Chemical peels. Those two words sound kind of scary, like something you’d see in a chemical plant accident. In reality, periodic peeling of the skin helps to stimulate cellular activity, and can be used to address all kinds of conditions, from age spots and pigmentation problems to acne and enlarged pores.
Chemical peels have been around forever, too. Cleopatra was one of the early proponents. The Egyptian pharaoh bathed in sour milk to rejuvenate her skin — the lactic acid in the sour milk was the active ingredient and is still used in peels today.
Dr. Aydin offers various strengths of chemical peels to his patients seeking differing levels of exfoliation, skin repair, and rejuvenation.
What is a chemical peel?
A chemical peel uses a chemical solution to remove the damaged outer layer or layers of your skin to smooth the texture and encourage new skin generation. Depending on the peeling agent and the depth of penetration, chemical peels are classified as light, medium, or deep. A chemical peel is an easy, non-invasive way to rejuvenate your skin’s appearance.
What skin issues can be treated with a chemical peel?
Although chemical peels can’t treat deep facial lines or tighten loose or sagging skin, they can address a variety of conditions:
- Acne or acne scars
- Age spots
- Fine lines and wrinkles
- Scaly patches
- Skin pigmentation
- Skin texture
- Sun damage
Light chemical peels
Light chemical peels are perfect for exfoliating just the outermost layer of the epidermis, removing dead and damaged skin cells and creating a healthy glow. Light peels are good for acne, dry skin, and fine wrinkling. Dr. Aydin usually uses naturally derived alphahydroxy acids such as glycolic, lactic, and salicylic acid.
There will be some minor redness and irritation from your first few light peels, but as your skin becomes healthier, this won’t happen with future light peels. Light peels can be done on a regular basis to keep your skin glowing.
Medium chemical peels
Medium peels can address acne scars, deeper wrinkles, and uneven skin pigmentation. The trichloroacetic acid used in a medium chemical peel penetrates more deeply, past the epidermis into the upper part of the dermis (the middle layer of the skin).
Medium peels leave your skin red and stinging, and will cause some crusting. That redness can linger for a period of weeks. Medium peels may be repeated every few months.
Deep chemical peels
These peels use phenol acid to penetrate down into the lower dermal layer of the skin. Patients receive a local anesthetic and sedative prior to deep chemical peels to manage discomfort. Deep peels more aggressively address deeper wrinkles, sun damage, scars, pre-cancerous growths, and blotchy areas. Deep peels involve home pre-treatment for up to eight weeks to prepare your skin and speed the healing process.
Recovery from a deep peel takes time. You will have peeling, crusting, redness, and discomfort for several days. Swelling will disappear, but your skin can remain red for three months. Sunscreen is imperative to protect the new, fragile skin. Deep peels are usually only done once every ten years.