A chemical peel is basically just a technique used to improve the appearance and overall condition of the skin – mainly for the face, neck or hands. A chemical solution is applied to the skin that causes it to exfoliate & eventually peel off during the ‘healing phase’. This will allow for the new, regenerated skin to shine – typically looking smoother and less wrinkled than the older skin that just fell off!
There are 3 basic types of chemical peels –
Superficial (often called a lunchtime peel) – Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHA’s) are used to permeate the top, outer lay of the skin to gently exfoliate it. This treatment is the mildest and is typically done to improve the overall texture of the skin and mild skin discoloration.
Medium – Glycolic acids (derived from sugar cane, also an AHA) are what is typically applied to the skin and focuses on the middle layers of the skin to remove damaged skin cells. This treatment is able to tackle age spots, fine lines, moderate skin discoloration and even precancerous skin growths.
Deep – Tricholoracetic acid or phenol is applied to the skin and deeply permeates the middle layers of the skin. This treatment is able to tackle moderate lines, age spots, freckles & scars. This procedure can only be performed ONCE!
How do you know if a chemical peel is right for you? Do you have…..
- Acne scars?
- Aging skin?
- Crow’s feet?
- Sun damaged skin?
- Sagging skin?
Then you’re a candidate… unless you’re of course pregnant or have used Acutane in the last 6 months.
Your doc will help you decide which chemical peel is right for you – be honest with him/her about your needs!
What to expect after having a chemical peel –
For superficial and medium peels, we recommend SkinMedica’s TNS Ceramide Treatment Cream for recovery – it’s been a lifesaver for us.
Superficial peels – requires 1 to 10 days to heal. You will have red, scaly skin that will slough off or peel off (don’t force it). Your skin will be VERY sensitive of the skin – wear plenty of sunscreen. Makeup can be worn the day after treatment.
Medium peels – requires 10-15 days to heal. You will have swollen, red, scaly skin. Swelling will be worst in the first 48 hours after the treatment. (we recommend taking Tylenol) In this situation, your skin must be soaked daily for a specified period, followed by ointment application, as directed by your dermatologist. Your skin will be EXTREMELY sensitive of the skin – wear plenty of sunscreen. A follow-up appointment will be necessary. Makeup can be worn after 15 days.
Deep peels – requires 15 to 25 days to heal. The treated area will be severely swollen & bandaged (Tylenol is your friend). Skin must be soaked four to six times daily, followed by ointment application for the first 15 days or so. You must also apply a thick moisturizer for the next 15 days and you will be subscribed an antiviral medication that will be taken for 10 to 15 days. I wouldn’t even step foot in the sun after this bad boy… though you can, just wear a shit ton of sunscreen. Makeup can be worn after 15 days or once new skin is regenerated.
For this one… you’ll be given an oral sedative, you may have an IV, you may have a heart monitor on… little more serious…..
Don’t smoke.. it’ll causes infection and scarring. Ice packs are helpful!
The average cost of chemical peels vary widely – we’ve had some that are $65 and some that are $300… deep chemical peels can be as much as $6,000. We of course recommend that you start out with a simple chemical peel and go from there.
Not ready for a chemical peel? You have some other options –
- We LOVED the pre-soaked pads by Dr. Dennis Gross – Alpha Beta Peels, Original Formula
- Treatment Enzyme Peel – helped us with our dull looking skin (we especially liked it because it started out as a powder, then turned into a soapy exfoliator) – I mean was great, but definitely not as strong as a peel of any kind.
- Peter Thomas Roth is pretty popular and they sell pre-soaked pads called Un-Wrinkle Peel Pads
What peels have you had? Do you have advice for future chemical peeler’s?