WHAT IS A CHEMICAL PEEL?
A chemical peel is the application of a chemical solution to the skin, designed to correct a variety of problems including sun damage, mild scarring, remove fine wrinkles and improve irregular hyperpigmentation.
The purpose of a facial chemical peel is to cause the even, controlled shedding of several layers of damaged cells so you are left with a new, fresh layer of skin with a more even texture and colour.
The chemical peel is an outpatient procedure which may be performed in the office or Day Care facility. The procedure can be tolerated without the need for any pain medication but more commonly, oral, intramuscular or intravenous analgesia and sedation may be recommended.
Initially the skin is cleaned with a liquid soap and then further prepared with alcohol or acetone to removal all oils and greases from the skin. Makeup should not be worn on the day of a chemical peel.
The peel itself consists of the application of one or several layers of peel solution to the skin. There is normally a few minutes of stinging and burning after the solutions are applied but this usually stops within five to ten minutes in a given area and there is no more discomfort during the rest of the time you are peeling, although in many cases there is some itching during the healing process.
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT AFTER CHEMICAL PEEL?
Once the procedure has been performed the skin is lightly coated with ointment, you are allowed to recover from any sedation that may have been given and then discharged. Over the next few days your skin turns darker, will feel somewhat tight and then peels away to leave a new fresh layer of skin. There are no scabs or bleeding; no bandages are used. During this time you should have no pain. Most patients do look strange during a chemical peel process. The average peel takes six to seven days to complete. Deeper peels for heavier sun damaged skin may take eight to ten days to settle. Aftercare instructions will be supplied to you on another information sheet.
Inform your Doctor if you have ever had cold sores (herpes simplex), have used intravenous drugs or have had contact with AIDS.
Inform your Doctor of any illness or allergy you have and any medications you take. Use any creams Doctor may have asked you to use prior to surgery.
You need to have someone to accompany you home after a chemical peel and it is advisable not to travel by public transport.
IS A SINGLE CHEMICAL PEEL ADEQUATE?
Most patients are pleased with the result from a single chemical peel. However, most patients will do best with more than one peel and there are some skin problems, e.g. pigmentation from pregnancy or the contraceptive pill which may require many peels for maximum improvement. Everyone's skin is different, therefore each person's peel programme is tailored to their individual needs.
CAN CHEMICAL PEEL BE COMBINED WITH OTHER PROCEDURES?
Chemical peel may be combined with other procedures. Laser Resurfacing may be performed to treat more heavily wrinkled areas or for pitted scarring. Filling agents, e.g. Collagen injection may be required to touch up wrinkles and scars.
HOW LONG WILL I NEED OFF WORK AFTER FULL FACE CHEMICAL PEEL?
Usually after chemical peel patients require one week to heal and are better off arranging to have two weeks off work. At this time the face will be somewhat red as though sunburnt but otherwise should appear unaffected. This redness can be camouflaged by makeup. Obviously, male patients may require a longer time off work to avoid the need to use camouflaging makeup.
ARE THERE ANY COMPLICATIONS?
As with all procedures complications may occur after chemical peel. The most common would be alteration in skin colour. Patients with dark, olive skin are prone to an increase in skin colour. Doctor may prescribe a cream to use both before and after chemical peel to try and minimise this complication. A mild decrease in skin colour may be noted after deeper facial peeling and there may be a slight demarcation between the peeled and unpeeled skin. The peel is usually ceased underneath the jawline to minimise such an effect.
Mild scarring can occur rarely but is usually responsive to the use of creams and injections. Other sequelae of chemical peel may occur but are amenable to treatment and most are of relatively short duration. These include infection, reactivation of cold sores, persistent redness and a more reactive skin for up to six months or so. Occasionally, due to the use of ointment in the post-peel period, mild acne-like pimples can be noted.
WHAT CHEMICAL PEELS CANNOT DO
Chemical peels cannot improve lax skin; such change requires a surgical procedure, e.g. a facelift.
Chemical peels cannot improve deep scarring. Laser Resurfacing and other procedures are more effective.
Chemical peeling cannot always totally remove hyperpigmentation in dark skinned Caucasians and Orientals and may not be indicated.
Chemical peeling cannot remove broken vessels on the face.
SUPERFICIAL CHEMICAL PEEL INFORMATION FOR PATIENTS
WHAT IS A CHEMICAL PEEL?
A chemical peel is the application of a chemical solution to the skin, designed to correct a variety of problems including sun damage, mild scarring, acne, remove fine wrinkles and improve irregular hyperpigmentation.
The purpose of superficial chemical peeling is to cause the even, controlled shedding of the upper layers of damaged and disorganised cells so you are left with a new, fresh layer of skin with more even texture and colour. The skin on any part of the body can be peeled.
Superficial peels are performed in our rooms at Aesthetix by our Registered Nurse. The procedure can be tolerated without the need for pain medication or sedation.
Initially the skin is cleansed twice and then further prepared with alcohol to remove all oils, products and suncreen from the skin.
The peel itself consists of the application of one to three layers of peel solution to the skin. There is normally a few minutes of stinging and burning after the solutions are applied but this usually stops within five to ten minutes. There is no further discomfort during the remainder of the time that you are peeling.
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT AFTER A CHEMICAL PEEL?
Once the procedure has been performed, a bland moisturiser and sunscreen will be applied. Over the next few days your skin will be sensitive and may have some areas of darker skin. Your skin may feel tight and then it will peel to leave a fresh layer of skin. In some cases the peeling will be on a microscopic level and may only be noticeable as tiny balls of loose skin. There will be no scabs or bleeding and there will be no dressings required. During this time you should have no pain. Patients will be able to go about their normal activities and will be able to cover the vast majority of the skin with mineral makeup. The average peel takes about a week to complete. After care instructions will be supplied to you after the procedure.
BEFORE THE PROCEDURE
Inform the Registered Nurse if you have ever had cold sores. Also you should provide information regarding any medications you take, any current illness and any allergies you may have. You will need to provide information regarding your usual skin care regime.
IS A SINGLE CHEMICAL PEEL ADEQUATE?
Everyone's skin is different and each individual will have a programme especially tailored to address their concerns. A series of chemical peels will be required for most skin concerns; these will be spaced at certain intervals to provide the best outcome for each patient. Often the programme designed may include the use of other modalities such as microdermabrasion, intense pulsed light or skin needling.
WILL I NEED TO HAVE TIME OFF WORK?
Patients will need to be aware that the peeling skin may be visible. It is not necessary to take time off work, however, if you work in the sun you will need to avoid sun-exposure for two weeks. The majority of redness associated with peeling can be covered with make-up.
ARE THERE ANY COMPLICATIONS?
As with all procedures complications may occur after superficial peeling. The most common would be an alteration in skin colour. However, superficial chemical peeling rarely disburbs the deeper layer of skin responsible for permanent darkening and the likelihood of hyperpigmentation can be greatly reduced by using a broad-spectrum sunscreen and avoiding sun exposure. People with dark or olive skin will not be suitable for some peel types; however, there are alternatives that can be discussed with Dr Hills or our Registered Nurse.
Other sequelae of superficial peeling may occur but are amenable to treatment and are of a relatively short duration. These include reactiviation of cold sores and infection. The risk of infection increases if you were to pick the peeling skin or do not care for the skin as directed. In rare circumstances, the infected areas may cause a mild scar, however, this is usually responsive to the use of creams or injections.
WHAT SUPERFICIAL CHEMICAL PEELING CANNOT DO
Chemical peels cannot improve lax skin; surgical options are more appropriate e.g. a facelift.
Superficial peels cannot improve deep scarring. With a series of peels the appearance of minor scars will be improved. Deeper scars are more responsive to laser resurfacing, skin needling and some other procedures.
Superficial peels will not remove deep dermal hyperpigmentation; although a series of peels combined with other treatments can greatly reduce the darkened apearance. It is important to note that in darker skinned individuals and Orientals the peel process will be less aggressive and results will therefore be limited.
Chemical peeling cannot remove broken vessels on the face or body.