What You Should Know About Chemical Peels

A chemical peel is a cosmetic treatment in which a chemical solution is applied on the skin to eliminate the top layer. The new skin that grows back after the peel is smoother and looks younger. Chemical peels work great at treating wrinkles, scars and discolorations on the skin, and may be done alongside other cosmetic treatments. If you want to know more about chemical peels, head over to San Francisco aesthetic surgery center.

What is the Purpose of a Chemical Peel?

Chemical peels are available in different types and each one of them utilizes a different chemical solution. Here’s more information on the types of peels:

  • Light (superficial) chemical peel: It removes the outer skin layer (epidermis) to help treat fine wrinkles, uneven skin tone, dryness and acne. The procedure can be done every 2-5 weeks depending on what you want to achieve.
  • Medium chemical peel: It removes skin cells from both the epidermis and upper part of the dermis (middle skin layer). The medium peel helps to combat acne, uneven skin tone and wrinkles. It can be repeated after 3-9 months for optimum results.
  • Deep chemical peel: It removes skin cells from the outer skin layer and parts of the middle to lower layer of the dermis. Your physician might recommend a deep peel if you are dealing with deeper wrinkles and scars, or precancerous growths. The procedure can only be done once.

Who’s a Good Candidate?

Just like most other cosmetic procedures out there, chemical peels are not for everybody. Your doctor may warn against a chemical peel or specific types of peels if:

  • You’ve consumed the acne medicine isotretinoin in the past six months
  • Your skin has a dark complexion
  • You have a history of rigid regions triggered by overgrowth of scar tissue
  • You’re a victim of abnormal skin pigmentation
  • You’re prone to outbreaks of cold sores

What to Expect

Before you undergo a chemical peel, your physician will review your medical history. Be ready to answer questions about existing or past health conditions, particularly any conditions related to the heart, kidney and liver. Also, tell your medical practitioner about any medications you’re taking and any cosmetic treatments you’ve had in the past.

After reviewing your health history, the physician will inspect your skin and the desired treatment area. That will help him or her to establish the type of peel that can help you most. Finally, discuss with your doctor about any motivations, expectations, and potential risks. Ensure you understand the amount of treatments you might require, how long it may take to heal and the potential results.

Before the procedure is done, you might have to take an antiviral medication if you’re prone to infections around the mouth. Additionally, you may need to use a retinoid cream if you are undergoing a light or medium peel beforehand to speed up healing. Your doctor may recommend the use of a bleaching agent and a retinoid cream to prevent skin darkening before and after a peel.

The possible side effects of a chemical peel are:

  • Redness lasting for several months after a medium or deep chemical peel
  • Scarring on the lower part of the face
  • Changes in the color of the treated skin

After a chemical peel treatment, avoid unprotected exposure to the sun. You should use sunscreen consistently for a minimum of four weeks to prevent irregular pigmentation on the treated skin. Consult your doctor about the acceptable sun protection techniques.

Also, avoid certain types of cosmetic treatments and hair removal techniques about a week before you get a chemical peel.