There are currently various ways to achieve facial skin rejuvenation. Chemical peels are among these methods. It is a skin resurfacing treatment that involves the use of chemical solutions to peel away dead skin, revealing new, smoother, and healthier-looking skin.
WHAT ARE THE USES OF CHEMICAL PEELS?
Chemical peels can be applied on the face, the neck, or even the hands. They can also be used to:
- Reduce visible signs of aging caused by sun damage and environmental pollutants
- Minimize fine lines, wrinkles, and the appearance of pores
- Improve the appearance of uneven skin tone and dullness
- Reduce the presence of freckles, age spots, and melasma, which are dark patches that may be caused by pregnancy and the use of birth control pills
- Treat certain types of acne by decreasing breakouts and minimizingn post-acne hyperpigmentation
- Improve overall appearance and maintain healthy skin
WHO CAN USE CHEMICAL PEELS?
People who are fair-skinned and have light hair are better candidates for this treatment. Patients with darker complexion may also exhibit good outcomes depending on the problem being treated, although they are more likely to get uneven skin tone by undergoing the procedure. However, skin discoloration is often temporary and may be reduced with proper treatment before and after the chemical peel.
Chemical peels also do not work well on sagging skin, bulges, and severe wrinkles. In these conditions, other cosmetic treatments may be tried such as the use of fillers and/or Ultherapy. Dr. Matsuda and Dr. Sheu in Honolulu, Hawaii will assist you in choosing the treatment that is best for you.
HOW IS A CHEMICAL PEEL TREATMENT DONE?
A chemical peel treatment involves the application of a chemical solution to the patient’s skin. There is noticeable skin peeling after 1 to 14 days depending on the depth of penetration of the chemicals. This procedure aims to somehow destroy certain parts of the skin in order to encourage new skin cells to grow on the treated area. The chemicals that are used are called wounding agents or exfoliating agents.
There are different types of chemical peels. These include:
- Superficial peels. These are a mild type of chemical peel that can be done on all skin types. This type of chemical peel contains dilute acid, most likely glycolic acid.
- Medium peels. This type penetrates deeper into the skin and can cause a second-degree burn to the patient’s skin. Its main peeling agent is trichloroacetic acid although other peeling agents may also be used.
- Deep peels. It penetrates much deeper into the layers of the skin than medium peels. This type of chemical peels can only be used on the face. Phenol is typically used in this type of treatment. Deep peels are not advisable for use in darker-skinned patients since it may cause uneven skin tone and bleach some part of the skin.
WHAT CAN I EXPECT AFTER MY CHEMICAL PEEL PROCEDURE?
A reaction similar to a sunburn is experienced by patients who undergo chemical peels, but the results vary depending on the type of chemical peel used. It can also result to redness and peeling followed by scaling, but this gradually fades in 3 to 7 days. You may choose to undergo repeated sessions using the milder types of chemical peels with 1 to 4 week intervals until you are satisfied with the results.
On the other hand, swelling and blisters may be seen after medium to deep chemical peels. These blisters eventually break, crust, and peel off in about 7 to 14 days. With this type of chemical peels, the procedure can be repeated in intervals 6 to 12 months if deemed necessary.
A few days after treatment, bandages may be applied on the treated skin. You will also be advised to avoid sun exposure for several months after the procedure as it can damage your fragile new skin.
WHAT ARE POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONS FROM A CHEMICAL PEEL?
A temporary skin discoloration may occur after the chemical peel since some skin types react differently to the treatment. In other cases, scarring may appear although the risk is low. For patients with herpes history, there is a risk of reappearance of cold sores, but nothing that cannot be treated with medication prescribed by the doctor.