Chemical Peel- Aesthetic Medicine/ Cosmetology, Dermatology, Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery

What is meant by chemical peeling?

Chemical peeling is a type of skin re-surfacing procedure. It is a specialized procedure done in specialized units ideally by a dermatologist. A chemical solution like TCA, glycolic acid or carbolic acid is applied to skin mainly over face and neck. The top layers of skin will be removed gradually depending on the strength and type of chemical solution used. New skin which grows back will be radiant and smooth. Since it makes you look younger it is quite popular among actresses and models.

Light chemical peeling which involves superficial peeling remove outer layer of skin called epidermis. It can be repeated every month or so.

In medium chemical peeling epidermis and upper part of dermis (middle layer of skin) is removed. This procedure can be done 6 monthly to achieve and maintain desired results.

Deep chemical peeling removes epidermis and deeper layers of dermis. Therefore it is not done repeatedly and done only once. If lesions are deeper, this is preferred.

What are the skin conditions for which chemical peeling is used?

Chemical peeling is done to treat following skin conditions;

  • Treatment of scars – acne scars, surgical scars etc.
  • To reduce fine lines and wrinkles
  • To reduce discolored skin such as melasma, sun burns and acne pigmentation
  • Treat dry skin
  • To achieve and maintain radiant, smooth and younger looking skin

What are the advantages of chemical peeling?

Most females prefer to have beautiful, flawless skin which is free of wrinkles and look younger. It is one option where beauty of skin is maintained when performed regularly. Chemical peeling can be done alone or combined with other dermatological procedures.

For people who are distressed due to scars, they can be reduced or removed by chemical peeling.

What are the possible adverse effects?

  • Since skin is peeled off, it will become red and irritated which can last for several months especially after deep peels.
  • Possible infection – As skin becomes more sensitive and exposed it is prone to infections like cold sores (Herpes simplex virus type 1) and other bacterial and fungal infections.
  • Rarely scarring can occur especially after a deep chemical peel.
  • Skin color can become hyper pigmented (darker) or hypo pigmented (lighter) than normal skin.
  • If proper sun protection is not used following the procedure skin can get sun damaged.
  • Sometimes certain chemical solutions used may cause damage to heart or kidneys which is rare but possible.

What you should know about having a good chemical peel?

  • Although you may achieve desired results from a single chemical peel, to maintain desired results, it has to be done regularly. Your doctor will advise how often it should be performed. However after a certain age, wrinkles will be deeper and difficult to treat. You shouldn’t expect miracles and accept reality and natural aging with time.
  • It is a must to use a good sun screen following procedure, because your skin is sensitive and can be easily damaged by UV rays of sun.
  • You can use ice packs and apply petroleum gel to soothe the area. An over the counter pain killer like ibuprofen (Advil) can be tried for pain.
  • However if redness or swelling continues or signs of skin infection occur always seek help.

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