A chemical peel is an aesthetic procedure to correct fine lines and wrinkles caused by aging and is performed by a medically trained esthetician. The procedure helps improve the tone, texture, and appearance of the skin’s surface.
During the procedure, mild chemical agents are applied to the skin. This causes the topmost layer of dead skin to flake off and reveal a layer of new, healthy, undamaged skin. A chemical peel is a skin resurfacing technique that can help improve the color, texture, and smoothness of the skin.
At Greco MD, chemical peels are an in-office procedure, performed by a licensed medical aesthetician.
The chemical peel process works by causing an intentional injury to the topmost (superficial) layers of skin. This injury stimulates the growth of new skin, which is usually smoother and less wrinkled.
The process can help add a youthful glow to your skin and reduce wrinkles, acne breakouts, and enlarged pores. Chemical peels can be performed on the face, neck, or hands. Depending on the chemical peel performed, they can help with a variety of skin issues, such as:
- Improving the appearance of mild scars
- Treating some types of acne
- Reducing fine lines under the eyes and around the mouth
- Reducing age spots, freckles, and dark patches (melasma) caused from pregnancy or birth control pills
- Treating wrinkles caused by sun damage and aging
- Improving the look and feel of skin
- Improving pigment caused by sun damage
A variety of chemical peels are available for all skin types, tones, and textures. Based on the Fitzpatrick level of your skin, a peel can be customized for each individual with less risk of damage.
Depending on the depth of the chemical peel used, several treatments may be needed to achieve maximum results.
Chemical peels can benefit people with fine wrinkles due to sun damage, cigarette smoking, and aging. More severe wrinkles may need more involved cosmetic procedures, such as a facelift, brow lift, eyelid lift, laser skin rejuvenation, or dermal fillers.
During your pre-procedure consultation, inform the provider about any history of scarring, recurring cold sores, recent injectable procedures, and use of Accutane or radiation treatments to the face. These are factors that can impact the success of the chemical procedure.
There is a small risk of reactivating cold sores during the process, but this can be managed with medication. Being open with your provider about your health history helps ensure the best results.
During the consultation, you may be asked to stop taking certain medications; and instructed to prepare your skin for a chemical peel by using products such as Retin-A, Hydroquinone, or glycolic acid. Antibiotics or antiviral drugs may also be prescribed.
The intended strength of the peel needed for you will be determined based on the condition of your skin and treatment goals. The depth of the peel refers to the layers of skin that will be impacted by the procedure.
Deeper peels can increase skin elasticity by encouraging collagen growth and help achieve long-term improvements in the appearance of wrinkles. However, deeper wrinkles have better results with a CO2 laser resurfacing procedure.
The chemical peel procedure does not usually cause significant discomfort or pain. However, you may feel a burning or stinging sensation for about 5 to 10 minutes. A numbing agent can help with this, especially if your procedure involves a deeper peel.
During the procedure, your face is first cleansed. Excess oil is removed with a topical astringent solution. Next, one or more chemical solutions, such as glycolic acid, trichloroacetic acid, salicylic acid, lactic acid, or carbolic acid (phenol), are applied to the skin.
The treated area may be red and swollen for a few days after treatment. The new skin that grows back to replace the peeled layers appears fresher and more radiant.
You may see redness of skin in the treated area after your chemical peel procedure. However, there is usually no pain or discomfort. The chemical peel causes your skin to flake and scale within 48-72 hours. Depending on the peel used this can last 7-10 days.
There may also be some swelling and blistering of the skin with medium or deep peels. The blisters will crust, turn brown, and peel off over the next two weeks. You may be instructed to wash the area with lukewarm water and apply a soothing ointment or cream.
Using the appropriate post-peel products is important to achieving the best results from the treatment. These will be provided to you. Additional products may be recommended to ensure you achieve the maximum benefits.
More intense peels may require greater downtime for healing and recovery. Depending on the intensity of treatment, healing can take anywhere from a couple of days to two weeks.
After a chemical peel, your skin is more sensitive to the sun. A broad-spectrum sunscreen (SPF 30 or above) is vital to protect your skin from the sun’s UVA and UVB rays for several months after treatment. Continued daily use of a physical block SPF will help maintain your results.
It is best to avoid harsh direct sunlight between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Always remember to reapply sunscreen and wear a wide-brim hat and sunglasses when you are in the sun.
Dr. Timothy Greco and his trusted team are skilled at all types of facial treatments and procedures that help counter the effects of aging and reduce facial scarring.
Greco MD focuses on the face, head, and neck at their in-office, state-certified aesthetic surgical center. If you are interested in having a chemical peel treatment, we can help!
Get in touch today to schedule a consultation with Greco MD’s licensed medical aesthetician. For appointments, call (610) 664-8830 or check the provider’s schedule online.