What are chemical peels used for?
Most commonly, chemical peels are used for fine lines and wrinkles, freckling, or to minimize shallow scarring and reduce sun damage. Chemical peels are also extremely effective at evening out varying pigmentation, helping to control acne and reducing age spots.
How are chemical peels performed?
Chemical peels are performed in office and begin by cleaning off the skin. Once the skin is prepped, a chemical solution is applied. The chemical may be salicylic, glycolic, and or another compound. The acids are used to create controlled injuries that heal with new skin. The procedure causes some mild stinging and are generally not painful and well tolerated.
What to expect after a chemical peel?
After a chemical peel the face usually feels tight and may be slightly red. Peeling follows the redness and in approximately 3 to 7 days the skin exfoliates to leave behind a more youthful glow. Mild peels may be repeated more frequently and deeper peels less frequently.
As with all procedures, there are potential unwanted outcomes. Certain skin types and medical conditions are more prone to developing skin color changes. Patients taking birth control medication or with a personal or family history of skin darkening after injury may experience temporary and/or permanent skin color changes.
There is a very low risk of scarring. Patients with a history of cold sores may want to take an oral antiviral prior to the procedure.