A chemical peel is a skin exfoliation treatment that improves
your skin texture, tone, and volume for a rejuvenated appearance. Chemical
peels use acids to damage layers of your skin. The subsequent healing process
improves your skin’s appearance.
How a chemical peel is performed
Chemical peels are an in-office procedure, and are commonly
offered in medical spas. They can be performed on your face, neck, chest, and
hands. Chemical peels can be done at superficial, medium, or deep skin levels to
treat different skin issues.
A superficial peel can improve skin discoloration and
smoothness. It targets just the outer-most layer of your skin, and is your
mildest option. An alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) such as glycolic acid is commonly
used. Your skin specialist will cleanse your skin and carefully apply the AHA
liquid, allow about 15 minutes for it to take effect, and then clean it off.
A medium peel can treat more conditions like age spots, acne
scars, wrinkles, fine lines, freckles, and moderate discoloration. A medium
peel penetrates into the middle dermis layer of your skin. Trichloroacetic acid
(TCA) is commonly used. Your skin will be cleansed and the TCA liquid will be
wiped on. Sometimes two coats are used. TCA is self-neutralizing, meaning it
can be left on longer without added effect.
A deep peel can treat moderate wrinkles, age spots,
freckles, and shallow scars. It penetrates far into the middle dermis layer of
your skin. High concentration TCA or the chemical phenol is commonly used. Like
other peels, your skin will be cleansed and the chemical will be applied, allowed
to sit for a variable amount of time, and then cleaned off.
Your recovery and downtime can vary significantly depending
on the type of peel you have. A superficial peel may only cause mild redness. A
medium peel can cause moderate redness, irritation, and of course peeling for
about a week. A
deep peel causes significant redness, irritation, and peeling that can last up
to 8 weeks.