Understanding Chemical Peels

A common misconception exists surrounding chemical peels and spa facials.  Many assume that chemical peels may not be all that different from the exfoliating gel applied during a facial. Facials, however, simply remove dead skin cells on the surface, but a cosmetic chemical peel performed by a dermatologist delivers a far deeper skin treatment. Chemical peels work their magic by removing the top layers of the skin, where dead skin cells create dulling or fine lines. Then, the solution will work below the first layer of skin, offering more effective and longer lasting skin care.

 What is a Chemical Peel?

Your doctor will apply a chemical solution to your skin that soaks for a determined length of time. It will then get neutralized with water or an alcohol-based solution. Chemical peels work under the first layer of the skin for several days, causing the topmost layers of skin to peel off naturally. By cleaning away the uppermost layer of skin in a controlled manner, your new, fresh skin takes its place, offering you a fresh clean slate moving forward.

Different Types of Chemical Peels

With three different types of chemical peels to choose from, you will want to consult your dermatologist to decide which one will most benefit you, based on the skin issues you wish to solve.

  • Superficial Peels: This peel will be the mildest treatment available. It gets applied to all skin types and utilizes a chemical called glycolic acid. Superficial peels get left on the skin for a minimal length of time. This kind of peel improves fine wrinkles, mild sun damage, pigment changes in the skin, and acne scars.
  • Medium Peels use a slightly stronger chemical agent that penetrates farther into the skin compared to a superficial peel. Medium peels treat mild to moderate wrinkles, more dramatic long-term sun damage, heavier pigment changes, and precancerous lesions of the skin caused by that long-term sun damage. Medium peels usually get utilized in the facial area.
  • Deep Peels utilize a chemical called phenol to penetrate to the skin’s deepest level. Deep peels treat severe wrinkles, lesions/growths on the skin, long-term sun damage, and pronounced pigment changes. This type of intensive peel can only be used on the face and should not be employed with darker skin tones as it bleaches skin.

Benefits of Chemical Peels

Many patients don’t realize how many different skin issues that chemical peels improve or eliminate. Dermatologist chemical peels may be utilized to:

  • Reduce fine lines and wrinkles
  • Freshen Skin
  • Improve Skin Tone
  • Treat Acne
  • Remove or reduce mild scars
  • Smooth skin on hands, neck, and face
  • Remove fine lines under the eyes and around the mouth
  • Reduce or eliminate lines caused by sun damage
  • Reduce appearance or number of freckles
  • Improve scaled patches of skin
  • Reduce dark spots or splotches caused by birth control pills

It should be noted that chemical peels may not treat severe wrinkles, creases or skin sagging. Your doctor may decide to combine a cosmetic chemical peel with dermabrasion or laser resurfacing depending on your particular skin concerns or needs.

How Long Do Chemical Peels Last?

Lighter peels require little to no recovery period, but their results won’t last as long as deeper chemical peels that treat skin to a greater depth.

Light chemical peels utilize medications like salicylic acid and glycolic acid. These products remove only the top, superficial layers of the skin, resulting in minimal peeling and redness. Removing these top layers reveals fresh, glowing skin. However, they do not address deeper skin layers and therefore will not last as long. Light chemical peels usually last an average of 1 to 2 months.

Medium chemical peels treat deeper wrinkles, laxity, and discoloration. Since you remove more skin, it will impact these deeper lines more effectively. With a deeper repair from a medium peel, you can expect results to last 2 to 6 months.

Deeper peels must be performed with a dermatologist’s careful guidance because these treatments utilize stronger acids. They remove damaged skin at its deepest layer, maximizing potential skin improvements and removing deeper wrinkling. Due to its depth and dramatic treatment, results may last for years.

Keep in mind that chemical peels require multiple treatments, spaced weeks or months apart. You need to give your skin a break and allow for healing between treatments in order to gain optimal results. Additionally, your doctor will advise you on proper skin care regimens to maximize skin health. You may need to apply gentle exfoliants on a consistent basis. You will want to purchase a quality sunscreen to avoid damaging the new skin. Taking care of your skin after treatment greatly impacts how long your chemical peel will last.

Can I Wear Makeup After A Chemical Peel?

Whenever you get a chemical peel, ask your doctor when you can wear makeup again. The answer depends on the depth and strength of the chemical peel. Due to the fact that your skin will peel to varying degrees after a chemical cosmetic treatment, you will need to wait until your skin has recovered in full.  You want to keep the treated area clean while old layers of skin peel away. Applying makeup too soon may cause infections or irritate your skin.

Each individual heals from a chemical peel at a different rate.  The timetable for makeup will range based on skin sensitivity and the different chemical peel medications you have used. Your doctor may advise you to steer clear of cosmetics for 7 to 10 days after your chemical peel. Your skin can only benefit from having extra time to heal and breathe, so make sure you don’t reapply the makeup too early.

Chemical Peel Consultation with Short Hills Dermatology

Chemical peels safely exfoliate your skin while removing dead cells, leaving you with a healthier looking skin. To better understand which chemical peel will work best for your skin, and to fully understand the treatment process and potential side effects, contact the professionals at Short Hills Dermatology. We look forward to offering you the expertise and advice you need!

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