A wrinkle is a crevice in the skin. We know that we can injure the skin to a certain depth (the papillary dermis) with no scarring. This can be done in multiple ways – one of which is a controlled chemical burn on the skin, also known as a peel. Chemical peels remove the top layers of the dermis, decreasing the thickness of the skin and the appearance of the wrinkle. The skin also contracts and collagen is produced to heal the injured skin, resulting in a tighter, smoother appearance. Peels not only help with wrinkles and fine lines, they can be used to treat age spots, sun damage and freckling, and acne scars. It can also help prevent subsequent development of skin cancers by addressing early actinic keratosis.
TYPES OF CHEMICAL PEELS
Chemical peels are relatively inexpensive in comparison with other methods such as laser treatment. There are different types of peels – some are more superficial than others and require more treatments. The more superficial the peel, the quicker your recovery, but the less effective the treatment will be. The lightest glycolic peels can be purchased over the counter at most beauty and drug stores. An example of a medium-strength peel is the Jessner’s peel, which can be done by an esthetician, dermatologist or plastic surgeon. The deepest peels – including phenol and TCA – produce the most significant results, but require more recovery time and have a higher risk of pigmentation changes. They can also be used to target certain areas of the face, including the area around the mouth or the forehead.
AM I A GOOD CANDIDATE FOR A CHEMICAL PEEL?
People with fair skin are the best candidates for a deeper peel, due to the possible complication of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation that would cause whitening of the skin. People with olive or darker skin can be pre-treated with 2% hydroquinone or other bleaching agents prior to the procedure in order to reduce the likelihood.
WHAT CAN I EXPECT WITH THIS PROCEDURE?
Peels are an outpatient procedure – light to medium peels are done without anesthetic and no downtime, while deep peels are performed under local or twilight anesthesia and have a recovery period of 7 to 10 days or more. With Jessner’s peels, the solution is left on the skin for 6-8 hours and the area should not be exposed to water or soap during that time. The skin will peel around day 3 and will be finished usually around day 5 or 6, depending on use of moisturizers. With deep peels, patients can expect more significant peeling, tightening, redness and some initial pain and discomfort during healing.
All peels require subsequent protection from the sun because the stratum corneum (outer layer of skin) is eliminated, leaving you vulnerable to UV rays. Avoiding direct sunlight and using proper SPF sunscreen is crucial to good healing, so the best time of year to get a peel would be late autumn through early spring. It is a good idea to spot test makeup products after a peel to make sure no allergies develop once the stratum corneum is gone. Moisturizers will help with the dryness, tightness and peeling. Because the outer layers of skin are gone, products will absorb easier and more quickly into skin, so creating a new skincare regimen for your aesthetic needs is a good idea.
For more information about chemical peels, contact us here or call (631) 385-9377 to schedule a complimentary consultation.