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- Chemical Peels
What is a chemical peel?
Chemical peels are, according to Dr. Mosser, one of the most sought after facial treatments in San Francisco today. These treatments can dramatically improve the appearance of the patient’s skin, and it involves the use of a specific chemical reagent that is applied directly onto the outermost layer of the skin to initiate peeling and promote skin cell renewal for a younger and smoother complexion. The peeling induced by the chemical solution effectively strips off old, wrinkled, and blemished skin to reveal the new and rejuvenated layers of underneath.
What are the advantages of getting a chemical peel?
Chemical peels can be used to treat areas of the body that are most prone to showing signs of aging. This includes the face, the neck, and hands. When used in these areas, the chemical peel can significantly reduce the appearance of fine lines on the patient’s forehead and also around the eyes and mouth. It can also be effective in managing sun damage across the skin such as dryness, sunspots, or pigmentation brought about by excessive exposure to the sun. Additionally, if the patient has minor scarring due to blemishes or acne, a chemical peel treatment will be able to help gradually soften their appearance so that they are significantly less noticeable. It is also a good idea to use a chemical peel to manage the appearance of patches of pigmentation across the skin, which may sometimes be associated to birth-control medication or pregnancy.
Am I a good candidate for a chemical peel?
In general, patients with lighter skin are considered to be better candidates for receiving chemical peel treatments. If the patient is concerned about superficial blemishes and other imperfections on the surface of the skin, a chemical peel will be an effective tool to address these conditions. However, depending upon the extent of the damage, deeper chemical peels may also be used to help resolve certain other serious skin conditions.
Darker skinned patients may also be able to experience the benefits of a chemical peel. Dr. Mosser will help you maintain proper and realistic expectations. The results may vary and depend largely upon the type of skin problem that needs to be addressed in their particular situation. In these cases, a thorough consultation with the doctor is highly recommended to be able to determine the efficacy of the treatment for each patient.
What are the different types of chemical peels and how are they administered?
The type and depth of a chemical peel is determined by how deeply the chemical solution is intended to penetrate the skin, as well as on the strength of the solution that is being used for the procedure, the number of applications of this reagent onto the skin, and the length of time that is allowed to exert its action. There are three basic types of chemical peels:
A superficial chemical peel is the mildest and least abrasive type of treatment that can be used safely on all skin types. This procedure makes use of a diluted acid that is applied directly onto the surface of the skin after it has been cleaned thoroughly. The chemical solution will be left on the surface of the skin for several minutes, after which it will be neutralized with water alcohol, and then wiped off. During the treatment, patients may experience a slight burning sensation as the acid exerts its action. Most of the time, patients are asked to use a handheld fan directed onto the treatment areas to help reduce their discomfort during this step.
Medium chemical peels are able to exert a deeper penetrating action on the skin and often exerts a controlled damage similar to a second-degree burn that is meant to resolve deep blemishes that go beyond the external surface of the skin. The solution used for this type of peeling treatment is TCA or trichloroacetic acid. Similar to a superficial chemical peel, the acid will be applied directly onto the surface of the skin, but it will be left on for a longer amount of time. And because this can potentially cause the patient discomfort, doctors usually administer it oral sedatives and pain medication during the procedure. Additionally, a cold compress or a fan maybe used to cool the areas being treated. A medium chemical keel can last for about 40 minutes, but the patient can be assured that there will be very minimal to no pain at all after the procedure is finished.
A deep chemical peel is the most abrasive type of procedure, and is usually restricted for use on a patient’s face. To facilitate peeling, phenol is applied onto the skin and will penetrate several layers underneath. The use of phenol in this procedure makes it inadvisable for use for darker skinned patients, as this chemical tends to bleach the skin. Deep chemical peels are more complex and require a longer amount of time to complete. Patients usually receive local or general anesthesia for this procedure, after which the phenol is applied and allowed to penetrate. The treatment usually address is one area of the face at a time. Once the required depth of the peel has been achieved, a medicated ointment will be applied onto the treated areas as adjunct to the treatment.