What is a chemical peel?
A chemical peel is a cosmetic procedure performed on the skin of a patient’s face, hands or neck in a doctor’s office or an outpatient medical facility. It is done to improve skin color and texture, and to remove dead, dry skin. The procedure can treat wrinkles caused by aging and sun damage, improve the appearance of small scars and reduce freckles and age spots.
Are there different strengths of chemical peels?
There are three strengths of chemical peels — mild, medium and deep.
* Mild Chemical Peels
Alpha hydroxyl acid (AHA) in different strengths is used. AHA causes old skin cells to shed and a new layer of skin to be revealed. It also hydrates the skin. The color of age spots can be reduced if a bleaching agent is combined with the acid. The results only last for a few weeks to a few months.
* Medium Chemical Peels
Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) is used. This acid, which penetrates more deeply than AHA, causes a second-degree burn. Medium peels can cause the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines to be lessened. It can also correct pigmentation and remove blemishes.
* Deep Chemical Peels
Phenol is used when wrinkling or sun damage is severe. It is often used for full-face peels. If used in a limited area on the patient’s face, the skin may become bleached, leaving a noticeable difference between the treated and untreated areas.
Can chemical peels be done in the summer?
Chemical peels can be done during the summer, but only mild chemical peels should be considered. An advantage of having a chemical peel at this time of year is that the procedure helps keeps the patient’s brown spots under control. If the patient had been having chemical peels in the winter and spring and they stop for the summer, their age spots will darken, making more work for their physician in the fall.
How should skin be protected in the summer?
If someone has had a chemical peel, and they spend time outdoors, they should apply a sunscreen to their face every two hours and wear a sun hat which blocks the sun from shining directly on their face.