Chemical peel Tag it: Skin changes with age. It loses its elasticity, color, and becomes wrinkled. People can either accept it and live with the changes or try to improve something. There are several ways to do this. A person can either choose facelift, botox, or chemical peel. Unlike both other methods, chemical peel is not a complicated one and therefore favored by most. What is it? Chemical peel is a cosmetic, dermatological procedure, during which certain chemical solutions are applied on the skin to correct its appearance. During this procedure spoiled outer layers of the skin are removed with the help of solutions. These solutions include phenol, trichloroacetic acid (TCA) and alphahydroxy acids (AHAs). Chemical peel is performed in order to remove facial flaws, birthmarks, lines, and unequal skin pigmentation. It may also be used for removal of pre-cancerous skin growths, although it is mostly applied for beauty reasons. In addition, chemical peel also may be useful for those who want to remove acne facial scars or even to treat acne. How it works? As mentioned above, there are several solutions used in skin peel performance. It is very individual which one should be used each time. Therefore, a doctor chooses one of them according to your individual characteristics of the skin, your needs, and expectations. The mildest type of peel is chemical peel using alphahydroxy acids (AHAs), such as glycolic, lactic, or fruit acids. These substances make the skin smoother and younger-looking for people, who have lines, dry skin regions, acne and unequal pigmentation. This form of peels is very convenient to people, who do not wish or cannot undergo other types of chemical peels, which require a certain recovery period. You may need a series of AHA applications to achieve the best results. Alphahydroxy acids may be used weekly or at longer intervals, depending on the state of your skin problems and your wishes. These acids may also be mixed with your facial wash or cream, so that you could apply it daily to change the appearance of your skin. Medium-depth peeling is performed using trichloroacetic acid (TCA). Although concentration of this substance may be changed, providing different types of chemical peel. This acid is applied to remove thin wrinkles, small facial flaws, birthmarks and improve skin pigmentation. Results can be achieved by several sessions of chemical peel but they are not long-lasting and very noticeable as compared to phenol chemical peel. Almost no recovery time is needed, although sunblock is required after treatment. In addition, certain creams should be used before undergoing chemical peel. And finally, this type of chemical peel is most suitable for darker-skinned patients. The deepest form of chemical peel is performed with the help of phenol. It is the most powerful of all the above mentioned solutions. When applied on the skin, it may treat thick facial lines, remove skin blots caused by sun and other factors, eliminate pre-cancerous growths, and birthmarks. Phenol should not be used on other body areas than face, since scarring may occur. This type of chemical peel is most suitable for light-skinned subjects. Deep chemical peel provides long-lasting, visible results, although lightening areas may occur. It needs to be used only once and recovery period is rather long - up to two months. Chemical peel procedure During your initial consultation the doctor will decide which type of chemical peel suits you best depending on your skin type, problems, age, general physical state and expectations. Light chemical peel, when AHA is applied, usually lasts no longer than 10 minutes. During this type of treatment, the doctor will apply AHA solution to you facial skin. You will need several applications in order to obtain the best results. There is no recovery period after this type of chemical peel and you will not need to apply certain „after-peel“ creams. Some patients may be suitable for the mixtures of AHA solution and face wash or cream, so that they can use the creams daily and come to visiti their doctor for examination of the results. Your doctor will cleanse your skin properly before medium-depth or deep chemical peeling. Then the phenol or TCA solution is applied to your facial skin and you may experience a burning sensation at the beginning, which should pass quickly. Chemical peel with TCA solution usually takes no longer than 15 minutes. You will need two or more applications in order to achieve the best results. Deep chemical peel with phenol solution usually lasts one or two hours, and a recovery period that may be up to two months is needed. Your doctor will probably cover the treated region with petroleum jelly or waterproof adhesive tape in order to prevent infection and allow the skin to recover properly. Single application of phenol solution should be enough to achieve good long- lasting results. Alphahydroxy acids (AHAs)- mild chemical peel: Makes your dry skin smoother Improves your skin impaired by the sun Controls acne If combined with bleaching agent it can eliminate pigment problems Can be used as TCA pre-treatment Convenient for people who do not have time for long recovery period AHA peels. The process of applying an AHA solution should take no more than 10 minutes. Periodic treatments may be needed to achieve the desired result. Some people may be able to achieve the desired result by twice-daily applications of a face wash or cream containing an AHA. TCA peels. A full-face TCA peel should take no more than 15 minutes. The solution may sting when it is first applied, but the feeling will pass quickly. Two or more TCA peels may be needed to obtain the desired result. The treatments may be spaced out over several months. Phenol peels. After a phenol peel, the physician may coat the treated area with petroleum jelly or waterproof adhesive tape. A full-face phenol peel takes one or two hours. If the peel is concentrated to a region such as the upper lip, it may take only 10 or 15 minutes. A single treatment usually achieves the desired result. Chemical peels are usually done as an outpatient procedure. In most cases, an anesthetic is not required because the chemical itself acts as an anesthetic. A relaxing sedative may be used. Pain medication may be needed before or during a deep peel. After The Treatment It is customary to return home with supervision after a chemical peel, but in some cases a day or two in an outpatient care facility may be required. The skin is not bandaged in most cases. After a TCA or phenol peel, the doctor may prescribe a pain medication to relieve tingling and throbbing. If tape was used to cover the face, it will be removed within two days. It is important to avoid the sun during the heeling process after a chemical peel. A commitment must be made to the continued aggressive use of sun block. Overexposure to the sun hastens the aging process and can reverse the effects of the peel. AHA peel. An AHA peel affects the skin like sunburn. The skin will probably become red and dry, then begin to flake and peel. The flaking should end within five days. Most people can return immediately to their normal activities. TCA peel. A crust or scab may form on the treated area and there may be significant swelling. The swelling will subside within the first week. After about 10 days, the new skin should be apparent and healing should have progressed enough to allow a return to normal activities. Phenol peel. After a phenol peel, the face will become quite swollen. The eyes may even swell shut temporarily. Talking should be avoided if possible, and a liquid diet may be required. New skin will begin to form within ten days. The skin will be very red and several weeks may be required for the red color to subside. During this time, exposure to the sun without skin block can cause blotches and irregular pigmentation. After about two weeks, the skin should be healed sufficiently to allow a return to work and to some normal activities. Cosmetics can be worn at this time.