How do chemical peels improve your skin? Chemical peels can be done on your face, neck and hands. A peel can:
- Reduce fine lines under and around your eyes and the mouth
- Reduce wrinkles caused by sun damage and aging
- Improve the appearance of mild scarring
- Treat some types of acne
- Lessen age spots, freckles, and dark patches (melasma) due to pregnancy or from taking birth control pills
- Improve the texture and appearance of skin
How Chemical Peels Are Done
You can get a chemical peel in a medical spa, doctor’s office or surgery centre. It’s an outpatient procedure, lasting just a few minutes and there’s no downtime afterwards
The professional who does your peel will first clean your skin thoroughly before applying one or more chemical solutions – such as glycolic acid, trichloroacetic acid, salicylic acid, lactic acid, or carbolic acid (phenol) - to small areas of your skin.
During a chemical peel, most people feel a burning sensation that may last from five to 10 minutes, followed by a sensation of stinging. Applying cool compresses on your skin can ease the stinging.
After a chemical peel
Sun damaged areas may improve after undergoing a chemical peel. After a peel, skin is temporarily more sensitive to the sun, so a broad-spectrum sunscreen should be worn each day, protecting the skin from UVA and UVB rays.
Who Is a Good Candidate For a Chemical Peel?
Typically, fair-skinned and light-haired individuals are the best candidates. For those with darker skin, the results may also be good, depending on the skin concern being treated. The risk is being left with an uneven skin tone after the procedure.
Sagging skin and deep wrinkles do not respond well to a chemical peel treatment. Other cosmetic procedures may be more beneficial – laser resurfacing or soft tissue fillers may be more appropriate.
Before You Get a Chemical Peel
If you have any history of scarring, cold sores that keep coming back or facial X-rays, you need to inform the person doing the peel. Before you get a chemical peel, your doctor or aesthetician may ask you to stop taking certain drugs and to prepare your skin by using other medications before the treatment, such as Retin-A, Renova, or glycolic acid. The doctor may also prescribe antibiotics or antiviral drugs.
Depending on your skin and the skin concern being treated, the depth of your peel will vary.