There are various types and strengths of Chemical Peels, with mild versions of the treatment often referred to as “superficial peels” or “lunchtime peels”. These types of peels effect change at the level of the epidermis, and are generally designed for light to medium acne, pigmentation, or acne scars. Recovery time takes only a few days and for this reason it is the most popular type of chemical peel. Deeper peels are designed for deeper acne scars or pigmentation and can take a week or more of “down-time”.
The Alpha Hydroxy Acid / AHA Peel is generally made from natural acids. Other chemical peels are designed from various fruits, such as citric acid from oranges, or lactic acid from milk. Alpha Hydroxy acid and the peels that are based on this acid is also popular because it treats acne breakouts and discoloration effectively. Other types of superficial peels include Glycolic Acid peels, which are derived from sugar cane and Salicylic Acid based peels which are derived from Beta Hydroxy acid. These types of peels are also used for acne and improving the appearance of pores and blemishes on the skin.
Alpha-Hydroxy products are obtainable in local drugstores, however the concentration in these over-the-counter products are generally low, around 2% compared to the medical grade acids utilized in doctor’s office. Dr. Michele Green utilizes a range of strengths of Trichloroacetic acid, ranging from 10% for a lighter treatment to 35% which would qualify as a deep peel. These higher strengths are used for deeper lines and wrinkles as well as treating overall sun damage and skin rejuvenation.
One of the main reasons for the designation of chemical peels as a “lunchtime peel” is because these treatment take approximately 10 minutes. The peel may cause a slight sting or itching/burning but no anesthesia is needed. After the peel is neutralized, the skin exfoliates and the top layer of skin peels off revealing a smoother, new layer of skin, underneath. This new skin produces new collagen and elastin and leaves you with a rejuvenated, younger looking complexion.
Chemical peels are often used for acne, scars and marks, hyperpigmentation, and overall skin lightening. Many patients have uneven skin color and chemical peels help to improve the overall skin color and make it more even. These peels are done on the face but are also commonly done on the arms, chest, neck, back and other parts of the body. Many patients opt to combine these peels with lasers or microdermabrasion in Dr. Green’s New York City based office. However, darker skin cannot be treated with only special lasers. Chemical Peels or eMatrix (which is a laser designed for acne scars in darker skin tones) are preferred by Dr. Green. Dr. Green also urges caution and the importance of being conservative with the strength of the peel itself. She has treated many Asian or darker skin patients who have presented with hyper-pigmentation from IPL and other past laser treatments elsewhere. Dr. Green treats these conditions with various treatments such chemical peels combined with bleaching creams or Cosmelan mask therapy.
After the chemical peel, depending on the strength of the peel, you may have some redness or irritation to your skin similar to that of a mild sunburn. Strict sun avoidance is necessary for a week after the chemical peel and SPF 45 or higher is recommended throughout the course of treatment.
Unlike deeper chemical peels, TCA peels can be scheduled in a series with 2 to 4 weeks intervals in between treatments. The cumulative effect of these lighter peels is similar to that of a strong peel, without the need for the “down-time”. Patients who are pregnant, or have active cold sores should not undertake these cosmetic treatments.
Once the skin regenerates, the texture is smoother with a beautiful healthy-looking glow. Fine lines and wrinkles, pore size, skin discoloration and pigmentation are all improved. Dr. Michele Green regularly performs chemical peels for her patients in her NYC office. To find out more how these chemical peels work, contact us online, or book an appointment at 212-535-3088