“Chemical Peel” is a general classification for a number of chemical treatments, used to exfoliate and rejuvenate the skin. A chemical solution is applied to the skin and works by dissolving the upper layers of the skin. Typically during a chemical peel, nothing actually peels off. As tissue is dissolved, a wound creates on the skin, which stimulates the body’s healing response. This causes new tissue to emerge. Depth and strength of the peel varies, based upon the strength of the chemicals used and the length of time the solution is applied.
There are several types of “peels” and a variety of chemicals used. Some of these are Phenol peels, TCA (Trichloroacetic acid) peels, Glycolic acid and Alpha Hydroxy acid peels.
With a chemical peel, you get some tightening of the skin, you get improvements of pre-cancerous and brown spots and a general resurfacing of the skin. Chemical peels are effective for improving acne and improves acne scarring. They are also very effective at exfoliating and smoothing the skin, as well as improving the texture of the skin. Another advantage of chemical peels is that they can be used on the face and on the chest and back as well.
A chemical peel won’t take over 20 minutes. First, the skin is cleansed and a chemical solution is applied.
Recovery time for a patient who has had a chemical peel will depend the type and strength of the peel they’ve had. With the common alpha-hydroxy and glycolic acid peels have little or no recovery time. A slight pinkness to the skin may be present, but it usually fades rapidly.
With the high concentration peels, you can have some peeling and irritation for a few days afterward. Very aggressive peels with very high concentrations can be more problematic. The post-treatment effects and recovery times can be similar to a total skin resurfacing with a carbon dioxide laser. Recover from an extremely powerful chemical peel can take more than a week.