That Peelin’ Feeling: Chemical Peels 101

With many options in facial rejuvenation today, the tried-and-true chemical peel is still in high demand. This procedure effectively exfoliates the skin, removing outer dermal layers to reveal softer, smoother skin underneath. With a variety of peel solutions to choose from, you can easily tailor this procedure to your specific needs and desired outcome. Check out these basic facts about medical chemical peels from Newman Plastic Surgery & Laser Center.

Types of Chemical Peels

There are different types of chemical peels available today:

Superficial Peels – Also known as “lunchtime” peels, these treatments are designed to refresh and rejuvenate the skin without discomfort or downtime. The acid used in these treatments is usually an alpha-hydroxy acid like glycolic acid, which will remove only the outer skin layers for a gentle exfoliation. Superficial peels are often recommended at regular intervals to maintain positive results.

Medium Peels – Medium peels commonly use trichloroacetic acid (TCA) to penetrate the outer and some middle layers of skin for more dramatic results. This peel may be prescribed to treat early signs of aging and other, more visible skin imperfections and concerns. A medium peel may involve some discomfort and a few days of recovery time, but the results are more visible and long-lasting than what superficial peels can offer.

Deep Peels – Deep peels use a higher concentration of TCA or phenol to remove multiple layers of skin and treat more severe signs of skin damage. Deep peels are usually performed under local anesthesia and involve up to two weeks of recovery time. However, these one-time treatments feature results that are both dramatic and very long-lasting.

Candidates for Chemical Peels

The best candidates for chemical peels are individuals that want to see full skin rejuvenation through exfoliation. Specifically, the treatments can be used to address the following concerns:

• Fine lines and facial creases

• Shallow scarring from acne and chicken pox

• Uneven pigmentation, age spots and freckles

• Irregular skin texture and tone

• Some precancerous skin growths

The procedure is not generally recommended for women that are pregnant or patients with skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis. Patients undergoing a chemical peel will need to be off the acne medication Accutane for at least six months. Some topical prescriptions may also need to be stopped for 48 hours or more prior to treatment.

The Chemical Peel Process

Chemical peels are performed at Advanced Plastic Surgery & Laser Center on an outpatient basis. After the skin is thoroughly cleansed, the chemical solution is applied to the skin and left on for a prescribed period of time. At the end of the time, the solution is neutralized and removed.

Recovery and Results

Patients receiving lighter peels will be able to apply makeup and return to regular activities right away. Medium peels will require a couple of days at home to heal while deep peels need up to two weeks of recovery time. During the recovery period, skin will shed the outer skin layers, leading to peeling and flaking. Once the shedding process is over, the skin will appear more radiant and smoother, with fewer imperfections.

A chemical peel is an effective way to refresh your complexion for spring or any time of the year. To learn more about your choices in these treatments, contact Newman Plastic Surgery & Laser Center: Manhattan: (212) 472-6100, Westchester: (914) 423-9000, Greenwich: (203) 263-9000 Long Island: (516) 882-1020