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Chemical Peel

An Overview of Chemical Peels

The chemical peel is generally performed for cosmetic reasons, which
will boost your self-confidence and enhance your appearance. In
general, a chemical peel is a chemical solution that is applied to
the face in order to smooth the texture of the skin by removing
its outer layers that have been damaged for various reasons.
A chemical peel can be very helpful for those who have wrinkles,
blemishes, or uneven pigmentation of the skin.

There are other significant reasons for choosing the chemical peel, such as to remove pre-cancerous skin growths, reduce the appearance of acne scars, and even to control acne.

Some health insurance providers will cover this type of surgery, when it is deemed medically necessary. Contact your insurance company prior to having this type of surgery.

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Type of Chemical Peels

Alphahydroxy acids (AHAs), are the mildest types of peels, and can result in smoother, brighter-looking skin.
AHAs:

  • Smooth rough, dry skin
  • Help to control acne
  • Improve texture of sun-damaged skin
  • Can correct pigmentation problems
  • Can be used as TCA pre-treatment

Keep in Mind:

  • You may need to have more than one peel
  • You will need to use sunblock following this peel

Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) is generally used for medium-depth peeling. Fine surface wrinkles, superficial blemishes and pigment problems are commonly treated with TCA.
TCA:

  • Smooths fine wrinkles
  • Removes blemishes
  • Corrects uneven pigmentation

Keep in mind: 

    • TCA can be used on other parts of the body
    • Treatment requires only about 10-15 minutes
    • Pre-treatment with Retin-A or AHA creams may be necessary
    • Works best for darker-skinned patients
    • May need to be repeated a number of times
    • Depth of peel can be adjusted
    • Patient must use sunblock for several months
    • Healing is usually quick

    Phenol, which is used for deep peels, is the strongest of the chemical solutions.
    Phenol:

    • Corrects blotches caused sun damage, aging, birth-control pills
    • Reduces appearance of coarse wrinkles
    • Removes pre-cancerous growths

    Keep in mind:

    • Phenol is intended only for facial use
    • Should not be used on dark-skinned individuals
    • The procedure may be inappropriate for patients with heart problems
    • The procedure takes about one hour 

    As with all medical procedures, there is some risk associated with chemical peels. Though rare, infection and scarring can occur as the result of a peel.

    Finding a Qualified Physician for Your Chemical Peel

    It is essential that you find a physician who has adequate training and experience in skin resurfacing. Your plastic surgeon may offer you a choice of peel techniques or suggest a combination of peels to help you achieve your goals.

    Preparing For Your Chemical Peel Procedure

    Your plastic surgeon will tell you what you need to do prior to your procedure. If you are having a phenol or a deeper TCA peel, you will need to arrange to have someone drive you home afterwards. The AHA peel or superficial TCA peel won’t require you to have assistance.

    The Facility

    In general, chemical peels are done in a plastic surgeon's office, an outpatient surgery center, or any other type of smaller surgical facility. If you have other procedures done at the same time as your chemical peel, you may be required to stay overnight in the facility or at a hospital.

    Is Anesthesia Required?

    Anesthesia isn't required for phenol or TCA peels, because the chemical solution itself serves as an anesthetic. But you may need to have some type of sedation before and during the procedure to help you relax.

    Post-Procedure Expectations

    After an AHA peel, many patients experience temporary flaking or scaling, redness and dryness of the skin. But once the skin adjusts to the treatment, these problems will fade.

    A TCA peel can result in significant swelling, depending on the strength of the peel used.
    Following a phenol peel, your face may become quite swollen – your eyes may even be swollen shut temporarily. You should ask someone to help you out for a few days.  

    Skincare to Prevent Anti-Aging

    There are numerous medical skincare programs designed to target the problems commonly experienced by older people. Skin tone and appearance can be maintained with new types of exfoliation and moisturizing regimens. In addition, skin tone, skin pigmentation and elasticity can be improved with any of a number of nonsurgical facelift procedures. Many people also find significant improvement with more natural treatments such as taking vitamin C and other antioxidant therapies, and using Retin-A.

    Treatments for Skin Resurfacing

    There are some commonly used treatments to reduce or eliminate the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, freckling, dry spots, pore size and hyperpigmentation. Among these treatments are chemical peels, laser skin resurfacing, microdermabrasion, and vibraderm.

    Plastic Surgery for Skin Rejuvenation

    It’s also possible to rejuvenate the appearance of particular facial features with procedures meant to last for up to five years. These procedures include mini and micro procedures, certain types of facelifts, and the feather or thread lift. To get longer-lasting benefits of 10-15 years, a facelift is especially effective. To reduce the look of deep wrinkles in the brow and forehead, a brow lift may be recommended. Some faces that are showing signs of aging may benefit most from facial implants, which can be surgically inserted into the cheeks, chin or jaw. To get a more youthful-looking nose, there is rhinoplasty, and to give a smoother look to the neck, the neck lift works best.

    Types of Facial Fillers and Injectables

    You can eliminate those deep furrows in your brow, as well as the wrinkles in the lower part of the face, with facial fillers such as collagen, Restylane, radiesse, sculptra, and fat transfers. People with hollowed-looking areas may choose these fillers to add volume to various parts of the face. The wrinkles in the upper part of the face may respond best to injections of Botox or Dysport, which allow muscles to stop contracting.

    Talk To a Professional

    Currently, the range of options for facial rejuvenation procedures is quite extensive. Before you decide on any individual treatment, consult a board-certified plastic surgeon or dermatologist, or other skincare specialists, to review the possibilities, clarify your goals, and decide on the treatment strategy that will be most appropriate for you. With so many options in facial rejuvenation available, you may be most likely to achieve your goals by developing a treatment plan that combines two or more procedures.

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