance. Often performed on the face, neck, and hands, various types of chemical peels can reduce the appearance of facial wrinkles, scars, and uneven pigmentation, as well as treat pre-cancerous skin lesions.
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Deep Peel Introduction

Chemical peels are one of the most popular non-invasive cosmetic procedures performed to rejuvenate the appearance of the skin. Over time, factors such as sun damage, heredity, diet, and repetitive muscle movement contribute to the formation of lines and wrinkles in the face. Additionally, the development of pigmentation irregularities or acne scars can cause skin to lose its smooth, youthful appearance. Often performed on the face, neck, and hands, various types of chemical peels can reduce the appearance of facial wrinkles, scars, and uneven pigmentation, as well as treat pre-cancerous skin lesions.

Deep Peels

Deep peels generally produce the most dramatic results of any type of chemical peel. Deep peels are usually performed using phenol, which is also known as carbolic acid. Phenol is the strongest acid used to perform a chemical peel. While phenol can be used in its pure form, it may be mixed with water, soap, olive oil, or croton oil to increase the effectiveness of treatment.

Although deep peels produce the most dramatic results, the associated risks are generally higher. For example, if not used carefully, phenol can be toxic to the body. There is also an increased risk of scarring as well as sensitivity to the sun. Deep peels permanently lighten the skin; therefore they are not appropriate for individuals with dark complexions. As the strongest chemical peel available, deep peels are an effective method for treating deep, coarse lines, pigmentation abnormalities, deep acne scars, extensive sun damage, blotchiness of the skin, and precancerous skin lesions.

 

Overview of the Skin

The skin is composed of two layers known as the epidermis and dermis. The epidermis, or outer layer of the skin, acts as the skin’s primary defense against the environment. As a result, these layers sustain the most damage. The dermis, or innermost layer, is responsible for providing structure and support to the skin.

What Causes Skin Damage?

The dermis is comprised primarily of connective tissue, which is made mostly of collagen and elastin fibers. These fibers form a network that provides the skin with structure, support, and elasticity. Over time, the aging process and sun damage cause a decrease in the amount of collagen and elastin fibers. As this network of fibers breaks down, the skin loses its elasticity and becomes more lax. Together, aging, sun damage, and additional factors contribute to wrinkle formation and other changes in appearance.

How Do Deep Peels Work?

During a deep peel, a chemical solution is applied to the face. The solution causes trauma, or injury, to the skin’s layers. Deep peels penetrate the farthest distance into the skin and therefore cause the most injury. This injury may extend into the papillary or reticular dermis, which is why this type of peel causes the most dramatic results. Similar to exfoliating your skin, the damaged layers of skin will peel away. As part of the healing process, increased cell growth as well as collagen production and reorganization in the dermis will produce new, healthier skin layers, which give the face a more youthful, rejuvenated appearance.

Procedure Preparation

Deep peels may last between one and two hours. Prior to the start of your procedure, the treatment areas will be cleansed, usually using an alcohol based cleaner. As phenol is associated with a more intense burning sensation than other types of chemical peels, a local anesthetic with sedation or general anesthesia will be administered.

Deep Peel Procedure

A sponge or a brush will be used to apply the chemical solution to individual areas over the entire face. Unlike other types of chemical peels, deep peels damage both the epidermis and the dermis. The solution used during a deep peel may penetrate as far as the reticular, or lower dermis, which is why the effects of treatment are so significant.

Effects of a Deep Peel Procedure

Much like a medium peel, phenol application causes what is known as frosting on the skin, in which the treatment areas turn white. The degree of frosting will be used to assess the depth of treatment. Once the desired level of treatment has been achieved, the chemical solution will be removed or neutralized with a different substance. The damaged layers of skin will peel away over time, while the healing process triggers cell growth which generates new skin layers. In addition, deep within the dermis, the healing process also stimulates collagen production and reorganization, which improves the structure of the skin's framework. As you heal, the new skin is revealed, giving the face a smoother, revitalized appearance.

Deep Peel Recovery

Immediately following your procedure, you may continue to experience some frosting, which will last approximately one hour. Petroleum jelly or adhesive bandages may be applied to your face to protect your skin as it heals. As the recovery process is more extensive that other types of chemical peels, you may need to take approximately one week off of work to recuperate. You will likely experience some pain and swelling in the days following your procedure, which can be alleviated with pain medication. You will also experience some redness, oozing, and crusting of your skin. Most of these symptoms will dissipate in approximately seven to ten days, while the redness will fade slowly over a few months. Your skin will stiffen and start to peel within days of the procedure, and new, healthy skin will appear in approximately one to two weeks.

Deep Peel Results

As you know, the effects of a deep peel are much more significant compared to other types of chemical peels. While the results from a superficial or medium peel must be maintained with repeat treatments, the results from a deep peel are permanent, often lasting decades. It is important to realize that your skin will always appear pale in comparison to untreated skin. In addition, your skin may be more sensitive to sunlight following treatment and will require protection with SPF 15 after your procedure. Despite the increased risks, when used carefully deep peels are an effective method of drastically improving the tone and texture of your skin, which will restore a more youthful appearance.

 
 

Medium Peel Introduction

Chemical peels are one of the most popular non-invasive cosmetic procedures performed to rejuvenate the appearance of the skin. Over time, factors such as sun damage, heredity, diet, and repetitive muscle movement contribute to the formation of lines and wrinkles in the face. Additionally, the development of pigmentation irregularities or acne scars can cause skin to lose its smooth, youthful appearance. Often performed on the face, neck, and hands, various types of chemical peels can reduce the appearance of facial wrinkles, scars, and uneven pigmentation, as well as treat pre-cancerous skin lesions.

 

Medium Peels

Medium peels generally produce more dramatic results than superficial peels, because they penetrate more deeply into the layers of the skin. Medium peels are usually performed using what is known as trichloroacetic acid, which may be used with Jessner's solution or glycolic acid to improve treatment results. Like superficial peels, treatment results depend on the concentration of trichloroacetic acid applied during the procedure. This is because solutions with a higher concentration penetrate more deeply into the skin. Although individuals with dark complexions are at an increased risk for skin discoloration, medium peels can be used successfully on individuals with fair and olive complexions. One of the most common types of chemical peels, medium peels are a safe, effective method of treating fine to moderate lines, pigmentation abnormalities, acne scars, and blotchiness of the skin.

 

Overview of the Skin

The skin is composed of two layers known as the epidermis and dermis. The epidermis, or outer layer of the skin, acts as the skin’s primary defense against the environment. As a result, these layers sustain the most damage. The dermis, or innermost layer, is responsible for providing structure and support to the skin.

 

What Causes Skin Damage?

The dermis is comprised primarily of connective tissue, which is made mostly of collagen and elastin fibers. These fibers form a network that provides the skin with structure, support, and elasticity. Over time, the aging process and sun damage cause a decrease in the amount of collagen and elastin fibers. As this network of fibers breaks down, the skin loses its elasticity and becomes more lax. Together, aging, sun damage, and additional factors contribute to wrinkle formation and other changes in appearance.

 

How Do Medium Peels Work?

During a medium peel, a chemical solution is applied to the face. The solution causes trauma, or injury, to the skin’s layers. In general, the top layer of the epidermis, known as the stratum corneum, may be removed in addition to other portions of the epidermis. When higher concentrations of trichloroacetic acid are used, the treatment may extend into the upper regions of the dermis. Similar to exfoliating your skin, the damaged outer layers of the epidermis will peel away. As part of the healing process, increased cell growth as well as collagen production and reorganization in the dermis will produce new, healthier skin layers, giving the face a more youthful, rejuvenated appearance.

 

Procedure Preparation

Medium peels may last between fifteen and sixty minutes. A few weeks before your procedure, you may be asked to use a facial product that contains trans retinoic acid. This is because trans retinoic acid is believed to prepare the outer layers of skin for treatment as well as allow the chemical peel solution to soak evenly through your skin. Prior to the start of your procedure, the treatment areas will be cleansed, usually using an alcohol based cleaner. As you may feel a warming or burning sensation during treatment, a topical anesthetic or pain medication will be administered to help you stay comfortable and relaxed during your procedure.

 

Medium Peel Procedure

A sponge or a brush will be used to apply the chemical solution to individual areas over the entire face. Medium peels primarily damage the epidermis. However, unlike superficial peels, the solution used during a medium peel may penetrate into the papillary, or upper dermis, which is why the effects of treatment are more significant with a medium peel.

 

Effects of a Medium Peel Procedure

Trichloroacetic acid application causes what is known as frosting of the skin, in which the treatment areas turn white. The degree of frosting will be used to assess the depth of treatment. Once the desired level of treatment has been achieved, the chemical solution will be removed or neutralized with a different substance. The damaged layers of the epidermis will peel away over time. The healing process triggers cell growth which generates new skin layers. In addition, deep within the dermis, the healing process also stimulates collagen production and reorganization, which improves the structure of the skin’s framework. As you heal, the new skin is revealed, giving the face a smoother, revitalized appearance.

 

Medium Peel Recovery

Immediately following your procedure, you may continue to experience some frosting which will fade in approximately thirty minutes, and be replaced by redness and irritation similar to sunburn. Although bandaging is not necessary, like any wound it is important to keep the area moist and protected. Therefore, a protective ointment such as petroleum jelly may be applied to your face in the days following your procedure. You will most likely notice the outer layers of the skin peeling away within several days following treatment. New skin will begin to appear in approximately one to two weeks. Your skin will be more sensitive to sun exposure as it heals. Therefore, it is extremely important that you protect your skin from the sun with UVA and UVB protection while you heal.

 

Medium Peel Results

The effects of a medium peel procedure are generally more noticeable than a superficial peel because the procedure causes more injury to the skin. The results from a medium peel procedure may last between six and twelve months. In order to maintain the desired results, you may repeat the procedure approximately every three to six months. It is important to realize that the appearance of your skin will continue to change and age after you have had a medium peel treatment. However, medium peels are a fast, effective method of improving the tone and texture of your skin, which will restore a more youthful appearance.

 
 
 
 

Superficial Peel Introduction

Chemical peels are one of the most popular non-invasive cosmetic procedures performed to rejuvenate the appearance of the skin. Over time, factors such as sun damage, heredity, diet, and repetitive muscle movement contribute to the formation of lines and wrinkles in the face. Additionally, the development of pigmentation irregularities or acne scars can cause skin to lose its smooth, youthful appearance. Often performed on the face, neck, and hands, various types of chemical peels can reduce the appearance of facial wrinkles, scars, and uneven pigmentation, as well as treat pre-cancerous skin lesions.

 

Superficial Peels

Superficial peels are the mildest form of chemical peel treatment. Superficial peels are usually performed using alphahydroxy acids, and in some instances betahydroxy acids. Alphahydroxy acids are naturally occurring acids which include glycolic acid, lactic acid, and fruit acids, while betahydroxy acids include salicylic acid. You may be familiar with glycolic acid and salicylic acid, as they are often key ingredients in facial creams and astringents. Although the concentration of acid may vary depending on the extent of treatment, the acids used to perform superficial peels are not as harsh as other chemical peels. In fact, low concentrations of alphahydroxy acids are often mixed with facial creams or washes that can be used as part of a daily facial care routine to maintain a youthful appearance. With little downtime, superficial peels are a safe, effective method of treating fine lines, pigmentation abnormalities, acne scars, and persistent dry skin.

 

Skin Damage and Wrinkle Formation

The skin is composed of two layers know as the epidermis and dermis. The epidermis, or outer layer of the skin, acts as the skin's primary defense against the environment. As a result, these layers are damaged. The dermis, or innermost layer of the skin, is composed primarily of connective tissue. Within the connective tissue of the dermis, collagen and elastin fibers form a network that provides the skin with structure, support, and elasticity. Over time, this network of fibers breaks down as well, which in addition to other factors, further contributes to the formation of wrinkles and other changes in appearance.

 

How Do Superficial Peels Work?

During a superficial peel, a chemical solution is applied to the face. The solution causes mild trauma, or injury, to the epidermis, which is composed of five distinct layers. Similar to exfoliating your skin, the injury causes the damaged outer layers of the epidermis to peel away. As part of the healing process, increased cell growth produces new, healthier skin layers beneath, which give the face a more youthful, rejuvenated appearance.

It is important to realize that superficial peels are not intended to treat deep wrinkles or significantly sagging skin. In these circumstances, a face lift or dermal filler injections may produce more desirable results.

 

Procedure Preparation

Often referred to as the “lunchtime peel,” superficial peels generally last between fifteen and thirty minutes. A few weeks before your procedure, your physician may recommend that you use a facial product that contains trans retinoic acid. This is because trans retinoic acid is believed to prepare the outer layer of skin for treatment as well as allow the chemical peel solution to soak evenly through your skin. You may also be required to wash your face with a special soap twenty-four hours before your procedure. Prior to the start of your procedure, the treatment areas will be cleansed, usually using an alcohol based cleaner. While you may feel a slight stinging or warming sensation during the procedure, you will most likely not feel any significant pain. Therefore, an anesthetic is usually not necessary for a superficial peel.

 

Superficial Peel Recovery

Immediately following your procedure, you may experience some redness and irritation that is similar to sunburn. As healing takes place, you may also notice some crusting or flaking of your skin. These symptoms will most likely subside in approximately seven days. Although bandaging is not necessary, like any wound it is important to keep the area moist and protected. Therefore, your physician may recommend that you apply a protective ointment to your face in the days following your procedure. You will most likely notice the outer layers of the skin peeling away within several days following treatment. New skin will begin to appear in approximately one to two weeks. Your skin will be more sensitive to sun exposure as it heals. Therefore, it is extremely important that you protect your skin from the sun with UVA and UVB protection while you heal.

 

Superficial Peel Results

The results from a superficial peel are generally mild compared to more aggressive forms of treatment such as a medium or deep peel. However, this also means that the risks associated with the procedure are typically less. Your physician may recommend that you undergo repeated treatments at regular intervals. For example, some individuals receive treatments on a weekly or monthly basis until the desired result is achieved.

It is important to realize that the appearance of your skin will continue to change and age after you have had a superficial peel treatment. However, superficial peels are a fast, effective method of rejuvenating your skin.

This content is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to represent actual surgical technique or results. The information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or care. Always seek the advice of a medical professional when you have a medical condition. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking advice if you have read something in this printout.
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