A chemical peel is a cosmetic procedure used to rejuvenate the skin and to treat skin blemishes.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Types of chemical peels
- What can be treated with chemical peels?
- How does chemical peeling work?
- How long do chemical peels take?
- Do chemical peels hurt?
- Are chemical peels appropriate for dark skin?
Types of chemical peels
The type of peel used is determined by how deep the peel needs to be. Alpha-hydroxy-acid (AHA) peels are the mildest form of chemical peel. They are made from naturally occurring acids including citric, malic, lactic, tartaric and glycolic acid. Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) is commonly used for a medium depth chemical peel. Phenol provides the deepest peel but carries the most complications and can be dangerous if used by an inexperienced practitioner.
What can be treated with chemical peels?
Chemical peels are usually used to ease superficial blemishes and fine lines around the eyes and mouth. AHA peels can be used to treat acne, wrinkles, dry and rough skin, age spots, scaly patches and warts. However, you may need an alternative treatment if you’re wishing to target deep wrinkles.
How does chemical peeling work?
At the consultation, the doctor determines the strength of the chemical solution required to treat your skin. The solution is applied to your face. If only imperfections are being treated, the doctor applies the solution only to that part of the skin using a fine brush. Care must be taken not to contaminate the surrounding normal skin. Depending on the severity of the problem area, several coats may be applied. The solution is made to neutralize after the required treatment time. After the treatment period, the solution is washed off with water. In the following days the old skin tissue dies and peels off, exposing the new soft pink skin.
How long do chemical peels take?
Often referred to as the ‘lunchtime peel’, AHA peels can be performed in half an hour. A partial skin peel also takes around 30 minutes. Deeper treatments or full face peels take about an hour. A deep full face peel may need to be carried out in hospital with anaesthetic. Sedation is required with phenol peels. You may need to be monitored in hospital for a few days. The solution is left on for about one to four minutes four minutes for lighter peels.
Do chemical peels hurt?
During the procedure you may feel some tingling and burning. Depending on the concentration, anaesthetic may be used to alleviate pain. After treatment, your face will throb and tingle.
Are chemical peels appropriate for dark skin?
Chemical peels can cause hyperpigmentation in people with dark skin. You need to find a doctor who is experienced in treating dark skinned people with chemical peeling and ask them if your skin is suitable for the procedure.
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