Chemical Peel Treatment
Do you want your skin to start with a clean slate?
If only you could peel away skin that shows signs of ageing…
Just when you thought it wasn’t possible, along came Chemical Peels, to help give your skin a fresh start.
Chemical Peeling is a treatment that uses medical-grade chemicals to even out the skin tone and improve its texture. It is widely known for causing dead skin cells on the surface to slough off. The regenerated skin will usually come out looking radiant and less wrinkled than how it was previously.
Furthermore, it can also improve the effects of sun damage and even reduces the size of large pores. Even though it is most often used on the face, it is also suitable for the skin on the back, neck, and hands.
Each treatment usually takes about 10 minutes to complete, but this can vary depending on each case. Patients will feel a mild itch and warmth while the peel is being applied. Once the treatment is complete, these sensations typically go away. Over the next few days, patients will notice more skin peeling whenever treated areas are washed, after which, gradual improvements will start taking place.
Sun exposure, an unhealthy lifestyle and external pollutants can wreak havoc in our bodies, and this is eventually reflected on our skin. These factors can leave you with an uneven skin tone, wrinkles, and even stubborn scars.
Getting a chemical peel can help you combat these signs of aging (Rendon et.al. 2010). A chemical peel, also called chemexfoliation or derma peeling, is exactly what its name suggests. This treatment exfoliates & peels off the skin using chemicals. It is used to treat a number of skin conditions, like acne, acne scars, unwanted pigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles. It can also improve rough, scaly and sun-damaged skin.
The type of chemical solution used will depend on your existing skin condition and problems. Solutions are categorized as Light or Superficial Peels, Medium Peels and Deep Peels.
Using the appropriate chemical solution, sun-damaged skin cells are peeled off, leaving fresh skin that will make you look more youthful. The peel also helps stimulate the production of new collagen, which eventually improves skin texture.
This procedure helps in improving skin tone and texture. It can also help reduce the appearance of fine lines, decrease hyperpigmentation, and clear up acne. Furthermore, it helps unclog pores and improve superficial scarring. Chemical peels contribute to increased skin cell turnover and stimulate collagen production to revitalize skin.
However, it should be noted that a this may not result in a dramatic improvement of deep wrinkles and sagging skin.
Recovery and downtime for chemical peels depend on the solution used for the treatment. For superficial peels, there is minimal downtime, allowing you to resume your normal daily activities after the treatment. However, there may be a slight discomfort after the procedure, and redness may occur for a couple of days.
The effect of a medium peel is similar to a second-degree burn. The skin may take 5-7 days to heal before redness can be covered up with makeup. There may also be some swelling, especially when treatment is done around the eyes. The skin will turn reddish-brown 2-3 days after treatment and eventually becomes flaky or crusty as the superficial layers prepare to peel off.
For deeper peels, which can result in a deep second-degree burn, it takes about 3 weeks to about 2 months for the skin to heal completely. It is suggested that you take a leave from work or go on holiday for about 2 weeks after the treatment. Swelling may also be experienced, which can be relieved by corticosteroids. To reduce pain after the peel, oral pain relievers will be prescribed. Antibiotic or antiviral medications are also given to prevent infection.
For all types of peels, aftercare is important and a medicated cream may be recommended to be used 2-3 weeks after the treatment.
Chemical peels can even provide dramatic results when paired with a skin tightening treatment like Thermage CPT to address pigmentation issues. It can also be complemented with Dermal Fillers to treat deep wrinkles.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
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READ OUR FAQ’S ON CHEMICAL PEEL TREATMENT AT DR TYNG TAN AESTHETICS AND HAIR CLINIC.
1. HOW DOES A CHEMICAL PEEL WORK?
TYPES OF CHEMICAL PEELS
Treatments will depend on your needs and your skin condition. Generally, chemical peels are divided into three categories, and use different techniques to treat skin problems and bring out a new layer. Chemical peels can be categorized into Superficial or Light Peels, Medium Peels and Deep Peels.
SUPERFICIAL OR LIGHT PEELS
This type of peel is ideal for those who have light pigmentation, dryness, acne and fine wrinkling, as it removes the epidermis or the outer layer of the skin, to reveal healthier skin. For this type of treatment, your doctor will use a combination of mild chemicals, like alphahydroxy acid (AHA), glycolic acid, lactic acid, salicylic acid and maleic acid.
Medium depth chemical peels are indicated in the management of fine lines and wrinkles associated with photoageing, as well as pigmentary disorders and superficial atrophic scars. A chemical called tricholoroacetic acid is usually used for this type of treatment. Results reveal a smooth skin texture that is evenly pigmented as acne scars and other pigmentation issues are corrected.
This type of peel uses a stronger chemical called phenol to penetrate the deeper layers of the skin, targeting deeper lines and sun-damaged skin, and even to remove precancerous skin growth. Since it uses a stronger solution, local anaesthetic or sedative is administered before the treatment begins to avert any uncomfortable sensations. After the chemical solution is washed off, a layer of petroleum jelly will be applied to the treated area.
2. HOW DO I PREPARE FOR A CHEMICAL PEEL TREATMENT?
You will also be advised to follow a skin care regimen, which involves cleansing your skin twice a day and applying a special moisturizer or cream. You may also be prescribed a medicated cream if you have acne to help it heal faster, and hydroquinone for those who have tanned skin and melasma.
3. DOES THE TREATMENT HURT?
For superficial and medium peels, a cooling fan or cool compress is used to relieve stinging and burning sensations. There may be cases where pain relievers are given for medium peels, while anaesthetics are a must for deep peels.
4. DO I HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT RECOVERY AND DOWNTIME?
However, you may notice some redness, stinging, skin crusting and peeling days after the treatment. This should not cause any worry, as this will be gone after a few days. Makeup can be applied hours after the treatment to cover up redness, although it is highly recommended to keep your face makeup-free until the redness and swelling have subsided.
For deep peels, you may need to take a week off from work to recover from intense inflammation and swelling that may be experienced after the treatment. Some facial flushing may also be evident.
5. HOW MANY TREATMENTS ARE NEEDED?
6. HOW SOON WILL I SEE THE RESULTS?
Marta I. Rendon, Diane D Berson et al., ‘Evidence and Considerations in the Application of Chemical Peels in Skin Disorders and Aesthetic Resurfacing’, Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, (2010), pp.32-43. [PubMed]
Handog, E. B., Datuin, M. S. L., & Singzon, I. A. (2012). Chemical Peels for Acne and Acne Scars in Asians: Evidence Based Review. Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery, 5(4), 239–246. [PubMed]
Reviewed by Dr. Tyng Tan, on May 6, 2020
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Dr Tyng Tan
Dr. Tan Tyng Yuan, MBBS completed her graduate and medical education in the United Kingdom over a span of 10 years.