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WHAT IS A CHEMICAL PEEL?

A chemical peel uses an acidic solution applied to the skin to remove damaged top layers, speed cell turnover, and boost collagen growth for a brighter, more even-toned complexion. By creating a controlled injury at a specific depth, chemical peels stimulate new skin growth to improve skin texture and appearance.

Peels can effectively treat issues like acne, acne scars, age spots, melasma, hyperpigmentation, rough skin, sun damage, fine lines, and wrinkles. Though primarily for the face, they can be applied to the neck, chest, and hands as well.

Chemical peels are the third most common commonly performed nonsurgical cosmetic procedure in the United States. Popular peels include glycolic acid, TCA (trichloroacetic acid), salicylic acid, and Jessner’s solution (a blend of lactic acid, salicylic acid, and resorcinol).

Dr. Bowen currently offers the following types of chemical peels;

SKINMEDICA ILLUMINIZE

Helps provide vibrant, radiant looking skin with minimal downtime. Appropriate for mild skin imperfections as determined by your physician.

Key Benefits of the Illuminize peel include brightening of the overall appearance of skin and a more uniform complexion. Radiant looking skin is noticeable after one peel.

SKINMEDICA VITALIZE

Smooths the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and roughness. Appropriate for mild skin imperfections. Noticeable results after just one peel, compelling results after three to six peels

PRX-T33

A non-injectable biorevitalizer that promotes dermal bio-stimulation without harming the skin. Minimal downtime, and does not cause frost, it acts deep within the tissues. Ideal for treating hyperpigmentation and signs of dermal aging.

SKIN BETTER SCIENCE ALPHARET PROFESSIONAL PEEL SYSTEM 30

A professional use only, in-office complement to your Skinbetter science regimen. Shown to improve the overall skin tone and texture for patients with mild photodamage.

BENEFITS OF CHEMICAL PEELS

  • Ranging from superficial to deep, chemical peels can be customized to suit your skin type, specific concerns, and allowable downtime.
  • Peels are less costly than lasers that target the same conditions.
  • If you want to boost skin’s radiance fast, a light peel can create an immediate glow, with little to no downtime.

What does a Chemical Peel do?

Generally speaking, chemical peels exfoliate the skin by dissolving the bonds between old skin cells, allowing them to shed. This makes way for fresh, new cells and helps thicken skin by encouraging healthy growth.

The extent of chemical exfoliation depends on the type of acid used and its concentration, but chemical peels typically fall into three main categories: superficial, medium, and deep.

SUPERFICIAL PEELS

Ideal for first-timers and people with delicate skin, mild peels lightly exfoliate—typically with low-strength lactic, salicylic, and/or glycolic acid—to clear pores, smooth the skin, and give a glow. A light peel step is often included in a facial. Superficial peels can also treat active acne. Doctors often suggest booking a series of light peels or ongoing monthly appointments for best results.

MEDIUM PEELS

Affecting both the epidermis (surface layer of skin) and the upper layers of the underlying dermis, these peels are best for treating pigment irregularities, acne scars, and moderate sun damage, including deeper wrinkles. TCA, Jessner’s solution, and higher percentages of glycolic acid are frequently used for medium-depth peeling.

DEEP PEELS

These phenol-based formulas penetrate down to the lower dermal layers to address severe sun damage and scarring (including acne scars) and tighten skin. Deep peels can be painful and usually demand a local anesthetic plus sedation. They also come with more extensive downtime—about two weeks of swelling, peeling, crusting, and oozing. Skin sensitivity will be heightened, so strict sun avoidance post-peel is a must. However, the results of a deep chemical peel can be transformative.

Your doctor may ask you to pretreat your skin with a topical retinoid for a number of weeks prior to a phenol peel to enhance penetration.

Who is a good candidate for Chemical Peel?

There are many different types of chemical peels designed to address a wide range of issues, so some kind of peel can benefit most people. An experienced provider can recommend an acid solution with the strength and depth best suited to your concerns and skin type.

However, chemical peel selection may be limited for some skin types. “People with sensitive skin or dark complexions should generally avoid deeper, more intense peels since they could suffer burns, scars, or hyperpigmentation. I have had patients with deep skin tones get great results with lighter peels, however,” says Dr. Green, who has performed peels on patients from ages 20 through 70.

A 2018 study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology examined the safety of superficial chemical peels for Fitzpatrick skin types III-IV and found that less than 4% of treatments resulted in complications.

What happens during an in-office chemical peel?

Your treatment experience will depend on the strength of your peel.

For mild to medium peels, anesthesia isn’t usually needed. You may notice some stinging or burning until the peel is neutralized.

For very deep peels, most patients will need anesthesia, strong sedation, and pain medication.

After your face has been cleansed and numbed (if needed), the peel solution is applied and left on for anywhere from a few minutes to an hour, depending on the type and potency of the peel and sensitivity of your skin. You may feel mild to moderate itching, stinging, and burning while the solution is on your skin.

Once the acid application is complete, your doctor will apply a cold gauze compress to the skin to neutralize the acid. Your face is then cleansed thoroughly with cold water compresses, and moisturizer and sunscreen are applied to soothe and protect your skin.

What can you expect during Chemical Peel recovery?

Light to medium peels require just two to four days of recovery, when your skin may look sunburned and feel dry and sensitive. Downtime for deeper peels can last from seven to 12 days, with additional redness and flaking for up to three months.

Recovery from deep phenol peels may also require prescription pain medication for the first week or two. 

The amount of visible skin peeling isn’t indicative of the success of the peel. “Many people imagine scary scenarios from TV when it comes to healing, but that’s not the case,” says Dr. Green. “You don’t necessarily have to see full-blown peeling to have good results.”

Don’t pick at any peeling or flaking skin, and follow your provider’s aftercare instructions to reduce the risk of infection or scarring.

How should you take care of your skin after Chemical Peel?

Your skin will be very sensitive throughout the healing process. Follow these tips (and your provider’s aftercare instructions) to keep it healthy, hydrated, and protected.

  • Apply a simple, fragrance-free moisturizer to help with healing and disguise flaking skin. If your skin gets too dry and cracks, it can scar.
  • Wear a broad-spectrum physical sunscreen of at least SPF 30 to protect your freshly revealed skin cells from damaging sun exposure, and stay out of direct sunlight.
  • Hold off on exercising throughout your downtime.
  • Wait until your skin is done peeling to apply any makeup, which can introduce bacteria and irritate the skin.
  • If you think you have a chemical burn, gently apply Aquaphor multiple times a day for 3–4 days before switching to a simple moisturizer like Cetaphil or CeraVe.

How soon will you see Chemical Peel results?

You should begin to see improvements in your skin tone and texture as post-peel symptoms subside. Your complexion will continue to improve over time, with final results visible within about three months.

How long do Chemical Peel results lasts?

Your results could last anywhere from several months to 10 years (after a deep phenol peel), depending on the strength of your peel and your skin care habits.

How often should you get Chemical Peel?

Mild peels can be repeated every few weeks until you get the results you’re after. 

Medium peels require more downtime in between, but follow-up treatments can both improve and prolong results. 

Deep peels can only be done once in a lifetime

Schedule a Consultation

By submitting this form you agree to be contacted via phone/text/email.

Schedule a Consultation

By submitting this form you agree to be contacted via phone/text/email.