Chemical peels can improve the skin’s appearance. In this treatment, a chemical solution is applied to the skin, which makes it “blister” and eventually peel off. The new skin is usually smoother and less wrinkled than the old skin.
Chemical peels can be done on the face, neck, or hands. They can be used to:
- Reduce fine lines under the eyes and around the mouth
- Treat wrinkles caused by sun damage and aging
- Improve the appearance of mild scars
- Treat certain types of acne
- Reduce age spots, freckles, and dark patches (melasma) due to pregnancy or taking birth control pills
- Improve the look and feel of skin
- Areas of sun damage may improve after chemical peeling.
Good Candidates For a Chemical Peel
Generally, fair-skinned and light-haired patients are better candidates for chemical peels. If you have darker skin, you may also have good results, depending upon the type of problem being treated. But you also may be more likely to have an uneven skin tone after the procedure.
The Chemical Peel Process
The professional who does your peel will first clean your skin thoroughly. Then they will apply one or more chemical solutions — such as glycolic acid, trichloroacetic acid, salicylic acid, lactic acid, or carbolic acid (phenol) — to small areas of your skin. That creates a controlled wound, letting new skin take its place.
During a chemical peel, most people feel a burning sensation that lasts about five to ten minutes, followed by a stinging sensation. Putting cool compresses on the skin may ease that stinging.
What To Expect After the Chemical Peel
Depending upon the type of chemical peel, a reaction similar to sunburn occurs following the procedure. Peeling usually involves redness followed by scaling that ends within three to seven days. Mild peels may be repeated at one to four-week intervals until you get the look you’re after.