Medical Management

Chemical peel

Chemical peeling is a way of rejuvenating facial skin by applying a chemical that essentially destroys the top layers of the skin. When the skin heals, it does so by reforming collagen that is thicker, better vascularized, and more youthful. It is most effective in treating sun- damaged skin. It effectively eliminates or reduces age spots and skin discoloration. It also helps to reduce fine wrinkles as well as improving skin texture. Chemical peeling is very effective in recapturing the healthy, glowing texture seen in youthful skin..

The most common chemical used for peeling is trichloroacetic acid or TCA. TCA is the most common chemical used for peeling because it combines safety with effectiveness better than other agents. There are other chemicals such as the phenol and fruit acids, but they do not have the same combination of effectiveness and safety as TCA. They are, however, useful for certain skin problems.

Chemical peeling is particularly useful within the armamentarium of rejuvenation because it is very effective, does not need general anesthesia, and is relatively low cost. Effectively, a chemical peel causes a controlled burn. The skin heals with collagen that is more abundant and youthful. Obviously, you need to make sure that whoever is performing this procedure has the proper credentials and is well trained, because too deep of a burn can result in serious scarring. The doctor can predict the depth of the burn so that it goes down to a certain depth within the skin but no further.

The procedure

Normally, the entire face is peeled at once. This includes the eyelids, forehead, and areas of the neck. The procedure is performed in the outpatient suite under local anesthesia. Some plastic surgeons and dermatologists perform peels with no anesthesia at all. After the peel, the skin of your face becomes leathery and appears burned until the skin peels off uncovering the new skin below. This takes about 7 to 10 days.

After the procedure

After your skin has peeled, your face is pink for 1 to 2 months depending on the depth of the peel. It is important that you stay out of the sun for at least 6 months. Exposure to sun may cause hyper-pigmentation and/or irritation of the face.

Chemical peeling is extremely useful both in facial rejuvenation and as part of an anti-aging protocol that can be repeated every 4 years after the age of 30.

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