Chemical peels are one of the most popular outpatient cosmetic procedures in the United States. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgery, approximately 1.4 million chemical peels were performed in 2018. At Afzal Clinic Med Spa, we offer chemical peels tailored to your needs.
Contrary to popular belief, the term “chemical peel” does not refer to one specific treatment. It encompasses an array of chemicals that vary in concentration and application.
What Is a Chemical Peel?
Chemical peels exfoliate the outer layer of your skin to reveal a fresher, brighter complexion. This rejuvenating treatment stimulates brand new epidermal growth while triggering the production of collagen.
The chemical solution is absorbed into the epidermis and accelerates the natural process of cell generation. The solution also creates tiny tears in the skin, stimulating the growth of more collagen.
Most commonly, chemical peels are applied to the face. However, these skin retexturing treatments can be used on the chest, neck, and hands.
Benefits of a Chemical Peel
One of the reasons that chemical peels are so popular is because they are a low tech, non-invasive outpatient procedure with a fast recovery time.
Chemical peels can reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation, fine lines, and wrinkles. Acne and acne scarring can also be treated.
Types Of Chemical Peels
There are three types of chemical peels. The specific solution chosen for you will depend on your skin type and aesthetic goals.
Superficial peels are sometimes called “lunchtime peels.” A mild acid, like alpha-hydroxy acid, is used to gently exfoliate the skin. These types of peels offer patients smoother, brighter-looking skin, and they can be completed in as little as 30 minutes.
Medium peels penetrate the outer and middle layers of skin using trichloroacetic acid or glycolic acid and may require sedation during the procedure. Medium peels treat fine lines, soften wrinkles, and improve the look of age spots and other pigmentation issues.
Deep chemical peels use strong acids to produce dramatic results. A potent chemical—for example, trichloroacetic acid or phenol—is applied and deeply penetrates the middle layer of the skin. Because of the intensity of this treatment, it can only be performed once, and it also requires sedation.
Deep peels are often used to treat severe age lines, remove freckles, and reduce the appearance of scars.
What You Need to Know Before Your Peel
It is crucial to have an open and honest consultation before undergoing a chemical peel. Be sure to discuss the following topics:
- If you suffer from recurring cold sores, your doctor should prescribe medication to reduce the
chance of a flare-up
- If you take Accutane or other acne treatments
- The complete list of all medications and supplements you currently take
- If you have a history of keloids or unusual scarring
- Your complete skin history, including any family history of skin cancer, chronic conditions like
eczema, rosacea, or psoriasis, and known sensitivity to over-the-counter products
- Your pain tolerance and the potential need for a prescription painkiller post-treatment
Your doctor may also recommend certain steps to follow to prepare your skin at home beforehand. Some common recommendations include:
- Applying a retinoid cream to prevent dark spots from forming
- Using a weak glycolic acid lotion to improve outcomes
- Avoiding waxing, bleaching, shaving, scrubbing, and exfoliating
Rest and Recovery
After superficial and medium peels, many patients will experience a stinging or burning sensation that lasts for five to 15 minutes. The skin may be red, dry, and slightly irritated or swollen. You can treat these symptoms with a cold compress, a soothing ointment such as petroleum jelly, and over-the-counter painkillers. Typically, the skin takes one week to heal after a mild peel and two weeks for a medium peel. The treated area may be temporarily discolored or blotchy during the recovery period.
Recovery after a deep chemical peel will last significantly longer. Dr. Afzal will apply a waterproof dressing to the treated skin and likely prescribe painkillers for your comfort. Your skin will be swollen and sore for several days after the treatment. New skin will start to form in about two weeks but may be red for a few months after your peel.
To schedule a consultation, contact us online or by phone at 612-789-8346. We have offices in Plymouth, Fridley, and Edina, MN, for your convenience.