Chemical peels have been a popular skin resurfacing treatment for many decades with good and consistent results. By applying different concentrations and combinations of various substances on the skin, you can reduce fine lines, pigmentation changes, brown spots, and improve skin texture. The key to a successful result is to make sure your treatment expert has the knowledge to perform a safe and effective chemical peel. Dr. Walker works in close collaboration with our experienced clinical skin care specialist, Alison O’Neal, to offer you the best treatment for your needs and desires. Sometimes there is confusion regarding chemical peels, which is based on the fact that there is a multitude of different substances used for chemical peels: azelaic acid, glycolic acid, lactic acid, mandelic acid, phytic acid, salicylic acid, trichloroacetic acid, and phenol, just to name a few. With this many options, how do you know which chemical peel substance is best for you?
What is a Chemical Peel?
Chemical peels use chemical compounds to exfoliate, remove fine lines or brown spots, improve skin texture, and diminish the look of acne scars or other skin blemishes. A chemical peel can be superficial, medium, or deep, depending on your needs.
Superficial Chemical Peels
Superficial chemical peels have little to no downtime and are great for exfoliating the skin and stimulating cell renewal. There is no discomfort with superficial chemical peels. They are generally considered safe and effective for all skin types (from very light to very dark skin). Superficial peels are great for patients with sensitive skin conditions, such as acne or rosacea. When used for anti-aging, a series of 3 to 6 superficial peels is considered ideal. Superficial peels can be combined with facials, microdermabrasion, or dermaplaning. A superficial peel can be performed by a licensed aesthetician, or one can even be performed at home on your own. There is no recovery time associated with a superficial chemical peel.
Medium Depth Chemical Peels
Medium depth chemical peels have 3 to 5 days of downtime and are excellent treatment modalities for patients with mild wrinkles, sun damage, and for improvement of skin texture. Medium depth peels are associated with only minimal discomfort during the procedure in most patients. Even though superficial chemical peels can be performed by most aestheticians (and even by the patient himself or herself at home), medium depth peels should only be performed by trained professionals. Medium depth peels may be combined with agents that lighten the skin to improve sunspots and freckling. Medium depth peels also maintain good skin quality and texture and thereby prevent early signs of agins. Medium depth peels may be and should be repeated at various intervals for continued optimal results.
Deep Chemical Peels
Deep chemical peels have 7 to ten 10 days of downtime, followed by a few weeks of redness (erythema). They are very effective in reducing wrinkles, eliminating sun damage, and improving skin texture. Deep chemical peels are typically performed under sedation to improve patient comfort. While the entire recovery process can last for multiple weeks after the deep peel, the results can last for many years. Because of the depth of this peel, deep chemical peels should only be performed by physicians specifically trained in deep chemical peels.
Your aesthetician or phsyician can consult with you and help determine the best procedure of choice to yield the results you are looking with regards to your facial skin. Call us today to schedule your consultation.
Who is a candidate for chemical peels?
Chemical peels can be used for anti-aging, acne, hyperpigmentation, rosacea, and melasma. A trained professional such as Dr. Walker can help you decide which depth of chemical peel is best suited for you. There are many factors that are taken into consideration to decide which chemical peel is best suited for you, such as anticipated results, downtime, skin type, history of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, and history of cold sores.
What about laser resurfacing, IPL, or dermabrasion?
Chemical peels can be used with or instead of laser treatments or IPL. The selection of a chemical peel versus laser treatment or dermabrasion depends on a host of factors, including sensitivity to chemicals, financial considerations, and ultimate goal for the procedure.