What is it?
Chemical peeling is a process that involves the application of a chemical solution to the surface of the skin. This peels away the top layers, which during the healing process are replaced with a fresh, new skin surface. Chemical peels can enhance the skin's appearance for both men and women, though some skin types are more suited to the procedure than others.
An initial consultation will include an examination to assess your skin type and areas of concern, as well as discuss your general health. Although the chemical peel is nearly always performed as an outpatient procedure, some patients may require an overnight stay. Though local anesthesia is not usually required because the chemical solution acts as an anesthetic, patients are frequently sedated for their comfort during the procedure.
The physician begins by cleansing the skin to remove all oils, dirt and soap traces, then applies the chemical to the appropriate areas using a swab applicator. An ointment will then be applied, or for a deep peel, a bandage mask. The entire procedure usually takes between 15 minutes to an hour depending upon the extent of the work done.
Though you'll be mobile right after a full chemical peel, it is recommended that you arrange for a ride home from surgery and for help around the house for a day or two, depending on the type of procedure performed.
Is a chemical peel treatment right for me?
The best candidates for a chemical peel are usually those with fair, thin skin with a tendency to fine wrinkling or facial scarring. A chemical peel for dark skin, or for those with oily complexions, is usually not recommended.
The procedure will not prevent aging, however a chemical peel possibly reduce or even erase fine wrinkles and remove other surface imperfections such as acne scarring. Patients are urged to think carefully about their expectations and discuss them with their surgeon.
Is it safe?
As with all surgery, there is a certain level of risk involved with the procedure. During the peel, patients will feel a light burning sensation that will subside, and experience temporary throbbing. Chemical peels are normally a safe way to treat wrinkles and scars, but while complications are very unusual, your physician will discuss the risks and possible side effects.
Note: None of the above is intended as medical advice.