Chemical peel uses a chemical solution to improve and smooth the texture of the facial skin by removing its damaged outer layers. It is helpful for those individuals with facial blemishes, wrinkles and uneven skin pigmentation.
Phenol, trichloroacetic acid (TCA) and alphahydroxy acids (AHAs) are used for this purpose.
The precise formula used may be adjusted to meet each patient’s needs. Although chemical peel may be performed in conjunction with a facelift.
Chemical peel is most commonly performed for cosmetic reasons, for example: to enhance your appearance and your self confidence. Chemical peel may also remove pre-cancerous skin growths, soften acne facial scars and even control acne.
Alphahydroxy acids (AHAs), such as glycolic, lactic, or fruit acids are the mildest of the peel formulas and produce light peels. These types of peels can provide smoother, brighter-looking skin for people who can’t spare the time to recover from a phenol or TCA peel.
AHA peels may be used to treat fine wrinkling, areas of dryness, uneven pigmentation and acne. Various concentrations of an AHA may be applied weekly or at longer intervals to obtain the best result.
An alphahydroxy acid, such as glycolic acid, can also be mixed with a facial wash or cream in lesser concentrations as part of a daily skin-care regimen to improve the skin’s texture.
Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) can be used in many concentrations, but it is most commonly used for medium-depth peeling. Fine surface wrinkles, superficial blemishes and pigment problems are commonly treated with TCA.
Phenol is the strongest of the chemical solutions and produces a deep peel. It is used mainly to treat patients with coarse facial wrinkles, areas of blotchy or damaged skin caused by sun exposure, or pre-cancerous growths. Since phenol sometimes lightens the treated areas, your skin pigmentation may be a determining factor as to whether or not this is an appropriate treatment for you. Phenol is primarily used on the face; scarring may result if it’s applied to the neck or other body areas.
AHA peels may cause stinging, redness, irritation and crusting. However, as the skin adjusts to the treatment regimen, these problems will subside.
With a TCA peel, your healed skin will be able to produce pigment as always; the peel will not bleach the skin. However, TCA-peel patients are advised to avoid sun exposure for several months after treatment to protect the newly formed layers of skin. Even though TCA is milder than phenol, it may also produce some unintended color changes in the skin.
With a phenol peel, the new skin frequently loses its ability to make pigment. This means that not only will the skin be lighter in color, but you’ll always have to protect it from the sun.
It is also possible that phenol will cause some undesired cosmetic results, such as uneven pigment changes. Certain modified phenol peels are gentler and may be preferred in some circumstances.
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RecoveryAfter an AHA peel, it is common to experience some temporary flaking or scaling, redness and dryness of the skin. However, these conditions will disappear as the skin adjusts to treatment.
After a phenol or TCA peel, your doctor may prescribe a mild pain medication to relieve any tingling or throbbing you may feel. If tape was used to cover your face, it will be removed after a day or two. A crust or scab will form on the treated area.
A TCA peel may also cause significant swelling, depending on the strength of the peel used.
If you’ve had a phenol peel, your face may become quite swollen. Your eyes may even be swollen shut temporarily. You will need someone to help care for you for a day or two. You may also be limited to a liquid diet and advised not to talk very much during the first few days of recovery.