Chemical Peel

If You’re Considering Chemical Peel…

Chemical peel uses a chemical solution to improve and smooth the texture of the facial skin by removing its damaged outer layers. It is helpful for those individuals with facial blemishes, wrinkles and uneven skin pigmentation. Phenol, trichloroacetic acid (TCA) and alphahydroxy acids (AHAs) are used for this purpose. The precise formula used may be adjusted to meet each patient’s needs. Although chemical peel may be performed in conjunction with a facelift, it is not a substitute for such surgery, nor will it prevent or slow the aging process. This brochure provides basic information about certain types of chemical peel treatments and the results you might expect. It won’t answer all your questions, since a lot depends on your individual circumstances. Once you and your plastic surgeon have decided on a specific peel program, be sure to ask about any details that you do not understand.

Deciding if chemical peel is right for you Chemical peel is most commonly performed for cosmetic reasons — to enhance your appearance and your self confidence. Chemical peel may also remove pre-cancerous skin growths, soften acne facial scars and even control acne. In certain cases, health insurance may cover the peel procedure. Be sure to check your policy and contact your insurance company before the procedure is performed.

Peel Formulas at a Glance

Alphahydroxy acids (AHAs)

Uses:

  • Smooths rough, dry skin
  • Improves texture of sun-damaged skin
  • Aids in control of acne
  • Can be mixed with bleaching agent to correct pigment problems
  • Can be used as TCA pre-treatment

Considerations:

  • A series of peels may be needed
  • As with most peel treatments, sunblock use is recommended

Trichloroacetic acid (TCA)

Uses:

  • Smooths out fine surface wrinkles
  • Removes superficial blemishes
  • Corrects pigment problems

Considerations:

  • Can be used on neck or other body areas
  • May require pre-treatment with Retin-A or AHA creams
  • Treatment takes only 10-15 minutes
  • Preferred for darker-skinned patients
  • Peel depth can be adjusted
  • Repeat treatment may be needed to maintain results
  • Sunblock must be used for several months
  • Healing is usually quick, much quicker than with a phenol peel

Phenol

Uses:

  • Corrects blotches caused by: sun exposure, birth-control pills, aging
  • Smooths out coarse wrinkles
  • Removes pre-cancerous growths

Considerations:

  • Used on the face only
  • Not recommended for dark-skinned individuals
  • Procedure may pose risk for patients with heart problems
  • Full-face treatment may take one hour or more
  • Recovery may be slow – Complete healing may take several months
  • May permanently remove facial freckles
  • Sun protection, including sunblock, must always be used
  • Results are dramatic and long-lasting
  • Permanent skin lightening and lines of demarcation may occur

Your New Look

Improvements from AHA peels may be very subtle at first. You may detect a healthier glow to your skin. With continued treatments, you will notice a general improvement in the texture of your skin.

The results of a TCA peel are usually not as long-lasting as those of phenol peel. However, your skin will be noticeably smoother and fresher-looking.

If you’re planning a phenol peel, you can expect dramatic improvement in the surface of your skin – fewer fine wrinkles, fewer blemishes and more even-toned skin. Your results will be long-lasting, although not immune to the effects of aging and sun exposure.