Chemical peels are among the best tools used to improve the quality and appearance of the skin. Chemical peels work on the effects of photoaging by improving mottled pigmentation, fine lines, rough skin, freckles, and sun or age spots.* They are most effective when used as part of a good comprehensive skin care program. An excellent facial rejuvenation option, chemical peels at our Baltimore, Maryland area center are offered in a variety of strengths to treat a number of problems.
In general, skin care and facial rejuvenation programs should include products which remove the old, dry, dead layers of skin, then rehydrate the remaining skin through moisturizers, and finally protect the skin from further sun damage. Most chemical peels have their effect on the top layers of the skin called the epidermis; however, some products have been shown to improve the support of the skin, the dermis. As the dermis is improved, the skin achieves a healthier and softer appearance.
Light Chemical Peels
Licensed aestheticians are qualified to evaluate and treat early to moderate skin damage. They will often use products which contain fruit acids or alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) in their regimen to achieve effective facial rejuvenation. Glycolic and lactic acids are the most common of the AHAs. A peel’s strength is determined by its percentage and pH. The higher the percentage and lower the pH, the stronger the potency. These light chemical peels may be routinely performed by licensed aestheticians.
Recently, we have added a new light chemical peel to the facial rejuvenation treatment choices available at our Baltimore, Maryland area center. The new Vitalize Peel® is a light chemical peel which combines Retinoic acid and Salicylic acid. It is extremely effective in smoothing rough, dry skin and in treating minor pigment problems.* It is also excellent for help in the treatment of acne.*
Medium-Depth Chemical Peels
At a certain point, stronger chemicals are needed to improve facial rejuvenation results. Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) is the most commonly used chemical for medium-depth peeling. Depending on the severity of the problem, varying strengths of the TCA can be selected. TCA peels may be applied in a number of different ways. The Obagi® peel is one type of TCA peel. These should be prescribed and performed by a medical doctor since there are increased risks of burns, delayed healing and changes in pigmentation if not performed correctly.
Most patients who undergo a chemical peel treatment should already be on a skin care program to prepare the skin and to get the best facial rejuvenation results. Low and medium strength peels are generally performed in the office with little or no anesthetic. Higher strength peels should be performed with some type of anesthesia and may include light sedation. The degree of peeling and recuperation varies from one to seven days based on the strength and type of chemical peel and degree of facial rejuvenation desired.
Deep-Depth Chemical Peels
Deep chemical peels are used to affect the dermis, the spongy support which lies beneath the top layers of the skin. Phenol has been the historical acid of choice for deep-depth peels. When used properly, phenol peels may have a dramatic affect on the appearance of the skin. However, advances in facial rejuvenation techniques have led many to replace phenol peels with laser resurfacing, which is regarded as a more precise, controllable, and safer treatment option.
To learn more about the many facial rejuvenation options available at our plastic surgery center, please contact plastic surgeon Ronald Schuster, MD today. In addition to chemical peels and other non-surgical options, Dr. Schuster also offers eyelid surgery, face lift, rhinoplasty, brow lift, liposuction, tummy tuck, breast enlargement, and more to help his patients achieve their personal appearance goals.*
*Individual results may vary
Who Is A Candidate For Chemical Peels?
You are likely a great candidate for chemical peels if you want to:
Reveal fresh skin cells by removing the dull outer layer
Improve the overall appearance of your skin
Brighten the appearance of your skin
Reduce the appearance of fine lines
Diminish brown spots and pigmentation
Balance your skin tone
Smooth skin that has a rough texture
Reduce the appearance of acne
Prevent acne breakouts
Certain skin types respond better to chemical peels than others. If you have a dark skin tone, it’s possible that certain peels will lead to hyperpigmentation; however, a light and superficial chemical peel may be appropriate.
Chemical peels may not be right for you if your skin scars easily or if you have a tendency to develop certain types of scars. Dr. Schuster will help you decide if a chemical peel is appropriate if you have very sensitive skin or certain skin conditions. There are often alternatives if you are not an ideal candidate.
What Are The Benefits?
This minimally invasive, rejuvenating treatment has many benefits, including:
Safe and effective
Smoother, more radiant skin
Professional-level exfoliation of dead and dull skin cells
Customizable to your skin and your expectations
Applicable to many skin issues
A great maintenance treatment at any age
Generally mild recovery
Peels can be repeated
The only way to know if a certain type of peel will benefit you is to consult Dr. Schuster. He is personally committed to matching you with the treatment, or treatments, that will accomplish your goals and that are right for your skin concerns.
What Are The Risks?
Chemical peels are associated with a low risk of serious complications, but it’s important to make an informed decision. Potential risks include:
Lasting redness and swelling
You and Dr. Schuster will discuss your medical history, any history of scarring, medication use, and other factors related to your candidacy. Doing so helps mitigate the risk of chemical peels.
How Can I Prepare For Chemical Peel Treatment?
After you've gone to your consultation and chosen a type of chemical peel with Dr. Schuster, it's time to schedule your appointment and wait for your treatment day! Fortunately, there's not much you have to do to prepare, but we will provide you with detailed instructions. Preparing for a chemical peel typically requires you to:
- Avoid sun exposure. Sun-damaged skin may negatively alter the results of a chemical peel. Avoid unprotected sun exposure and tanning beds for a full 2 weeks prior to your peel.
- Take or avoid certain medications. During your consultation, you will tell Dr. Schuster about any medications you are currently taking as well as any medicated creams you apply to your face. Dr. Schuster may ask you to temporarily discontinue the use of certain medications, or he may ask you to apply specific creams or take certain medications before your peel. It's important to follow Dr. Schuster's instructions for great results and a safe treatment.
- Avoid facial hair removal. Waxing, electrolysis, shaving, and any other form of facial hair removal must be avoided temporarily before a chemical peel.
- Stay hydrated. Having hydrated skin will help as your skin heals after a chemical peel. Be sure to drink water and avoid dehydrating activities like excessive alcohol consumption.
- Make sure you have our aftercare instructions on hand. We provide detailed instructions and it's a good idea to have these somewhere easy to access when you get home.
- Arrange for someone to drive you home from your appointment. That way, you don't have to focus on the task of driving right after your treatment.
Rely on us to make sure your process goes smoothly from start to finish.
Can I Combine Chemical Peels With Other Procedures?
Yes, it is often possible to combine a chemical peel appointment with another treatment or procedure. It depends entirely on which treatments you are interested in combining. Talk to Dr. Schuster about your goals and he will let you know which treatments can be consolidated into a single visit.
What Is Recovery Like?
The recovery depends on the type of chemical peel you receive, with the lightest, most superficial peels generally having the shortest recovery period. Here are a few things you can expect:
- Redness, irritation, swelling, and the feeling of your skin being tight
- Follow our instructions for avoiding sun exposure, applying ointment, and keeping your face clean
- Temporarily discontinue use of facial cosmetics as instructed by our team
- Don't rub, scratch, or pick at your face as it heals
- Take over-the-counter pain relievers and apply ice packs as instructed to relieve discomfort
You will begin to see your results as the redness and swelling fade, and the damaged outer layer of skin gradually peels away. Your skin will start looking really good within the first week after treatment. For some types of peels, it can take a few months before you see the full results. Medium and deep peels tend to cause redness, swelling, and peeling of the skin for a longer period of time compared to light peels.