Chemical peels involve a technique that will help improve your skin. It is typically used to deal with certain skin conditions like acne scars, crow’s feet, wrinkles, sagging skin, hyperpigmentation, scars, and sun damage – among others.
The main effect of this treatment is exfoliation. A chemical solution will be applied to the skin on your face, neck – or even your hands. The exfoliation will lead to the peeling of the skin. This forces the skin to regenerate and create new skin. This new skin is usually smoother and softer than the skin that peeled off.
Most of the time, the process of chemical peel treatments are the same. It only differs when it comes to the solution used, the amount applied to the skin, and how long it will stay before it is peeled off. There are usually three types of chemical peels.
This is also known as the lunchtime peel. It uses a mild acid like alpha-hydroxy acid to penetrate the outer layer of your skin. The exfoliation will only be gentle. It is used to treat mild skin pigmentation and rough skin. It is also used to give the skin a smoother and refreshed look. You need between one to seven days to completely heal from this type of peeling. Lotion and cream are needed until the skin fully heals. Any facial products (e.g. makeup) should be avoided for 24 hours.
In this type of peel, glycolic or trichloroacetic acid is used on the skin. It is strong enough to penetrate up to the middle layer of the skin. This deeper penetration allows the removal of skin cells – at least the damaged ones in the outer layer. It is used to improve aging skin, fine lines, and wrinkles. It is also effective in dealing with freckles and a more moderate skin pigmentation. It takes 14 days for this to heal completely. In most cases, the skin becomes swollen for the first 2 days after the treatment. There may even be blisters. The skin needs to be soaked daily and applied with ointment to help the skin regenerate. Sometimes, an antiviral medication is required while the skin is healing.
This type of chemical peel is able to treat more serious skin problems. In this treatment, phenol or trichloracetic acid is used to deeply penetrate the skin up to the middle layer. This can effectively remove shallow scars, moderate lines, and freckles. Of the three, this has the most dramatic and obvious improvement. This is only performed on the face and cannot be repeated. This will take until 21 days to completely heal. Because the peeling is deep, a bandage is usually applied to the area. The skin requires soaking four to six times every day until it heals. Ointment and a thick application of moisturizer are needed during the first two weeks. Antiviral medicines are also prescribed.
For the medium and deep peel, a follow-up is required to ensure that the skin is healing well. It is very important that you let the skin peel by itself. Resist the urge to peel off the skin with your fingers. That may damage your skin further and compromise the effects of the peel.
While there are products that say you can do this at home, chemical peels are best left in the hands of capable skin experts. Remember that the deeper the peel, the higher the risk for infection. Make sure you get an expert opinion first. You might end up making your skin condition worse than it really is. Regardless of how you do it, always follow the instructions after the treatment is over. The manner by which the skin heals will influence the success of the chemical peel.