Chemical Peels : Benefits, Types, Procedure, Treatment Cost

Ageing, chronic sun exposure, or acne can make your skin dull, wrinkled, spotted and scarred.
A chemical peel is one of the most effective ways to improve the skin. It is a procedure of chemical skin resurfacing by applying a solution with active agents that exfoliate the top layers of the skin. The new skin that grows after healing is smoother, fresh, spot free and younger looking.
Chemical peels are used to treat wrinkles, skin discolouration and scars. Although chemical peels are used mostly on the face, they can also be used to improve the skin on your neck and hands. A chemical peel can be done alone or in combination with other cosmetic procedures.

The results of chemical peel procedure depends on the type of chemical used.

What are the effects/ benefits of chemical peel?

It is a versatile treatment which can be used to treat wide variety of skin conditions.
The types of chemical peels are superficial, medium and deep peels, depending on the depth of action of these solutions, i.e., upto what layer of skin will they can exfoliation.

Superficial chemical peel. It removes only the top most layer of epidermis that is composed of dead cells called corneocytes. It is the mildest of all peels, with minimal to no downtime. Superficial chemical peel can be used to treat acne, uneven and dull skin tone, dryness and fine wrinkles.

Medium chemical peel. This type of peel acts deeper, up to the upper dermis. It causes more dramatic exfoliation of skin, producing quicker results as compared to superficial peels. A medium depth chemical peel can be used to treat wrinkles, acne scars and uneven skin tone.

Deep chemical peel. A deep peel removes skin cells from the epidermis up to the lower portion of dermis. Deeper chemical peels produce more drastic results but are also associated with longer recovery time. It is majorly used for the treatment of deeper wrinkles and scars.

A chemical peel can help to improve

  1. Acne or acne scars
  2. Fine lines and wrinkles
  3. Irregular skin pigmentation
  4. Rough skin and scaly patches
  5. Dull skin
  6. Certain scars
  7. Sun-damaged skin
Who is a suitable candidate for a chemical peel procedure?

You may opt for chemical peeling if you have:

  1. Acne or acne scars
  2. Dark spots or patches
  3. Uneven skin pigmentation
  4. Dull looking skin
  5. Rough, dehydrated skin
  6. Open pores
  7. Fine lines and wrinkles
  8. Looking for maintenance of skin in good condition
What are the steps of the procedure?

The peel to be used for you will be decided by your doctor after careful assessment of the skin condition and your particular needs.

A superficial peel might be the right choice if you have uneven pigmentation, dryness, acne or fine wrinkling.
Superficial chemical peel procedure steps

  1. Face Cleansing.
  2. The chemical solution is applied onto your skin with a brush and left on for a few minutes.
  3. The chemical peel is then washed off or deactivated using neutralizing solution.

Medium chemical peel

It is used in cases of acne scars, deeper wrinkles and uneven skin colour.
Medium chemical peel procedure steps

  1. Cleansing.
  2. The chemical solution is applied onto your skin and left for just a few minutes. You may feel some burning or stinging.
  3. The treated area may turn a whitish grey colour.
  4. The chemicals are neutralised with a cool saline compress.
  5. The peeling process usually starts in 2 days and lasts for a week. It is important to keep the skin well moisturised during the peeling process.

Deep chemical peel

If you have deeper facial wrinkles, skin that's damaged by the sun, scars, areas that appear blotchy or even pre-cancerous growths, deep facial chemical peels might be the right choice for you. The dermatologist will carefully determine if you are a good candidate for this treatment.
The dermatologist will use the strongest chemical called phenol to penetrate down to the lower dermal layer of your skin.

Deep chemical peel procedure steps

  1. You will be given a sedative to relax along with a local anaesthetic to numb your face.
  2. Your face will go through a stepwise cleansing process.
  3. Phenol is brushed onto the area after an appropriate time interval.
  4. The chemical is neutralised with water.
  5. A thick coat of ointment is smoothed over your skin, to prevent dryness and pain. The ointment must stay in place. Sometimes your doctor will cover your skin with strips of tape or medicated gauze rather than ointment.

Note: Medium and deep peels are associated with longer recovery times and increased risk of complications like hyperpigmentation, hypopigmentation and scarring, especially in people with ethnic skin. Hence, medium and deep peels are not recommended for dark skin color.

What can I expect after the chemical peel procedure?

The recovery period depends on the type of chemical peel done:

After a superficial or light chemical peel, you may experience some redness, stinging, skin flaking and irritation, which subsides in 1-2 days. One week post treatment, you can start to notice improvement in the condition and texture of your skin. With repeated treatments, these positive changes improve further.

The redness and flaking of skin continues for longer duration, up to 2 weeks following deeper chemical peels.

What are the precautions I need to take after the procedure?

You can resume your daily work next day onwards if you had taken a light peel, however, with deeper peels, you are advised to stay indoors for 3-5 days at least.

It is also recommended that you moisturise your skin well during the post peel period. Sun protection by using a broad spectrum non-comedogenic sunscreen and other physical Skin care methods, plays a crucial role in enhancing the effects of a chemical peel.

You can also resume your night cream regimen prescribed by your dermatologist once the skin has recovered completely from the peel treatment.

How many sessions are required to see best results?

Depending on the condition of the skin and type of peel used, a person may require 4-8 sessions to see excellent results.

How frequently should we get the peel treatment done?

Superficial chemical peels can be repeated every 2-3 weeks. Medium peels once in 6 months and deep peels once a year.

What are the side effects?

Chemical peeling is a very safe treatment option that can improve multiple skin conditions together. All the adverse effects can be avoided by taking a good post peel care. It gives great results when done by an experienced practitioner. In patients with history of cold sores, prophylactic antiviral medication to be started as per medical advice.

What is yellow peel?

Yellow peel is a superficial cream based leave-on peel

Two days post procedure, you can notice visible exfoliation of the uppermost dead layer of skin. The exfoliation continues for 3-5 days, after which the skin becomes normal again.

As yellow peel causes dramatic exfoliation without affecting the deeper layers of skin, it is extremely popular to treat dark spots, dull skin and sun tanning. You can appreciate significant changes in just one week after the procedure.

Does my skin becomes sensitive and thin after chemical peeling?

The skin does become little sensitive to sun exposure after a chemical peel treatment, but for a short duration. That is why proper sun protection by using a good broad spectrum, non-comedogenic sunscreen is advisable.

The skin definitely does not become thin after a peel treatment. On the contrary, regular chemical peeling helps in maintaining the thickness of the skin. It stimulates the division of skin cells, normalises the distribution of pigment in skin cells (thus reducing dark spots and blotchy pigmentation), enhances production of collagen and elastin in the dermis and production of other supporting tissues like hyaluronic acid.

Thus, A chemical peel procedure helps you to keep your skin in a healthy state all the time!

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