Chemical Peels have been performed by dermatologists for the past 100 years. They are used to improve the appearance of the skin. A chemical solution is applied to the skin to cause it to lift up and peel off. New, regenerated skin is usually more even in colour, smoother and less wrinkled.
What can chemical peels do?
Chemical peels may improve acne, sun damage, precancerous keratosis, and irregular increased pigmentation (e.g. sun and age spots, freckles, melasma), flatten mild scarring and reduce or eliminate fine lines.
Chemical peels do not remove sags, bulges, severe wrinkles, deep scarring or broken blood vessels. They do not change the pore size, but may improve the appearance.
What should I do before the peel?
Notify Dr. Guenther if you:
- Have a history of cold sores, so that you can be on preventative medication to avoid an outbreak.
- Have a history of abnormal wound healing, thick scars or keloids.
- Have a History of eczema, sun sensitivity or collagen vascular disease (e.g. lupus, scleroderma…).
- Smoke. Smoking may hinder wound healing after a chemical peel.
- Are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- Have taken isotretinoin (e.g. Accutane, Clarus, Epuris) prednisone or cancer treatment within the past 2 years.
- If you have ever had radiation treatment.
One week before the peel, avoid electrolysis, waxing, depilatories, masks, hair dyes, permanent waving or straightening treatments, vitamin A acid preparations and abrasive scrubs in the areas to be peeled.
The day of the peel, come to the office with a fully cleaned face without make-up, cologne or after shave.
What happens after treatment?
A reaction similar to a mild to severe sunburn occurs after the peel. The skin often feels tight and may itch or burn. With the glycolic acid superficial peels, there is usually redness, then mild scaling lasting 3-5 days. Scabbing may rarely occur. With the deeper trichloracetic acid peels, the skin is initially white then becomes red and tight. Over the next 7-10 days, scabbing, peeling and occasionally swelling and blisters occur. The skin is often pink for some time after a peel.
What should I do after a chemical peel?
Lipstick and eye makeup (providing the eyelids have not been peeled) can be applied immediately after a chemical peel. Foundation should be avoided until all the peeling has finished. A water spray immediately followed by a noncomedogenic/nonacnegenic moisturizer can be applied several times a day and may help with healing, tightness and itching. DO NOT PICK, PEEL, SCRAPE, SCRATCH NOR USE A MASK AS DOING SO COULD CAUSE SCARRING. The sun should be avoided since the new skin is sensitive and abnormal pigmentation might occur. Vitamin A acid and glycolic acid creams or lotions can be restarted 1 week after the peeling finishes.
What are the possible complications?
A temporary or permanent colour change, lighter or darker, could occur, particularly in darker-skinned individuals. Scarring rarely occurs. Bacterial and viral infections may rarely occur. There is a small risk of a recurrent cold sore in people who have had cold sores before.