Chemical Peels: Are They Right for You?

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chemical peelsChemical peels have been a popular skin care treatment for many years, and with good reason. They can help people who have trouble with scars, sun damage, acne, and even aging. One of the things that people like best about chemical peels is that it is not invasive, even though the peeling can make it look like it is. The recovery time will depend on the type of peel you get. If you have been looking at some cosmetic dermatology options and are considering a chemical peel, then here is a quick guide for you.

What Are Chemical Peels, Anyway?

A chemical peel is a procedure that uses acid (there are different types) that will break down the top layers of skin. The acid causes a reaction and dissolves the dead skin creating tiny abrasions that will heal while building collagen and regenerating new skin. The dead skin then later peels (exfoliates) leaving healthy glowing skin underneath. Chemical peels reduce the look of fine lines, wrinkles, acne scars, and uneven skin tone. There are superficial, medium and deep peels and are determined by the type of acid and the concentration level used during the procedure. Typical solutions may include glycolic, salicylic, kojic acid and malic acid or for medium and deep peels trichloroacetic acid is used.

The Procedure

When you go in for a chemical peel a technician will clean the area being treated. They may also apply an ointment to areas around the eyes and mouth to protect these areas from the acid.  Then the solution is applied. Your dermatologist will have selected the proper combination of chemicals based on the type of peel (mild, medium or deep) to make sure that the solution is tailored to your procedure. The amount of time the acid remains on the face depends on the type of peel.  A mild strength will neutralize itself where the deeper peels may require a neutralizing agent to be applied to stop the reaction of the acid.

The Recovery Period

The recovery time of a chemical peel depends on the type of peel you get.  A superficial peel will usually leave your skin red for about 20 to 30 minutes and there will be some mild peeling of the dead skin for about a week. For a medium depth or deep depth peel, your skin will be raw and red.  You must always keep a petroleum type ointment on the skin during the healing process except when washing your face. Healing can take anywhere from 5 to 10 days for medium peel and possibly up to 20 days for a deep peel.

What Happens After Treatment?

There are a few things that you can expect after you have undergone a chemical peel procedure. For one, the skin may be sensitive, so avoid being exposed to the sun if you can. If you must go out in the sun, make sure to wear a strong sunscreen. The sunscreen should be applied before going outside so that it is already working by the time the sun hits your skin. Your dermatologist will let you know how long you should do this depending on your treatment. Depending on the type of chemical peel you had, you may have redness and medium and deep chemical peels could be a little more severe. In some cases, with deep peels, you may have blisters or swelling, which should dissipate within a couple of weeks.

Who Should Get a Chemical Peel?

When it comes to cosmetic dermatology, not all treatments are for everybody. However, chemical peels are effective with just about any skin type. Even if you have sensitive skin, or an unusual pigmentation, a chemical peel can still refresh and rejuvenate your skin. That said, it is always a good idea to consult a cosmetic dermatology professional before going in for a chemical peel. They can examine your skin and make an evaluation as to whether a chemical peel is appropriate for you. This examination is also when they will determine the type of peel you will need and the chemical solution concentration to be used.

A chemical peel is a great option for getting your skin feeling and looking younger and more vibrant. It’s non-invasive and provides great results. Cosmetic dermatology is filled with treatments and procedures that can have you looking great and feeling confident. If you are in San Antonio and have any questions about chemical peels or other treatments, call Ochs Dermatology today.

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