It is very important to find a doctor who has adequate training and experience in skin resurfacing.
In some states, a medical degree is not required to perform a chemical peel--even the strongest phenol peels--and many states have laws that permit nondoctors to administer certain peel solutions, but regulate the strengths that they are permitted to apply.
Chemical peeling uses a chemical solution to improve the skin's appearance. It can reduce or eliminate fine lines under the eyes and around the mouth, correct uneven skin pigmentation, remove precancerous skin growths, and soften acne or treat scars caused by acne. The procedure can also treat wrinkles caused by sun damage and scarring, as well as skin blemishes common with age and heredity. Chemical peels can be performed on the face, neck, chest, hands, arms, and legs.
Possible complications associated with chemical peels may include but are not limited to the following:
Most complications after a chemical peel occur when posttreatment instructions are not followed correctly. Be careful to follow all instructions given to you by your doctor. A chemical peel is most commonly performed for cosmetic reasons to enhance appearance and self-confidence and may be performed in conjunction with a facelift or other cosmetic procedures. However, a chemical peel is not a substitute for a facelift and does not prevent or slow the aging process.
Phenol, trichloroacetic acid, and alphahydroxy acids are used for chemical peels. The precise formula used may be adjusted for each patient:
Generally, no anesthesia is needed for AHA peels since they cause only a slight stinging sensation during application.
Protecting skin from the sun is important following AHA peels.
TCA can be used on the neck or other body areas, and may require pretreatment with Retin-A or AHA creams. This procedure is preferable for darker-skinned patients.
Anesthesia is not usually required for TCA peels because the chemical solution acts as an anesthetic. Although, sedation may be used before and during the procedure to help the patient relax. Two or more TCA peels may be needed over several months to obtain the desired result, although mild TCA peels may be repeated more frequently.
The results of a TCA peel are usually less dramatic than and not as long-lasting as those of a phenol peel. More than one TCA peel may be needed to achieve the desired result.
TCA-peel patients are advised to avoid sun exposure for several months. The procedure also may produce some unintended color changes in the skin.
Recovery may be slow and complete healing may take several months.
After a phenol peel, new skin may lose its ability to produce pigment. The skin will be lighter and will always have to be protected from the sun.
The procedure involves a chemical solution that is applied to the skin. The solution causes a layer of skin to separate and peel off over the course of a day up to two weeks, depending on the type and strength of the peel. The new, regenerated skin underneath is usually smoother, less wrinkled, and more even in color than the old skin.
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