Clinical or Chemical peels use various kinds of acid, which, when applied to the skin, causes a controlled burn or wound. The skin might blister, and when the damaged skin peels off, healthier, rejuvenated skin is revealed beneath. This can go a long way to lessening the effect of blemishes, wrinkles, and scars.
There are three different levels of chemical peel
- Superficial Peel – Alpha-hydroxy acid or a similar mild acid is used to peel off only the outer layer (epidermis) of the skin. Superficial or mild peels are used to treat mild skin discoloration and rough skin and give the face a more youthful rejuvenated look.
- Medium Peel – In this treatment Glycolic Acid or Trichloroacetic Acid is applied to penetrate the outer layer of skin and deep into the middle layer (dermis) of the skin to remove wrinkles and fine lines, age spots, moderate skin discoloration, and freckles.
- Deep Peels – Trichloroacetic acid or carbolic acid (phenol) is used in this treatment to alleviate the effects of moderate scars, age spots, lines, and freckles. This treatment can only be used once and is normally only used on the face and not the neck and hands. The other peels can be used to treat the face, neck, and hands.
Clinical peels work better on people with fair skin and light-colored hair. Because the acids used in the treatments can cause a bleaching effect, these treatments are not recommended for darker complexioned, swarthy people, as it might cause a permanent skin lightening in the area being treated.
Are clinical peels painful?
There will be a stinging sensation, accompanied by a sensation of heat during the treatment. Redness and crusting may appear, but these will disappear over the next few days. The medium and deep peels that use trichloroacetic acid or phenol will probably sting a bit more and will be accompanied by a more intense burning sensation. Again these effects disappear very soon after the treatment.
How long will I need to recover after the different levels of peel?
- Superficial Peels: Superficial peels normally require a week to heal. A soothing cream or lotion should be used to assist the healing process.
- Medium Peels: The skin will normally be red and swollen, and you will need one to two weeks to recover. There may be blisters which will burst, crust and then peel off. Moisturizer, followed by a topical ointment, must be used extensively for the first week, and then the moisturizer for another week. Antiviral medication will be prescribed for 10 to 14 days.
- Deep Peels: Deep peels require a recovery period of 2 to 3 weeks. The treated area will be bandaged, and the skin must be moisturized four to six times a day for the first 14 days. A topical ointment will also be applied during this period, and antiviral medication must be taken for 10 to 14 days.
For all levels of peel, exposure to the sun must be strictly avoided for the recovery period, and an effective sunscreen must be applied after that.
Chemical peels are more radical than microdermabrasion. Your recovery period is longer than with microdermabrasion, but generally equivalent to the time taken to recover from laser resurfacing. If you think chemical peels can help with your aesthetic issue, begin by getting advice from Yaletown Laser Centre.