The Different Depths of Chemical Peels

Cosmetic blemishes and signs of aging may be very troubling for individuals in the San Ramon, California community, as well as in other communities across the globe. These may be some of the first things to make us feel aged or older and many urgently seek treatment to overcome these conditions safely and effectively. Chemical peels are available at many medical spas and clinics to help patients reduce the appearance of many skin problems such as wrinkles, fine lines, acne, sun damage, etc. There are various depths of chemical peels available depending on the severity of the condition as well as the goals of the patient, so those interested should consult with a specialist in the San Ramon area to help determine which is right for them.

There are several different chemicals used such as glycolic acid, trichloroacetic acid (TCA), salicylic acid, "Jessners" solution, and phenol. Depending on the depth of the peel, a different combination of some of these chemicals may be used. Chemical peels may target only the superficial layer of the skin called the epidermis, or may target the deeper layer called the dermis. Those that target the dermis may involve a more lengthy recovery period, but are generally used for more dramatic results. Deeper peels also carry greater risk of complications associated with the condition.

Very light peels using low potency glycolic acid and 10 to 20% TCA penetrate only the dead skin cells that sit on top of the epidermis. These produce almost no injury to the skin. Light peels may use about 70% glycolic acid and 25 to 35% TCA and are used to injure the epidermis. They are also used to stimulate the regeneration of a new epidermis. Patients may experience burning sensations during this procedure. Next, a medium depth peel may use 35% TCA combined with another chemical (glycolic acid) and are used to injure the upper part of the dermis. This helps to stimulate the production of new collagen. This procedure may involve burning sensations and cool compresses may be used during the procedure. A topical anesthetic may be used as well. Finally, the deep peels injure the middle of the dermis and use a phenol solution. Anesthesia is used during this procedure.

A chemical peel may take about an hour to perform. After a superficial peel, there may be limited effects after the procedure, while medium peels may involve some redness. Deeper peels generally take a few weeks to recover. Depending on the type of peel used, several procedures may be required to reach optimal results. Superficial peels may be performed several times over several months, while deeper peels usually require just one treatment. Repeat treatments may be necessary in the future to maintain results no matter the type of chemical peel used.

There may be some minor irritation of the skin with superficial peels, while risks of deeper peels may include infection, redness, discoloration and scarring. Vital signs must be monitored while performing a deep peel and, as mentioned, anesthesia is used during the treatment. With a superficial peel, there is generally no recovery time required after the procedure. Patients may return to work immediately, which is why some call superficial peels 'lunchtime peels'. Deep peels may require occlusive bandages and the recovery time may last weeks to months.

Learn more about chemical peels in San Ramon, California.

Have specific questions?

All Article Categories

Before & After Photos

Suggested Doctors

Recently Asked Questions