How Are Chemical Peels Performed?
Prior to treatment, you may be instructed to stop certain medications and prepare the skin with pre-conditioning creams, which you would apply at home for a period of time. A chemical peel is usually performed in a doctor's office, involving the following:
- Cleansing the skin with an agent that removes excess oils; eyes and hair are protected.
- Applying the peel to the designated location (face, neck, chest, hands, arms, or legs), using one or more chemical solutions, such as glycolic acid, trichloroacetic acid, salicylic acid, lactic acid, or carbolic acid (phenol).
- Using the proper peeling agent (superficial, medium or deep) based upon the type of skin damage present and your desired results.
During a chemical peel, most patients experience a warm to hot sensation that may last about 5 to 10 minutes and may be followed by some stinging. A deeper peel can be more painful and require medication during or after the procedure, and require a longer recovery time.
What Should Be Expected After Treatment?
To minimize the reappearance of lesions and lines, doctors recommend daily use of a broad-spectrum (blocks ultraviolet A and ultraviolet B rays) sunscreen.
Depending upon the type of peel applied, there may be a mild to severe sunburn-like sensation. The gentlest type of peel, a superficial peel, usually produces redness, which is followed by scaling that lasts three to five days.
Medium-depth and deep peels can result in swelling and blisters that may break, crust, turn brown, and peel off over a period of seven to 14 days or longer. Some peels may require surgical tape to be placed on part or all of the treated skin