FAQ's to Chemical Peels

A chemical peel is a treatment in which a chemical solution is applied to the skin to remove layers of the skin. Depending on the substance or solution used a peel can remove layers to certain depths of the skin.

Based on this fact chemical peels are classified as: superficial, medium or deep.

Chemical peels are used to treat a number of concerns for example:
► Wrinkles and lines,
► Skin discoloration and scars.
► Most often it is used on the face, but can be used on skin anywhere on the body.
In aesthetic medicine a chemical peel is often combined with other treatments for better effect, however it can be used just by itself.

The frequency of peeling is important as skin does need time to recover.  This will be discussed and advised by your doctor or aesthetician.

Yes, and this is because of controlled inflammation that is caused the skin that grows back is better organized and appear smoother and younger looking.

Are there types of Chemical Peels?

  • Alpha hydroxy acids (glycolic acid, fruit acids, lactic acid) are examples of superficial chemical peels.  It removes the outer layer of skin (epidermis).  It is used to treat and improve fine wrinkling, areas of dryness, uneven pigmentation, uneven skin tone and acne. Various concentrations of an AHA may be applied weekly or at longer intervals to obtain the best results. Your doctor will make this decision during your consultation and as the treatment proceeds.

    Superficial peels may be performed by doctors and trained aestheticians

  • This type of chemical peel removes skin cells from the epidermis and from portions of the upper part of your dermis. Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) is most commonly used in various concentrations to reach the desired depth of peel. A medium chemical peel is often used to treat uneven pigmentation, but can also treat wrinkles, acne scars and uneven skin tone. You might repeat a medium chemical peel after three to nine months to maintain results.

    Medium peels are only performed by doctors.

  • A deep chemical peel removes skin cells from the epidermis and from portions of the mid to lower layer of your dermis. Your doctor might recommend a deep chemical peel if you have severe deep lines, scars or precancerous growths. A deep chemical peel can only be performed once.

    Deep peels are only performed by doctors.

  • Phenol is most commonly used for deep peeling, but this may be absorbed through the skin and result in potentially life-threatening heart rhythm disturbances and nerve damage.

    This type of peel is thus used with utter caution.

Any side effects from Chemical Peels?

  • Redness. Normal healing from a chemical peel involves redness of the treated skin. After a medium or deep chemical peel, redness might last for several months.
  • Scarring. Very Rarely, a superficial chemical peel can cause scarring — typically on the lower part of the face. Antibiotics and steroid medications can be used to soften the appearance of these scars.
  • Changes in skin colour. A chemical peel can cause treated skin to become darker than normal (hyperpigmentation) or lighter than normal (hypopigmentation). Hyperpigmentation is more common after superficial peels, while hypopigmentation is more common after a deep peel. Changes in skin colour are more common in people who have darker skin and can be permanent.
  • Infection. A chemical peel can cause a flare-up of the herpes virus — the virus that causes cold sores. Very rarely, a chemical peel can lead to a bacterial or fungal infection.
  • Heart, kidney or liver damage. A deep chemical peel uses carbolic acid (phenol), which can damage the heart muscle and cause the heart to beat irregularly. Phenol can also harm the kidneys and liver. To limit exposure to phenol, a deep chemical peel is done in portions at 10- to 20-minute intervals.

You might not be able to have a chemical peel or certain types of chemical peels if you:

  • Have taken the acne medication isotretinoin (Accutane, Roaccutane or similar) in the past six months.
  • Have a dark complexion.
  • Have a personal history of easily forming scar tissue – keloids.
  • Have abnormal skin pigmentation.
  • Have a history of frequent or severe outbreaks of cold sores.

Preparing for a chemical peel?

Always use the appropriate sunscreen!

Discuss sun protection with your doctor or aesthetician.

About a week before the peel:
► Stop waxing or using depilatory hair-removal products.

In the week before your peel.
► Avoid bleaching, massages or facial scrubs.

  • If you’ll be sedated during a medium or deep chemical peel, you’ll need help getting home after the procedure.