Our Chemical Peels use a chemical solution to improve and smooth the texture of the facial skin by removing its damaged outer layers. It is helpful for those individuals with facial blemishes, wrinkles and uneven skin pigmentation. Jessner’s, Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) and alphahydroxy acids (AHAs) are used for this purpose. The precise formula used may be adjusted to meet each patient’s needs. Although chemical peels 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. This information provides basic information about certain types of chemical peel treatments and the results you might expect. It won’t answer all your questions, since a lot depends on your individual circumstances. Once you and licensed skin specialist have decided on a specific peel program, be sure to ask about any details that you do not understand.
Deciding if a chemical peel is right for you, a chemical peel is most commonly performed for cosmetic reasons — to enhance your appearance and your self confidence. Chemical peel may also remove pre-cancerous skin growths, soften acne facial scars and even control acne.
Alphahydroxy acids (AHAs), such as glycolic, lactic, or fruit acids are the mildest of the peel formulas and produce light peels. These types of peels can provide smoother, brighter-looking skin for people who can’t spare the time to recover from a TCA peel. AHA peels may be used to treat fine wrinkling, areas of dryness, uneven pigmentation and acne. Our licensed skin specialist will make this decision during your consultation and as the treatment proceeds. An alphahydroxy acid, such as glycolic acid, can also be mixed with a facial wash or cream in lesser concentrations as part of a daily skin-care regimen to improve the skin’s texture.
Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) can be used in many concentrations, but it is most commonly used for medium-depth peeling. Fine surface wrinkles, superficial blemishes and pigment problems are commonly treated with TCA. More than one TCA peel may be needed to achieve the desired result.
All chemical peels carry some uncertainty and risk. Our chemical peels are normally safe procedures when performed by a qualified, experienced skin specialist or plastic surgeon. However, some unpredictability and risks such as infection and scarring, while infrequent, are possible.
AHA peels may cause stinging, redness, irritation and crusting. However, as the skin adjusts to the treatment regimen, these problems will subside.
With a TCA peel, your healed skin will be able to produce pigment as always; the peel will not bleach the skin. However, TCA-peel patients are advised to avoid sun exposure for several months after treatment to protect the newly formed layers of skin.
Alphahydroxy acids (AHAs)
- Smooths 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
- A series of peels may be needed
- As with most peel treatments, sunblock use is recommended
Trichloroacetic acid (TCA)
- Smooths out fine surface wrinkles
- Removes superficial blemishes
- Corrects pigment problems
- Can be used on neck or other body areas
- May require pre-treatment with Retin-A or AHA creams
- Treatment takes only 30 minutes
- Peel depth can be adjusted
- Repeat treatment may be needed to maintain results
- Sunblock must be used for several months
- Healing is usually quick
Our skin specialist 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.
After a peel, it is common to experience some temporary flaking or scaling, redness and dryness of the skin. However, these conditions will disappear as the skin adjusts to treatment and will not prevent you from working or engaging in your normal activities. A fresher and improved skin texture will result with continued treatments.
Aerobic exercise or vigorous physical activity should be avoided for the first 48 hours.
Direct sunlight exposure is to be completely avoided immediately following the treatment (including any strong UV light exposure and tanning beds). If some sun exposure cannot be avoided, first apply sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or greater. Sunscreen (with at least a SPF of 15) should become a part of your daily skin care regimen as your skin will become more sensitive to the sun as a result of this treatment.
Improvements from 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.
Research in plastic surgery assures continued advances in effective patient treatment. Dr. David N. Csikai is an active member of American Society of Plastic Surgeons. We would like to thank ASPS for the above information and encourage you to visit the American Society of Plastic Surgeons for more information about Plastic Surgery and other helpful information about the field of Plastic Surgery and difference it has made in the lives of people around the world.