A chemical peel is a nonsurgical skin rejuvenation treatment that improves the appearance of the skin. It is a process where an acidic caustic solution is applied to the face, which allows dead and damaged skin cells to peel and strip away, leaving behind a fresh layer of skin growth. Oklahoma City plastic surgeon, Dr. Clinton Webster, offers chemical peels in a variety of strengths. Chemical peels can be used on the face or neck to help improve skin irregularities, uneven sun spots and skin tone, scars, and fine lines. Most patients see a significant improvement in their skin texture after a chemical peel treatment. The strength of the peel used will be determined based on the patient’s skin needs and aesthetic goals.
A medium depth peel consists of Trichloroacetic acid (known as a TCA peel). It penetrates the skin more deeply than the superficial peel, with stronger effects. The trade-off, however, is a less comfortable procedure with a longer recovery time. This procedure also costs more than a superficial peel. Recovery can take a full week or longer.
A deep peel is the harshest of all chemical peels. It is also the most expensive and has the longest recovery. However, this peel, containing Phenol, does have a much stronger effect and can combat more persistent problems, like skin lesions and deep wrinkles. Deep chemical peels tend to bleach the top layer of the skin. Therefore, it is not recommended for darker skin tones. These are reserved for individuals with skin wrinkling around the lips, deep wrinkles from sun exposure and deeper scars.
The process for applying a chemical peel is generally the same for each type, but will vary slightly depending on the level of solution being applied. Anesthesia is not used during this procedure. However, it may be considered for Phenol peels. First, the face is thoroughly cleaned. Then, the chemical agent is then brushed on to the skin. Patients will experience some mild stinging at this time. The face is then washed and a cool saline compress is applied to act as a neutralizer. Patients will need to wear sunscreen and limit sun exposure as much as possible.
A chemical peel does not hurt. However, it may cause some discomfort. Most patients will feel tingling and a slight burning sensation, which will subside shortly after the procedure has been completed. Phenol peels result in a greater degree of discomfort, but the practitioner should plan for this before the procedure begins.
It is very common to combine a chemical peel with another procedure. Microdermabrasion is one such procedure that provide effective results when combined with a peel. This will be considered a combination program that can be repeated every six weeks.
There are many alternatives to consider. Individuals looking to reduce fine lines, blotchiness and other mild skin conditions may benefit from a chemical peel, which removes dead skin cells and accelerates the generation of new skin. If deep wrinkles are the issue, a Phenol peel may help, but patients may also want to consider another treatment such as BOTOX or Dysport.