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   home > Skin Treatments > Skin Peeling
  Skin Peeling (Chemical Peel)  
  Chemical peel is most commonly performed for cosmetic reasons -- to enhance your appearance, remove the signs of aging from the face and give that glow. Chemical peel uses a chemical solution to improve and smoothen the texture of the facial skin by removing its damaged outer layers and tightening its underlying layers. It is helpful for those individuals with facial blemishes, wrinkles and uneven skin pigmentation. Chemical peel may also remove pre-cancerous skin growths, soften acne facial scars and even control acne. 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. Phenol, trichloroacetic acid (TCA) and alphahydroxy acids (AHAs) are commonly used chemicals for this purpose. The precise formula used may be adjusted to meet each patient's needs.  
 
 
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THE BEST CANDIDATES FOR A FOREHEAD LIFT

Alphahydroxy acids (AHAs)

Alphahydroxy acids (AHAs), such as glycolic, lactic, or fruit acids are the mildest of the peel formulas and produce light peels.

Uses :
---- Smooth 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, sun block use is recommended.

Trichloroacetic acid (TCA)
Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) can be used in many concentrations, but it is most commonly used for medium-depth peeling.

Uses :
---- Smoothen 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.
---- Sun block must be used for several months.
---- Healing is usually quick, much quicker than with a phenol peel.

Phenol :
Phenol is the strongest of the chemical solutions and produces a deep peel.

Uses :
---- Corrects blotches caused by: sun exposure, birth-control pills, aging.
---- Smooth 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 sun block, must always be used.
---- Results are dramatic and long-lasting.
---- Permanent skin lightening and lines of demarcation may occur.

 

AM I THE RIGHT CANDIDATE FOR THE TREATMENT ?

Peels can help you remove blemishes, fine wrinkles, superficial scars, pigmentation changes due to acne and a few precancerous pathologies from your skin. It tightens the loose skin, improves its texture and complexion, gives it a glowing fresh look and rejuvenates it, by removing certain signs of aging. The treatment makes you look younger by a few years.

WHAT ARE THE UNCERTAINTIES AND RISKS ?

Although a non-surgical treatment, the procedure can lead to serious complications in untrained hands. A wrong choice of peel formula or wrong concentration of peel solution can lead to scarring of the skin. It can lead to pigment changes which may be permanent. You are advised to let the surgeon know if you have a tendency to tan easily or have a very sensitive skin. Deep peels like phenol peels can be risky in patients with darker skin tone to those who tan very quickly. You should follow the surgeon's instructions closely like protecting your skin from sunlight.

HOW DO I PLAN MY SURGERY ?

It is very important that you find a physician who has adequate training and experience in skin resurfacing. Your plastic surgeon may offer you a choice of peel techniques or suggest a combination of peels, Lasers and surgical procedures to obtain the best result for you.

During your initial consultation, it is important that you discuss your expectations with your plastic surgeon. Don't hesitate to ask any questions or express any concerns that you may have. Expect your plastic surgeon to explain the planned procedure in detail, including its risks and benefits, the recovery period and the costs. If you have a history of herpes, you should inform your physician prior to the procedure. Remember, chemical peel treatments are usually not covered by medical insurance unless they are performed for medically related problems.

HOW DO I PREPARE MYSELF FOR THE SURGERY ?

Your plastic surgeon will instruct you on how to prepare for your peel treatment.

Sometimes Retin A - a prescription medication derived from Vitamin A - is used to pre-treat the skin. This thins out the skin's surface layer, allowing the TCA solution to penetrate more deeply and evenly. If your skin won't tolerate Retin-A pre-treatment, an AHA cream may be used instead. Hydroquinone, a bleaching agent, is sometimes used in conjunction with Retin-A or AHA pre-treatment, especially if you have blotchy skin areas or pigmentation problems. You may have to spend a month or more in the pre-treatment phase before the doctor will schedule your actual peel.

HOW LONG WOULD I NEED TO STAY IN THE HOSPITAL ?

Most chemical peels may be safely performed in a plastic surgeon's office, office-based surgical facility or outpatient surgical center. You would be leaving your plastic surgeon's office within about 30 min or so. You may have to stay overnight in a hospital only if some other cosmetic procedures are performed simultaneously.

IS THE PROCEDURE PAINFUL ?

Anesthesia isn't required for peels because the chemical solution acts as an anesthetic. At the most, a peel may cause only a slight stinging sensation during application lasting only a few minutes.

WHAT IS THE SURGICAL TECHNIQUE USED ?

AHA peels/treatments: Your doctor will apply the AHA solution to your cleansed facial skin, a process that usually takes no more than 10 minutes. No "after-peel" ointment or covering is required. Depending on the strength of the peel, periodic treatments may be necessary until the desired effects are achieved.

For some patients, the application of an AHA-based face wash or cream once or twice a day at home will be sufficient to accomplish the desired goal. Your plastic surgeon may add Retin-A or a bleaching agent to your at-home treatment schedule. After several weeks of at-home use, your doctor will examine your skin to determine if your regimen needs adjustment.

Phenol and TCA peels: Typically, the skin is first thoroughly cleansed. Then, the surgeon will carefully apply the phenol or TCA solution. You may feel a stinging sensation as the peel solution is applied, but this feeling will quickly pass.

A full-face TCA peel usually takes no more than 15 minutes. Two or more TCA peels may be needed to obtain the desired result, and those may be spaced out over several months. Mild TCA peels may be repeated as often as every month.

WHAT CARE DO I NEED TO TAKE AFTER THE TREATMENT ?

After an AHA peel, it is common to experience some temporary flaking or scaling, redness and dryness of the skin. A TCA peel may also cause significant swelling, depending on the strength of the peel used. In case of deeper peels, a crust or scab will form on the treated area. However, these conditions will disappear as the skin adjusts to treatment within a few days. To help your face heal properly, it is essential that you follow your doctor's specific post-operative instructions.

WHEN CAN I RESUME MY DAILY ACTIVITIES AND JOIN MY DUTIES ?

With an AHA peel, the temporary redness, flaking and dryness that you experience will not prevent you from working or engaging in your normal activities. A fresher and improved skin texture will result with continued AHA treatments. Remember, protecting your skin from the sun is also important following these mild acid peels. Ask your doctor to recommend a sun block with adequate UVA and UVB protection and use it every day.

With a TCA peel, the moderate discomfort and mild swelling you may experience will subside within the first week. In about a week to ten days, your new skin will be apparent and you should be healed sufficiently to return to your normal activities. It is best to avoid sun exposure unless you are adequately protected.

YOUR NEW LOOK

Improvements from AHA and TCA 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. 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. However, peel is very simple procedure taking only a few minutes and you may repeat it as and when required to maintain the youthful glowing skin.

 

 
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