Chemical peel, chemexfoliation, is a procedure in which a chemical solution is used to improve the appearance of skin.
Chemical peel will be performed on the face, neck, chest, arms, hands, and legs.
Chemical peeling helps in reducing and eliminating the fine lines around the eyes and mouth. It also helps in correcting uneven pigmentation of the skin.
One or more chemical peels will be applied on the skin to destruct the superficial layers of the skin, which will allow the formation of new skin lining.
You can opt chemical peeling only with some medical indications, which include chronic skin exposure (sun damage), superficial acne scars, pigmentation disorders, and pimples with blackheads and whiteheads.
There are different types of chemical peeling, which include Glycolic Acid Peel (AHA peel), Trichloroacetic Acid Peel (TCA peel), and Jessner’s peel.
Glycolic acid, often called as fruit acids, is a group of substances, which occur naturally. It usually destroys the “glue” that has dead cells on the surface of the skin and allows the dead cells to slough out leaving the smooth skin surface.
When glycolic acid is applied on the skin, it destroys the upper surface of the skin (epidermis) displaying the undamaged lower layer of the skin. Generally, this procedure is used for mild skin scars.
Trichloroacetic acid peel and Jessner’s peel are more toxic when compared to Glycolic acid peel. When these are applied on the skin, they cause destruction to the deep layers of the skin causing the new underlying skin layer to recur.
Generally, this procedure is used for deep scars, uneven skin pigmentation, skin growths, etc.
When chemical peel agent is applied on your skin, you feel burning sensation for sometime. With AHA chemical peel, you may find brief pinkish discoloration, which returns to normal quickly. For TCA chemical peel, your skin will turn brown, flake, dry, and peel for few days.
Chemical peel can be done as an outpatient and you can return to work after the procedure if you have AHA chemical peel. To have good results, you will require two to four peels at an interval of two to four weeks.
Having complications is always common with any type of procedure. For AHA chemical peel procedure, if not treated correctly, crusted scabs will start to appear and may become infected leading to scars.
Scars, skin infections, areas of increased or decreased pigmentation, allergic reactions to medications, itchy and painful rashes are some of the common complications with this procedure.
Following the guidelines given by your doctor after the procedure gives you better results. They include not applying skin medication, using moisturizing cream, washing face with gentle cleanser, and avoiding sun exposure.
If the skin does not get normal within three to four days after having chemical peel, if blisters appear, or if you develop persistent pain after peeling, contact your doctor.