A chemical peel is a procedure done by a dermatologist. A chemical solution is applied to the face, for the purpose of removing the upper layer of skin cells. A chemical peel accelerates the rate of new skin growth, promotes lightening of pigment, and imparts healthier, more uniform skin. Chemical peels can be combined with skin lightening procedures to maximize results.
Chemical peels have several benefits. First of all, they reduce wrinkles. The procedure separates and removes the top layers of skin to reveal the smoother, younger-looking skin below. A peel may also stimulate your skin to produce more collagen, which will promote fewer wrinkles and a younger-looking complexion.
Acne scarring is also affected by chemical peels. The peel gets rid of dead skin cells, which results in an evened-out texture. Acne scars, freckles, sunspots, and other discolorations are greatly improved by chemical peels. Chemical peeling is a quick and simple procedure with a short recovery time.
Types of Chemical Peels
There are several different types of chemical peels; you and your dermatologist should discuss them and choose the one that suits your individual needs best.
Alpha hydroxy peels typically use glycolic acid to reduce the appearance of fine lines and smooth out rough skin. This is a mild peel, so while it probably won’t require any anesthetic, it will require a series of treatments to achieve the desired results.
Beta hydroxy peels use salicylic acid to treat very acne-prone skin. This type of peel is deeper than an alpha hydroxy peel and offers more striking and longer-lasting results. It is still a mild peel, though, and usually does not require anesthetic and may still require a series of treatments.
Jessner’s peels use a combination of ingredients that form a stronger solution than the alpha or beta hydroxyl peels. These peels require a recovery time of about a week, but do not require anesthetics.
TCA peels use trichloroacetic acid to treat many skin imperfections, such as sun damage, wrinkles, and acne scarring. Anesthetic may not be required during the procedure, but over-the-counter pain medications can be taken for the following day or two to reduce stinging. The recovery time is about a week, and the results are dramatic.
Phenol peels provide the most dramatic results of all. This peel can not only treat visual imperfections, but may also be used to remove precancerous growths. This is a more involved procedure which requires local anesthesia during the procedure and pain medication after. Recovery time can be up to a month, but many people find that the results are well worth it.
Your dermatologist may advise you to apply certain products to your skin for several weeks before your treatment to exfoliate your skin and maximize the effects of the peel. In addition, a silicone gel can help your skin post-peel. This works by promoting collagen and lipid production, helping to moisturize and heal your skin. Silicone gels may also help reduce hyperpigmentation and significantly enhance the results of the procedure. Be sure to use sunscreen after a peel, as your skin is likely to be much more sensitive to sunlight. Ask your dermatologist about recommended aftercare.
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