Chemical Peel for Improving Facial Skin.
Chemical peel refers to the technique of improving the appearance of the facial skin by means of special chemical solutions. These solutions gradually remove the outermost layer of the skin, which is affected by wear and tear, and/or infection, and shows undesirable blemishes, wrinkles, or ugly pigmentation. The older skin, peeled off by the solutions, is replaced by naturally growing, younger, and smoother skin. Chemical peel is therefore a kind of cosmetic treatment for facial skin.
Chemical peels are usually named after the solution used in peeling of the skin. Some better-known types of chemical peel include Alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) peels, Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) peels, Beta hydroxy acid (BHA) peels, Phenol peels, and Jessner's peel. AHA peels, Phenol peels, and TCA peels are more commonly used for improving the texture of facial skin.
Chemical peels can be performed in the cosmetic surgeon's office. The patient is generally not required to take anesthesia, though sedation may be given before or during the peeling procedure in order to soothe the tingling sensation caused by application of the chemical solution. In case of Phenol and TCA peels, the peeling solution itself acts as a local anesthetic.
Before applying the peeling solution, the patient's skin is treated with a preparatory agent that facilitates skin peeling. Commonly used preparatory agents, in most cases, include Retin A, Hydroquinone, and AHA cream. A combination of these might be used, depending on the type of skin and the ensuing facial treatment. The pretreatment phase of chemical peeling usually lasts about a month.
The patient's face is thoroughly cleansed before applying the peeling solution. The application of the solution takes about 10 to 15 minutes. AHA solution is mild chemical and therefore AHA peels are usually performed for treatment of fine wrinkles, light pigmentation of skin, and mild cases of acne. TCA and Phenol are stronger solutions and the peels using them are performed with greater care to the patient's skin. The first application of these solutions gives a stinging sensation on the skin. However, this discomfort disappears quickly.
Phenol peels are chemically the strongest and hence require great care. These are used to treat deep wrinkles and even precancerous growths. A Phenol peel for the complete face usually takes one to two hours. The surgeon may apply petroleum jelly or a waterproof adhesive tape to the treated area, in case of a deeper peel. In lighter treatment, it is not necessary. In rare cases, the surgeon may choose to give general anesthesia to the patient before applying phenol solution to his/her skin. Phenol peel gives lasting effects, in some cases, up to twenty years.
Light, superficial chemical peels are mostly free from risk, causing only minor irritation or tingling in some cases. Deeper chemical peels, however, include a few risks like scarring, redness, and discoloration of the treated area and/or infection. Lighter peels also have no recovery time; the patient does not have to wait for healing of his skin. They are also comparatively inexpensive than deeper peels whose recovery time ranges from several weeks to months. Deeper peels usually cost more than superficial chemical treatment of the skin.