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Chemical peels have been one of the most popular cosmetic treatments in the United States for over two decades due to their effectiveness in treating various skin concerns in patients of different skin types and skin tones. Chemical peels help treat fine lines and wrinkles, sun damage, rosacea, acne breakouts, acne scars, hyperpigmentation, sun spots, and discoloration. A chemical peel is usually done at an office or in an outpatient surgical facility. Chemical peels have remained a staple cosmetic procedure in Dr. Michele Green’s private dermatology office, located in the Upper East Side neighborhood of Manhattan, and have yielded incredible results for her many patients.

There are numerous types of chemical peels, including those which use alpha-hydroxy acids, glycolic acids, and trichloroacetic acids, as well as Cosmelan peels, Vi Peels, mesopeels, and dermamelan peels. With so many options available to choose from, it can be difficult to know for certain which chemical peel would be the best fit for you to reach your desired appearance. Choosing the correct type and strength of the chemical peel, based on your skin type and underlying skincare concerns, is critical to having the best cosmetic results. Dr. Green is an expert in many different cosmetic procedures, especially chemical peels, and can determine which peel is ideal based on your skin type, the skin conditions you’d like to address, and your overall skincare goals.

Dr. Green is an internationally renowned board-certified cosmetic dermatologist with over 25 years of experience providing her patients from around the world with the best non-invasive cosmetic treatment options available, including chemical peels. For her dedication to her patients and expertise, she is consistently voted as one of the best dermatologists in NYC by Castle Connolly, the New York Times, Super Doctors, and New York Magazine. When you consult with Dr. Green for your facial rejuvenation treatment, she will work with you to create a customized approach that includes a unique combination of in-office cosmetic procedures and specially formulated skincare products best suited to your specific needs and goals.

What is a chemical peel? What does a chemical peel do?

A chemical peel is a type of non-invasive skin resurfacing cosmetic procedure that entails applying a chemical solution to the skin’s surface to remove the outer layers of dead skin. The process accelerates the rate of skin cell turnover, revealing new, healthy skin cells that appear more even in tone and texture. As a result, a chemical peel corrects skin discoloration, unclogs pores, and gives the skin a vibrant glow. A chemical peel treatment can be used to improve the appearance of many skin conditions, including acne breakouts, acne scars, hyperpigmentation, fine lines, irregularities in skin texture, dullness, and sun-damaged skin, among others. There are different strengths and types of chemical peels that will determine how deep the peel will penetrate the skin and its subsequent effects. According to the most recent plastic surgery statistics report from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, chemical peels remain among the top five most popular minimally-invasive cosmetic procedures in the United States. Since chemical peels are non-invasive in nature and don’t necessarily require a lengthy downtime, patients often combine their peel treatments with other non-invasive cosmetic procedures, including cosmetic injectables and laser resurfacing treatments, to achieve pan-facial rejuvenation results.

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55-64 year old woman treated with chemical peels

Different types of Chemical Peels

There are many different types of chemical peels that Dr. Green selects from for her patients based on their skincare concerns, skin type, skin tone, and the areas of the body being treated with the chemical peel. The different types of chemical peels used include acids such as beta hydroxy acids (BHAs), alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs), lactic acid, Jessner solution, and Trichloroacetic acids (TCAs), among others that are applied topically to the skin. These acids, through a chemical reaction with the skin, gently penetrate the layers of the skin, breaking down dead skin cells. The chemical reaction with the skin causes the dead skin cells to peel off gently. The shedding of dead skin cells can be dramatic or superficial, depending on the type of acid and the strength used. Chemical peels can have light, medium, or deep strengths and may require different chemical formulations based on your desired results.

Different parts of the body also require treatment with different types of acids. For example, the delicate axillae (underarms) or bikini and inner thigh area require a gentler type of chemical peel. For these delicate areas, mesopeels are the most effective, as you do not run the risk of hyperpigmentation or additional irritation. Cosmelan peels are the most effective treatment for melasma on the face and chest and produce amazing results for melasma and pigmentation due to hormonal imbalance and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH).  Dermamelan Intimate peels are specifically formulated for the vaginal area to produce safe and effective skin lightening in this delicate area. Choosing the best type of chemical peel for the area of the body, whether it be your face, back, décolletage, neck, or intimate area, is the key to having the best cosmetic results.

What does a chemical peel treat?

Chemical peels are the most popular cosmetic procedure in dermatology since they treat such a wide variety of skin conditions. Dr. Michele Green will help you choose the best chemical peel for your skincare condition. The following skin conditions can be treated with chemical peels:

  • Sun damage
  • Actinic Keratoses or Pre-cancers due to sun exposure
  • Hyperpigmentation
  • Melasma
  • Age spots
  • Sunspots
  • Freckles
  • Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) from acne marks or improper laser treatments from IPL, Fraxel laser, or Picosure
  • Skin texture issues
  • Acne scars
  • Acne
  • Rosacea
  • Fine lines and wrinkles

A peel should be selected based on your specific complexion concerns and the severity of changes in your skin. When skin changes are limited to the superficial layers of the skin, including increased skin pigmentation and skin texture, they can be treated with a superficial peel. When the textural changes include deeper wrinkles around the eyes and mouth, a deeper type of chemical peel will be required. The most severe changes in the skin include generalized deep wrinkling with a leathery appearance which may require a deeper form of chemical peel. Again, these skincare concerns must be treated within the context of a patient’s skin type since patients with darker skin tones can tolerate light or medium types of chemical peels.

How does a Chemical Peel Work?

The most common types of chemical peels are acid peels which work by breaking the weak chemical bonds on the outermost layer of the skin. Once these chemical bonds are broken, the cells slough off and make room for a new layer of skin that is more even in skin tone and texture. The exfoliative effects of chemical peels also stimulate new epidermal growth and collagen with more evenly distributed melanin. With a superficial peel, epidermal regeneration is limited to the epidermis (topmost layer of skin) and occurs within 3 to 5 days. Medium-depth peels go to the epidermis-dermis interface, and epidermal regeneration can take about one week. For deep peels, the peels are stronger and remove more layers of skin, and may require two to three weeks of recovery.

What are the Types of chemical peels?

The American Society of Dermatology has categorized three levels of chemical peels: light, medium, and deep. These levels depend on several factors, from the concentration of the active ingredient to the type of peel agent to the pH of the product to how the peel is delivered and the depth to which it penetrates. The three levels of chemical peels are optimal for different skin conditions and have different recovery times.

Light Chemical Peels

Light chemical peels are superficial peels and are often referred to as a “lunch” time peel. This type of acid peel is perfect for someone with relatively good skin who wants to refresh their skin. Light chemical peels can treat superficial fine lines, acne breakouts, and rough and dry skin, in addition to correcting uneven skin tone and texture. Light chemical peels can be done as often as every two weeks for several months. Light peels generally have very little downtime and peel for just a few days. Patients can go back to work immediately after a light peel since there is only some mild dryness, redness, and irritation as your skin exfoliates the dead skin.

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Medium Chemical Peels

Medium peels are used to treat deep lines and wrinkles, melasma, acne scars, PIH, and skin discoloration/pigmentation. The chemicals in these peels are more concentrated and penetrate deeper into the skin than light chemical peels. This type of chemical peel will exfoliate your skin, and it is normal to experience redness and tightness in the treatment area immediately after the procedure. Moisturizers, lotions, and sunscreen should be used throughout this process, and strict sun avoidance is essential to prevent a recurrence of the underlying skin condition. Medium peels generally peel for 7 to 10 days.

What is a deep chemical peel?

Dermatologists and plastic surgeons use deep chemical peels to treat deeper lines and wrinkles, severe acne scarring, pre-cancerous cells, and extensive sun damage. These peels penetrate the dermal layers of the skin and often include phenol acid as one of their peeling agents. There are special considerations for deep peels like skin tone, use of an anesthetic, and who can perform this procedure. Patients with darker skin tones should stick with light to medium peels, as deep peels can cause adverse effects like hyperpigmentation and skin discoloration. Deep peels often require the use of a numbing agent or sedation and should only be performed by a board-certified dermatologist like Dr. Green. Potential side effects of improperly performed deep chemical peels are blisters and burns. The recovery period is usually two to three weeks, during which time skin crusting may occur, and you will need to practice strict sun avoidance and apply SPF 50 consistently. Proper sun protection, including appropriate use of sunscreen, is essential following a chemical peel. The American Academy of Dermatology reports that while 80% of Americans understand the importance of reapplying sunscreen, only around 30% actually do. Sun exposure following a chemical peel treatment can result in skin irritation and even permanent damage. When you work with Dr. Green for your chemical peel procedure, she will provide you with all of the pertinent aftercare information necessary for achieving and maintaining optimal results.

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Before & After – 3 weeks

Skincare regimen for before and after a chemical peel

The skincare regimen before and after a chemical peel are essential in ensuring maximal effects. Strict adherence to it can further aid in reducing hyperpigmentation while preventing it from reoccurring in the future. The recommended skincare regimen for a chemical peel often includes retinol, skin-lightening products, serums, gentle cleansers, moisturizers, and sunblock. Prior to getting a chemical peel, your skincare regimen and practices will be reviewed by Dr. Green to prevent any unwanted side effects and guarantee optimal results.

For the duration of the week before your procedure, you should avoid extensive sun exposure, refrain from facial waxing, and discontinue certain acne products. Acne products like benzoyl peroxide gel and EpiDuo Forte may need to be discontinued because they can dry out your skin and cause worsened irritation from your chemical peel. Depending on your skin type and the reason for the chemical peel, you may be prescribed a topical retinoid or hydroquinone cream to pre-treat the skin. Retinoids and hydroquinones are particularly beneficial for treating hyperpigmentation or sun damage.

After the chemical peel, your skincare regimen should include gentle cleansers, a rich moisturizer, and a broad-spectrum sunblock of SPF 30 or higher. It is common to experience flaking, moderate shedding, and general tightness of your skin for a few days after. During this time, you have to be extremely gentle with your skin and should limit your products to a gentle cleanser and moisturizer to help lock in moisture and relieve any discomfort. In addition, sunblock is crucial to prevent hyperpigmentation, discoloration, or melasma from occurring. It is extremely important to avoid all sun exposure, since this can worsen or cause a recurrence of the skin condition that the chemical peel is being utilized to treat. In general, five to seven days after your chemical peel, you can restart any acne treatments, retinols, Vitamin C serums, anti-aging serums, and Retin-A cream. Dr. Green may also prescribe a skin-lightening cream, such as one containing hydroquinone, to further aid in depigmenting the skin.

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45-54 year old man treated with Cosmelan & Chemical peels – 2 months

What is the process of having a chemical peel?

A chemical peel should not be performed if you have an active cold sore, eczema flare, or psoriatic flare. In addition, if you are prone to cold sores, you should tell your doctor before doing a chemical peel. Pre-treatment with an antiviral medication, such as Valtrex, should be started before the chemical peel if there is a history of cold sores or Herpes.

Depending on your skin type and the reason for the chemical peel, you may be prescribed a topical retinoid or hydroquinone cream to pre-treat the skin before treatment. Retinoids and hydroquinones are particularly beneficial for treating hyperpigmentation or sun damage. Patients with darker skin types can certainly do chemical peels. However, Dr. Green will customize the strength and type of peel for patients with type III skin types or darker to ensure they have the best cosmetic results. The first step in the process of having a chemical peel is to consult with Dr. Green. Once it has been determined that you are a suitable candidate for treatment with a chemical peel, the procedure may be performed on the same day or scheduled for a later date, depending on time allowance and preferences. Dr. Green will apply the type and strength of chemical peel best suited to your skin type, skin tone, skin concerns, and cosmetic goals to the skin’s surface in the treatment area. Depending on the type of peel, a neutralizing solution or cold compress may be applied to the skin to complete the procedure. Dr. Green will provide all of the pertinent aftercare information necessary for achieving and maintaining your ideal results.

What should I expect after a chemical peel?

During a chemical peel treatment, it is normal to experience a mild tingling sensation or feel some heat on the skin when the chemical solution is applied to the skin’s surface. The acid is then neutralized, and the skin is cleaned. You must avoid sun exposure and wear sunscreen while outdoors for at least 1-2 weeks. Your skin is going through the process of regenerating new skin cells, and sun exposure can cause hyperpigmentation. You will start to notice slight peeling or flaking of the skin by the second day after your peel. You should refrain from pulling, picking, or peeling the skin throughout the healing process and apply a hydrating moisturizer two to three times daily.

You should avoid heat or exercise immediately following a chemical peel. Due to the exfoliation, the skin is more sensitive, and heat exposure and exercise can cause discomfort and skin irritation. In addition, you should also avoid the use of topical exfoliants or skincare products containing retinol, Retin-A, tretinoin, adapalene, tazarotene, benzoyl peroxide, glycolic acid, or salicylic acid for 2 weeks after your chemical peel treatment.

What is the recovery from a chemical peel?

The amount of recovery time associated with a chemical peel treatment will depend on the type and strength of the peel used. A superficial peel has a recovery period of a few hours to a few days, depending on how sensitive your skin is and your skin type. Recovery from a medium-depth peel generally takes about one to two weeks. A deep chemical peel will take several weeks to months to completely recover. A light to medium-depth chemical peel is not uncomfortable. Most patients experience a warm to somewhat hot sensation that lasts for five to ten minutes. A mild stinging sensation may follow this. However, a deep chemical peel is much more invasive, requires general anesthesia, a long recovery time, and may require pain medication both during and after the procedure.

Commonly Asked Questions & Answers

How much is a chemical peel?

The cost for a chemical peel will vary depending on both the strength and type of chemical peel. The cost of a chemical peel can range from $500 to $2,000 and will typically be more costly if there is anesthesia or extensive preparation involved. A typical light chemical peel performed by a board-certified dermatologist generally is around 600 dollars per treatment. Spas, or clinics, with non-physician providers, offer chemical peel treatments that are cheaper and generally performed by technicians with less cosmetic experience treating patients with different skin colors and types of chemical peels. The risk of developing adverse side effects, including hyperpigmentation and scarring, increases when chemical peels are performed by less experienced or uncertified practitioners; therefore, it is important to seek treatment from a board-certified dermatologist, such as Dr. Green.

Are chemical peels safe?

A chemical peel is an entirely safe, non-invasive cosmetic procedure when performed by a board-certified and experienced dermatologist like Dr. Michele Green. However, chemical peels are associated with many potential risks and uncertainties, especially when treatment is performed by inexperienced providers. A chemical peel treatment with an inexperienced provider may increase your risk for adverse side effects like scarring, skin discoloration, and/or infection. They also may lack the expertise to determine what the best pre-and post-chemical peel care should be and what chemical peel would be ideal for your skin concerns and skin color. The safest and most effective chemical peel treatment is always done with a board-certified dermatologist, like Dr. Green in NYC.

Do chemical peels hurt?

During the process of a chemical peel, you may feel itching, stinging, or a burning sensation, which can last for a few minutes. Dr. Green will apply cold compresses immediately after your chemical peel, which will neutralize the acid and relieve any discomfort. Deeper chemical peels may require oral pain medications or IV sedation for pain management, but these are controlled chemical peels that are more uncommon nowadays.

How long does a chemical peel take?

The chemical peel itself is extremely quick and can take as little as a few minutes by an experienced board-certified dermatologist. Peeling will generally start 48 to 72 hours after the treatment and can last up to five-plus days, depending on the concentration of the peel. A superficial chemical peel can take a few minutes to complete, while a medium chemical peel can take 15 minutes, and a deep peel can take up to 60 minutes.

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Before and after Cosmelan Treatment

Do chemical peels work?

Yes! Chemical peels are extremely effective at rejuvenating the skin by exfoliating the outermost epidermal layer, with deeper peels penetrating the dermis. The chemical solution applied to the skin causes the skin cells to peel off, revealing new, unblemished skin that replaces the older, damaged, and dead skin cells. Chemical peels work extremely well and can target a wide range of skincare concerns throughout the body, from sun damage to pre-cancers to melasma to acne scars to fine lines and more. An experienced board-certified dermatologist will determine the best chemical peel for you based on your skincare concerns, skin type, skin tone, and the specific area of the body you would like treated. According to the most recent plastic surgery statistics report from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, chemical peels remain among the top 5 most popular non-invasive cosmetic procedures in the United States- a true testament to their efficacy in treating a host of skin conditions!

Are chemical peels worth it?

Chemical peels offer patients a non-invasive cosmetic treatment option for greatly improving the appearance of their complexion. They are one of the most versatile cosmetic procedures that can address various issues, from uneven skin tone to fine lines to dark spots to wrinkles, making a chemical peel treatment absolutely worth it! Additionally, they are often more inexpensive than many skin resurfacing laser treatments. Chemical peels can be a great treatment option for patients of any skin type and skin tone. They can often be used in conjunction with other cosmetic treatments for even better rejuvenation results.

Are chemical peels good for your skin?

Yes, chemical peels are an excellent treatment for your skin. Chemical peels damage the skin in a controlled manner, producing superficial wounds that stimulate the natural healing process. As your body works to repair the damage, there is collagen stimulation and increased skin cell turnover. Within a few days of peeling, a new skin layer will appear that is more even in tone and texture. Any areas where you may have had hyperpigmentation, age spots, sun spots, and discoloration should be faded and less visible. The result is a complexion that is healthier, clearer, brighter, and more youthful.

Do chemical peels help with acne?

Yes, chemical peels help with acne breakouts. By using a chemical solution to exfoliate the skin, unclog the pores, and help treat acne breakouts, chemical peels can greatly reduce acne breakouts. Glycolic acid, salicylic acid, and light trichloroacetic acid peels are very effective chemical peel options for treating acne. It is best to have a series of these light peels to help exfoliate the skin and treat your acne breakouts.

Can chemical peels remove acne scars?

Chemical peels are very effective at improving the appearance of acne scars by removing the outer layer of dead skin and replacing it with smoother, new, healthy skin. Chemical peels promote the formation of new collagen and, in essence, resurface the skin. Acne breakouts can result in acne scars with uneven skin tone, hyperpigmentation, and dark marks. Chemical peels, combined with hydroquinones and retinoids, will smooth out your skin tone and leave it even and glowing.

For atrophic acne scars, especially ice-pick scars, TCA Cross is a unique method of treating these scars with high concentrations of trichloroacetic acid. TCA Cross reduces enlarged pores and acne scars and promotes the production of new collagen and elastin. This new collagen production creates a more even complexion and improves the cosmetic appearance of your acne scars.

Does a chemical peel help with wrinkles?

Chemical peels can help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by using a chemical solution to remove the outer layers of damaged, old skin. The new skin that replaces it is usually smoother and less wrinkled in appearance. It is important to note that chemical peels alone may not give you your desired results and will not miraculously make your wrinkles disappear. Chemical peels are often paired with other cosmetic procedures like dermal fillers or Botox injections to improve the appearance of wrinkles.

Can chemical peels remove scars?

Chemical peels can be used to remove light scars that result from acne or injury. The chemical peel treatment, when applied to the scarred area, exfoliates the epidermal layer of skin, which promotes the production of collagen. When the new skin cells replace the old tissue, the new skin is smoother in texture, reducing the appearance of scars. Chemical peels are not as effective at removing deep scars. For that reason, Dr. Green may pair a chemical peel procedure with other treatments available at her office, such as the VBeam Pulsed Dye Laser, eMatrix Laser, Botox, Dermal Fillers, or steroid injections.

Is a chemical peel good for sun-damaged skin?

Yes, chemical peels are a great option for blemishes like sun spots, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, and other undesirable skin imperfections. Chemical peels use a chemical solution often containing ingredients like salicylic acid, glycolic acid, trichloroacetic acid, and lactic acid, among others to remove the outer layer of skin. The new skin that replaces it is more even in tone and texture and will substantially reduce the appearance of sun spots, although results may vary depending on how deep the pigmentation is and how strong the chemical peel is. For individuals with darker skin tones, chemical peels are the safest and most effective means in removing sun spots without the adverse side effects that accompany other cosmetic procedures, such as laser treatments.

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6 months after treatment with Cosmelan

How do I treat acne breakouts after a chemical peel?

Acne breakouts after a chemical peel are normal and result from underlying bacteria coming to the surface. Large amounts of dead skin and inflammation resulting from the procedure can also contribute to mild breakouts as your skin tries to purge it. During this time, you can use a gentle cleanser twice a day. You can also apply a non-comedogenic moisturizer two to three times a day to ease any discomfort and soothe your skin. If you are going out in the sun, be sure to apply sunscreen. The best practice for treating post-peel breakouts is keeping your skin clean and hydrated, as it is more susceptible to bacteria and sun damage. After a few days or within the first few weeks, the breakouts should clear, and you should be left with healthy, beautiful skin.

Is a chemical peel safe for patients with dark skin tones?

Yes, chemical peels are safe and effective for patients with darker skin types. They are one of the best and only treatments for sun spots and hyperpigmentation in darker skin tones that have fewer side effects. Many other cosmetic procedures that are used to treat sun damage, like the Fraxel laser, can actually cause more harm than good, especially when used by inexperienced providers. It is especially important to go to a board-certified dermatologist like Dr. Green if you have a darker skin tone since she has experience dealing with a diverse range of skin tones and knows the right concentration to give, so you do not experience side effects.

Can you do a chemical peel on your body?

Yes, chemical peels can be used on the body and face to correct uneven skin tone, texture, hyperpigmentation, sun damage, fine lines, wrinkles, acne, and acne scars. Chemical peels can be performed on:

  • Face
  • Neck
  • Chest/decolletage
  • Back
  • Buttocks
  • Legs
  • Arms
  • Inner thighs
  • Axillae
  • Vaginal area

What are the side effects of chemical peels?

Some of the normal and expected side effects of chemical peels are dryness and flaking for several days to a week, depending on the depth of the chemical peel. The use of moisturizers and lotions will alleviate some of these side effects.

When chemical peels are performed by inexperienced and unlicensed providers, the risks and side effects increase. There is the risk of infection and/or scarring from the chemical peel, especially if the wrong type of chemical peel is performed for a specific skin tone. There is also a risk of hyperpigmentation and permanent hypopigmentation, or lack of pigment.

Female patient chemical peels, 2 months

What to expect after a chemical peel?

Since there are so many different types of chemical peels, you can expect varying degrees of downtime and peeling, depending on the type of chemical peel. For example, light or superficial peels will flake and peel off in several days, removing dead skin. Deep chemical peels may blister and swell and can take one to two weeks to heal. A mesopeel for intimate areas is designed to have little or no peeling in these sensitive areas. Common side effects include minor redness and swelling. Some patients also experience a burning or stinging sensation on their faces that is alleviated by cold compresses.

How often should you get a chemical peel?

The frequency of a chemical peel depends on the type of peel and the condition that you are treating. If you are treating acne, you can have a series of peels every two to four weeks to exfoliate and improve your acne breakouts. If the chemical peels are being performed for discoloration or hyperpigmentation, these chemical peels may be performed every four weeks until all of the discolorations are resolved. Generally, with a moderate amount of hyperpigmentation, five to six chemical peels are required in combination with skin-lightening creams and retinoids.

What to put on your face after a chemical peel?

It is very important to apply rich, nourishing moisturizers and lotions, which are free from exfoliants such as retinoids or alpha hydroxy acids, after the chemical peel. As new skin forms, you do not want to pick or scrape off the peeling skin, which may lead to scarring. Sunscreen use is very important, as well as strict sun protection. Dr. Green recommends using a broad-spectrum SPF 50 sunscreen, which has both UVA and UVB protection. After your chemical peel and for the following week, you should reapply sunscreen every two hours when outside to best protect your new skin.

Can you do chemical peels at home?

Mild chemical peels or exfoliating treatments can be done at home under the guidance of your dermatologist. These light peels can help with acne, sun damage, discoloration, and fine lines. Special care must not over-peel your skin and leave it irritated, discolored, or more uneven. There are many popular at-home products for chemical peels, such as MGSKINLABs Retexturizing pads. When looking through the ingredients for such at-home products, it is important to remember that in addition to exfoliating ingredients such as alpha-hydroxy acids and retinol, active ingredients like vitamin C will help treat the discoloration and target dark spots on your face and body. Deeper chemical peels should never be performed at home. High percentages of TCA and phenol peels fall into this category since only board-certified dermatologists, like Dr. Green, are licensed to perform these types of deeper chemical peels. Attempting to perform a medium or deep chemical peel at home can result in dangerous and permanent side effects, including scarring and hyperpigmentation.

What is the best chemical peel?

Actually, there is no “best” type of chemical peel. The best chemical peel for a patient must be determined during a consultation with an expert and based on your skin type, skin tone, the area of the body being treated, and the specific skin condition which needs to be improved. Generally speaking, fair-skinned patients can have stronger chemical peels than patients with darker skin tones. Patients with darker skin tones are more susceptible to developing hyperpigmentation as a side effect of chemical peel treatment. It is important to consult an expert in chemical peels, like Dr. Michele Green, who will understand which type of chemical peel will be best for your skin tone. Dr. Green treats individuals of all skin tones with chemical peels, including Asian, Hispanic, and African American patients.

Can chemical peels be combined with other cosmetic procedures?

Yes! Patients often choose to combine their chemical peel treatments with other non-invasive cosmetic treatments for pan-facial rejuvenation results. For example, dynamic wrinkles, which form as a result of repeated facial expressions, are best treated with injections of Botox. Botox is an injectable neurotoxin that relaxes the facial muscles in the treatment area to diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles to produce a smoother appearance. Deep scars and age-related skin laxity are two additional skin concerns that typically can’t be resolved with chemical peeling and require a combination treatment approach. For this reason, other procedures like dermal fillers, BOTOX® Cosmetic, Sculptra, or other cosmetic injectables should be incorporated into your treatment regime. Many patients will also choose to have the Thermage FLX for skin tightening before a series of peels to produce new collagen and tighten the skin.

Additional types of specialized chemical peels

The Vi Peel

A Vi Peel is a unique chemical peel that is formulated with salicylic acid, Vitamin C, TCA, and retinoic acid. A Vi peel helps treat sun damage, melasma, acne scars, and other pigmentation and discoloration of the face. Since the Vi peel also helps address skin texture, it can help with pores, fine lines, acne, and surface irregularities. Like other chemical peels, the Vi peel can be combined with other cosmetic lasers, such as the Vbeam laser treatment for redness, Botox, and Juvederm. As the Vi peel removes the dead skin, new healthy skin tissue is stimulated, which improves fine lines and wrinkles, and pigmentation. The full effects of the Vi peel generally take one week, as the skin exfoliates and new glowing skin is produced.

Cosmelan chemical peels to treat melasma

The Cosmelan peel is a professional-grade mask that has 51 active ingredients that actively work to depigment your skin. These ingredients contain key tyrosinase inhibitors, which block the production of melanin in the skin, and other lightening agents to restore beautiful, clear skin. It can treat various conditions, from melasma, age spots, blemishes, and skin discoloration, among others. The Cosmelan peel is a series of two peels, three weeks apart, that is applied on your skin for several hours based on your skin type and the extent of your hyperpigmentation or melasma. In between and after peels, you will need to use specially formulated creams to reduce hyperpigmentation or melasma, such as hydroquinone, vitamin K cream, sunscreen, and Cosmelan 2. Patients have seen great results from the Cosmelan peel, and for many, Cosmelan is the only thing that has worked for melasma. If you have tried other treatment options without improvement, give Cosmelan a try.

Dermamelan Intimate peel for vaginal pigmentation and discoloration

As women age, there is often a loss of collagen and elastin. This is accompanied by increased hyperpigmentation and darkening of the skin around the external genital and inner thigh area. This is a result of increased estrogen activity that can increase levels of an enzyme called tyrosinase, which is an important component in melanin (skin pigment) production. The hyperpigmentation and discoloration can then be worsened by external factors like dry skin, certain medications, friction, and hair removal.

Dermamelan intimate can reduce pigmentation in the external genital area, groin, and inner thighs through its depigmentation action and anti-aging effects. The dermamelan treatment consists of two phases: one in-office peel that consists of several steps and at-home maintenance with the dermamelan intimate home depigmenting gel cream. These two phases work to remove existing hyperpigmentation and discoloration, increase the production of new collagen and elastin, and prevent future hyperpigmentation from occurring.

Mesopeel chemical peels for the body

A Mesopeel is a specially formulated chemical peel that addresses all types of hyperpigmentation and helps to control melanocyte activity. They are used to treat many delicate areas of the body, such as the axillae (armpits), groin, inner thighs, face, and under-eye areas that are too sensitive for other traditional chemical peels. Mesopeels, through the process of chemoexfoliation, lead to an inflammatory reaction of the reticular dermis and induces new collagen and elastin production. When coming for a mesopeel appointment, Dr. Green will apply the mesopeel for specific times depending on which area of the face and body you want to be treated. There are specially formulated mesopeels depending on the area being treated and what you hope to achieve. Afterward, you will have to maintain a consistent regiment of using trans3x melan gel and cream to continue the depigmentation process at home. You will also need to apply sunscreen whenever you go outside if these body parts are exposed to the sun.

Mesopeels Periocular chemical peels for eye area

For hyperpigmentation or dark circles around the eyes, a TCA peel or a Mesopeel can be used. The under-eye and periocular area can be one of the first areas to show the signs of aging and wrinkles, for which many female and male patients seek anti-aging treatments. Mesopeel® periocular is a recent combination peel launched by Mesoestetic and is now available to patients in our NYC office. It is a unique chemical peel composed of azelaic acid, salicylic acid, lactic acid, resorcinol, citric acid, and phytic acid. These ingredients specifically aid in reducing the wrinkles in the eyelids (upper and lower) crow’s feet, hyperpigmentation, skin laxity, under-eye circles, and loss of brightness.

They are a great option for patients with darker skin tones who cannot tolerate TCA peels, which can cause discomfort and irritation. Darker skin tones are also at higher risk of scarring and post-peel discoloration as a result of TCA peels. If you have tired-looking eyes and want a non-surgical way to improve their appearance, Mesopeel Periocular is an amazing anti-aging chemical peel to accomplish your eye rejuvenation.

Alternative cosmetic treatments from chemical peels

Chemical peels are a great option to treat anything from hyperpigmentation to wrinkles to acne scars. Still, sometimes, alternative cosmetic treatments are preferred depending on your skin issue and skin type. Other alternatives to chemical peels include laser resurfacing, like the Fraxel laser, eMatrix Sublative laser, Vivace, and Clear+Brilliant laser. These lasers can often be used in combination with chemical peels. They all have their unique technologies, and a board-certified dermatologist like Dr. Michele Green can determine what is the right treatment or combination of treatments that will allow you to reach the best skincare goals.

The Fraxel laser is a fractional laser that makes thousands of microscopic injuries on the skin, to stimulate collagen and elastin formation. This method is particularly effective in treating acne scars, wrinkles, sunspots, age spots, uneven pigmentation, and fine lines around the mouth and eyes. The downside of the Fraxel laser is that it typically has a longer downtime of 3-4 days instead of little to no downtime with a chemical peel. It also cannot treat melasma. In addition, Fraxel cannot be used on darker skin tones, whereas chemical peels can be used on a diverse range of skin tones.

The Clear + Brilliant laser is often referred to as the “baby-Fraxel” since it yields similar results to the Fraxel without the associated downtime. C+B also uses fractionated laser technology which creates millions of tiny microscopic treatment zones to stimulate new collagen formation. This technology allows it to treat sunspots, age spots, sun damage, fine lines, enlarged pores, acne scars, melasma, and uneven skin tone and texture. C+B is also a “color-blind” laser and works effectively for patients of all skin types and tones, including patients with darker skin.

The eMatrix Sublative laser uses bi-polar radiofrequency energy to heat below the skin surface while keeping the top layer of skin intact. Each pulse the laser delivers induces skin injury and activates fibroblasts to signal a wound-healing response and produce new collagen. The eMatrix is great for fine lines, pigmentation, superficial skin lesions, skin texture, and sun damage. Like the Fraxel, the eMatrix has some downtime and will require a topical anesthetic but can be combined with other cosmetic procedures like chemical peels to treat your skin concerns.

Vivace laser combines two other forms of therapy, microneedling, and radio frequency (RF) energy. RF heats the dermis layer of the skin, which stimulates the body’s natural collagen and elastin production. The new collagen and elastin made lead to tighter-looking skin with less prominent wrinkles and fine lines. Microneedling uses tiny needles to make micro-injuries on the skin, which also stimulates collagen production and allows dermal remodeling. When microneedling is combined with RF, there is an even greater reduction of wrinkles and fine lines, shrunken pore sizes, faded acne scars, and improved overall skin health. Vivace can be used in combination with chemical peels and other lasers.

Where can I get a chemical peel?

The best place to have your chemical peel is in the medical office of a board-certified healthcare professional, such as dermatologist Dr. Michele Green in New York City. Although it may be more inexpensive to have a chemical peel in a spa or medical spa setting, it can result in dangerous and permanent side effects when improperly performed. Hypopigmentation, hyperpigmentation, and even scarring are all potential side effects

Should I get a chemical peel?

A chemical peel is an excellent non-invasive treatment option for revitalizing the appearance of the surface of the skin. Chemical peels can target a host of skin concerns, including sun damage, hyperpigmentation, enlarged pores, acne, fine lines, and an uneven skin tone, among others. Patients of essentially any skin type and skin tone can benefit from having a chemical peel treatment. If you are interested in having a chemical peel, the best first step is having a consult with Dr. Michele Green in NYC

When to get a chemical peel

It is recommended to schedule chemical peel treatments in the winter months or when you will not be spending time outdoors. Chemical peels are a photosensitizing treatment, meaning that skin becomes more susceptible to sun damage due to treatment. The process of exfoliation that occurs in the time following your procedure can make skin vulnerable to UV exposure, leading to exacerbation of pigmentation.

Who should get a chemical peel?

Chemical peels are offered in various types and strengths, meaning that patients of essentially any skin type, skin tone, and age can benefit from having a chemical peel treatment. Patients that are interested in achieving a complexion that is more even in tone and texture, without the need for an invasive procedure or lengthy downtime, may be perfect for a chemical peel treatment.

Patients should not get a chemical peel if they have taken isotretinoin (Accutane) within the last 6 months. Patients with a personal or family history of keloid scars should take precautions with chemical peel treatments and be sure to let Dr. Green know of this before undergoing treatment. Pregnant and breastfeeding patients should not have chemical peels.

How do I get started with chemical peels today?

A chemical peel is an excellent non-invasive cosmetic procedure for addressing a host of skin conditions. If you are concerned with sun spots, sun damage, acne scars, hyperpigmentation, melasma, dull skin, or other skin condition, and it’s affecting your self-esteem, Dr. Michele Green is here to help. At her private dermatology office in the Upper East Side neighborhood of Manhattan, Dr. Green performs many types of chemical peels, including Cosmelan, Mesopeels, TCA cross, and Dermamelan Intimate, to rejuvenate the appearance of the skin texture and skin tone for a brighter, clearer, smoother complexion that lasts.

Dr. Michele Green is an internationally renowned, board-certified dermatologist in NYC who has over 25 years of experience in cosmetic dermatology, skincare, chemical peels, and skin resurfacing lasers. Dr. Green will help you achieve the best cosmetic results for patients of all skin types. Dr. Michele Green is consistently voted as one of the best cosmetic dermatologists in New York City by Super Doctors, New York Magazine, and Castle Connolly for her dedication to her patients and expertise. If you are looking for the best chemical peel treatment in New York, please call our NYC office at 212-535-3088 or contact us online to develop your customized treatment plan with Dr. Green today.

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