A chemical peel is a rejuvenation process that will improve the appearance of the skin. Peels are often used to treat acne and mild acne scars, and may be applied to the face, neck, chest, hands, arms or legs. Chemical peel results for acne have proven effective in restoring even skin tone and in dramatically reducing the appearance of acne scars.
Peels for acne and acne scars
TCA (10-25%) and Jessner’s solution are often used by Dr. Green. Salicylic acid has been used for decades and remains a good peeling agent for patients with acne. Alpha hydroxy acids, such as glycolic acid at 30-50%, may also be used for superficial peeling.
Chemical peels are most commonly used to treat fine lines, especially around the eyes and mouth, and the wrinkles that result from sun damage. Chemical peels may also improve skin tone, including discolorations such as sunspots, age spots, and the blotchiness (melasma) that may result from pregnancy or from taking birth control pills. Pre-cancerous skin changes – actinic keratosis – caused by too much sun exposure, can also be improved by chemical peels.
The best candidates for any chemical peels have fine lines and wrinkles, age spots or minor pigmentation, and minimal skin sagging. This treatment works best for patients with lighter complexions because there is less chance of hyperpigmentation (skin darkening) following the procedure.
How does a chemical peel work?
During the chemical peel, a topical solution applied to the skin causes surface cells to separate and peel off, allowing new skin to regenerate. As the dull skin peels off, your complexion becomes more vibrant and revitalized. The new skin is smoother and more luminous, the skin tone more uniform.
How do I select a peel?
Dr. Green offers a range of chemical peels in order to provide patients with a good choice of treatment options. Dr. Green will work closely with you to guide your selection of the peel best suited to what you wish to improve and to the amount of downtime your schedule allows.
A peel should be selected based upon your specific complexion concerns and the severity of changes that have happened to your skin. A superficial peel is effective on changes to the superficial layers of the skin, including increased skin pigmentation and roughened skin texture, without wrinkles. Dr. Green may advise a more aggressive peel when textural changes to the skin include wrinkling around the eyes and mouth, or when changes have extended even deeper into the skin for example.
Dr. Green commonly performs superficial peels with either Salicylic Acid, which has been used for decades and remains a good peeling agent for patients with acne. Alpha hydroxy acids, such as glycolic acid at 30-50%, may also be used for superficial peeling too.
Medium depth chemical peels
Medium depth peels are usually done using TCA (35-50%), glycolic acid (70%), or 35% TCA augmented with Jessner’s solution or glycolic acid.
Deep chemical peels
Deep peels are performed only on individuals who have experienced significant changes in their skin and have deep wrinkles. These peels are performed rarely because of the long healing time required and the higher risk of pigmentation damage. If the skin requires aggressive treatment, many patients prefer repetitive superficial and medium depth peels to increase the positive effects of a lighter peel over time.
Recovery time and expected results
A superficial peel, such as a peel to improve acne or acne scars, requires a recovery period of from a few hours to a few days. Recovery from a medium depth peel generally takes about one week. After a deep chemical peel, several weeks to several months must be allowed for complete recovery.
A light to medium depth chemical peel, including those used to treat acne and acne scars, is not usually painful. During the peel patients may feel a warm to somewhat hot sensation lasting five to ten minutes. This may be followed by a mild stinging sensation. A deep chemical peel, on the other hand, may require pain medication both during and after the treatment.
Chemical Peels versus Laser Treatment
In simple terms, chemical peels and laser treatments are both designed to “remove” the top layer of skin and rejuvenate the skin by reducing redness, pigmentation, sun damage, wrinkles or acne scars. The choice of lasers or peels depends on many factors. Key to the decision is your skin type. Skin types I and II (light) skin can be safely treated by both lasers or peels. However, skin types III and darker (darker skin) are generally more sensitive to lasers and careful choice of lasers is paramount to avoid pigmentation and worsening of the current condition.
During your consultation with Dr. Green in her NYC office, she will review all of the options with you and help you make the best decision regarding treatment. Contact us today or call 212-535-3088 to find out if a chemical peel is the right choice for you.