Chemical peels are used to improve the skin’s appearance by removing the damaged outer skin layers. Beneath the old layers of skin are "new" layers with fewer wrinkles and a warmer glow. During treatment, a chemical solution is applied to the skin that causes it to separate and peel off, revealing the underlying, undamaged layers of skin and stimulating the healing process, which produces collagen.
Both light and deep chemical peels are available in order to treat specific skin types and conditions, and both approaches come in different concentrations and formulas. A light chemical peel removes the outermost layers of the skin in an attempt to treat surface skin problems. Deep chemical peels are used for more severe conditions than the light peel.
Our plastic surgeons provide a variety of chemical peel formulations for our patients at our Kansas City locations.
Reasons to consider a chemical peel
Candidates for light chemical peels demonstrate some of the following symptoms:
- Rough, dry skin
- Dull complexion
- Acne and superficial blemishes
Indications for deep chemical peels are similar to those who are treated with light chemical peels, only more severe. Examples of symptoms treatable with deep chemical peels are:
- Coarse facial wrinkles or scars, deep lines
- Areas of blotchy or sun-damaged skin, freckles
- Pre-cancerous growths
How does a chemical peel work?
Treatment time for light chemical peels is only 15 minutes. You and your plastic surgeon will discuss which solution is most appropriate for your skin before treatment begins. This solution may be composed of beta-hydroxy acids and alpha-hydroxy acids, such as glycolic acid, lactic acid or fruit acid. Once the formula has been selected, the skin is thoroughly cleansed. The solution is then applied to the face, neck and chest. Several sessions may be needed in order to achieve the best results.
The procedure for deep chemical peels can last up to an hour. Formulas are composed of heavier chemicals than those used in light chemical peels, and include ingredients such as phenol and trichloroacetic acid (TCA). Once the skin has been cleansed, the solution is applied to the face only. You may experience a stinging sensation as the peel solution is applied.
After your chemical peel
The results of the chemical peel are visible only after your old skin has flaked or peeled off. With light peels, aftercare is fairly simple. You can resume your normal routine immediately, taking care to apply sunscreen, as your skin will be sensitive.
Deep chemical peel treatments require more follow-up care. You should arrange for assistance during initial recovery. You may experience swelling, and as you heal, a crust or scab will form on the treated area. Once this scabbing disappears, the new skin will begin to form, typically after about one week. Apply sunscreen carefully, as your skin will be sensitive.
You may notice the development of one or more of the following side effects: temporary flaking or scaling, redness and dryness, loss of ability to make pigment, uneven pigment changes or permanent removal of facial freckles.
Our surgeons are highly knowledgeable, skilled and innovative. Please contact us if you would like to set up a consultation to learn more about how the chemical peel might work for you.