Your skin will be thoroughly cleansed prior to your treatment area to remove any makeup, oil, or dirt. The technician may prime the skin with a prep solution or exfoliation to allow for deeper penetration of the peel. An occlusive cream or gel is carefully applied around the sensitive corners of the nose and lips and to protect the mucus membranes of the eyes and nostrils. The chemical peel solution is applied quickly all over the face and/or neck and décolleté, and may be applied in more than one layer. The depth of the chemical peel varies depending on results desired. During the peel, your skin will tingle, feel prickly, and turn hot (don’t worry, there will usually be a fan running to help cool your skin and ease the burning sensation). How long the peel solution is left on your skin depends on the strength of the peel, most are either neutralized or self-neutralize in less than 10 minutes. The solution is removed and a broad-spectrum SPF is gently and generously applied before being sent home. Be sure you understand the post-peel protocol and precautions before you leave.
Moderate to heavy flaking and peeling may be seen with some redness for the first few hours after treatment. Peeling usually lasts for 3-6 days depending on the number of layers applied and the individual skin type. Again, it is very important to follow the advice of your aesthetician or doctor regarding how to care for your healing skin. Scarring is possible if you do not adhere to your post-peel instructions.
What conditions do they treat?
Superficial pigmentation including freckles, liver spots, & seborrheic keratosis are typically treated with mild chemical peels. More severe photo damage, meaning the alterations in the skin have reached the epidermis and the dermis, need to be treated with medium depth chemical peels. More potent peels have the ability to evenly penetrate resilient skin and guarantee dramatic results for the treatment of deep wrinkles, photodamage, and the hyperpigmentation and scaring associated with acne.
- Hyperpigmentation (Melasma, freckles, liver spots, seborrhic keratosis, etc.)
- Uneven skin tone
- Deep wrinkles and fine lines
- Loss of elasticity
Will it hurt?
There are a few factors that can alter the sensation of your peel: the strength of the peel, the number of layers, and how the skin was prepped beforehand. There is a prickly, burning sensation where the peel is applied that lasts for approximately 5-10 minutes. Medium depth peels, such as TCA, do not hurt to the point of anesthetics, but they are more uncomfortable than milder peels. If the acid burns to the point where you can't stand it anymore, the peel should be neutralized immediately.
How many treatments will I need?
Most peels can be reapplied at two to three week intervals, but treatment plans are individualized based on the strength of peel and the skin condition it is designed to treat. Results are seen after one peel, however, stubborn hyperpigmentation and scarring often require more than one treatment for the desired results. Your provider will customize a treatment regimen for your unique skin care needs.
Next Week: Don’t Neglect your Neck: Treatments for the Neck & Décolleté, Part 4; Intense Pulsed Light