Chemical peels, also referred as chem.-exfoliation or derma-peeling, are used to improve the appearance of the skin. In this treatment, a chemical solution is applied to the skin, which causes it to exfoliate and peel off. The new, regenerated skin is usually smoother and less wrinkled than the old skin. The new skin is also temporarily more sensitive to the sun.
Chemical peels can be effectively employed to treat certain skin conditions or for aesthetic improvement. Fine lines under the eyes or around the mouth and wrinkles caused by sun damage, aging, and hereditary factors can often be reduced or eliminated with this procedure. Sags, bulges, and more severe wrinkles do not respond well to chemical peels. They may require other cosmetic surgical procedures, such as carbon dioxide laser resurfacing, a face lift, brow lift, eye lift, or soft tissue filler. A dermatologic surgeon can help determine the most appropriate type of treatment for each individual.
Chemical peels are performed on the face, neck or hands. Generally, fair-skinned and light-haired patients are ideal candidates for chemical peels. Patients with darker skin types may also have good results, but are at a greater risk of uneven pigmentation after the peel.
There are following basic types of chemical peels:
Superficial Chemical Peel
It is also referred as lunchtime peel or Light Chemical peel. Superficial peels are done with a solution containing alphahydroxy acids (AHAs), such as glycolic, lactic, salicylic, or fruit acids, which penetrate only the outer layer of skin to gently exfoliate it. Light chemical peels are ideal for people who want the benefits of a facial peel but do not wish to spend the time required to recover from a deeper peel.
The treatment is used to improve the appearance of mild skin discoloration and rough skin as well as to refresh the face, neck, chest or hands.
Medium Chemical peel
Medium Chemical peel makes use of Glycolic or trichloroacetic acid, that penetrate the outer and middle layers of skin to remove damaged skin cells. The treatment is used to improve age spots, fine lines and wrinkles, freckles and moderate skin discoloration. It can be used to smooth rough skin and treat some precancerous skin growths, i.e. actinic keratosis.
Similar to the light chemical peel, medium chemical peels require less downtime than a deeper peel. TCA peels are the preferred choice for patients with darker skin.
Deep Chemical peel
Deep chemical peels are the strongest of the facial peels. Tricholoracetic acid or phenol is applied to deeply penetrate the middle layer of skin to remove damaged skin cells. The treatment removes moderate lines, age spots, freckles and shallow scars. Patients will see a dramatic improvement in skin appearance. The procedure is used on the face and only can be performed once.
The procedure takes longer than other peels (one to two hours) and has the longer downtime.