Although millions of chemical peels are performed every year, Dr. Messa uses various peeling agents and is considered an expert in performing all types. Today with the public’s increasing interest in rejuvenating skin and slowing the effects of the aging process, chemical peeling has emerged as a successful anti-aging procedure. Enhanced results of chemical peels are also reached by new laser/light-based rejuvenation techniques.
A thorough evaluation by Dr. Messa is necessary prior to choosing a chemical peel program appropriate for your type of skin.
During chemical peeling, a chemical solution is applied to the skin, causing it to separate, peel off, and allows new skin to regenerate. The new skin is smoother and far less wrinkled than the old skin, and may also be more even in color.
What Can A Chemical Peel Do?
Chemical peeling is primarily used to treat fine lines, especially under the eyes and around the mouth. Wrinkles caused by sun damage, aging, and hereditary factors can be reduced, and in some cases, eliminated, with this procedure. Unfortunately, facial sagging, bulges, and severe wrinkles do not respond to chemical peeling, since it cannot eliminate the gravitational forces which produce the loose skin. This condition may require other cosmetic facial procedures. During your individualized consultation, Dr. Messa will carefully examine your face and recommend the most appropriate type of treatment for you.
Mild scarring and certain types of acne may also be treated with chemical peels. In addition, pigmentation of the skin in the form of sun spots, age spots, liver spots, freckles, blotches, and skin that is dull in texture and color may be improved with a chemical peel.
How Are Chemical Peels Performed?
Chemical peels may be performed on the face, neck, chest, hands, arms, and legs. Superficial, medium, or deep chemical peels may be used to improve damaged skin. As a rule, the deeper the peel, the longer the recovery time. During your individualized consultation, Dr. Messa will recommend the best peel for your skin condition.
Prior to treatment, instructions may include stopping certain medications and preparing the skin with pre-conditioning creams. At the time of treatment, the skin is thoroughly cleansed with a soft cotton applicator that uses an agent that removes excess oils from the skin surface. One or more chemical solutions such as glycolic acid, trichloroacetic acid, salicylic acid or lactic acid are used. Dr. Messa will determine the proper agent based upon the type of skin damage present and desired results. During the chemical peel, most patients experience a warm to hot sensation that may last about five to ten minutes, followed by a stinging sensation. A deeper peel may bring on more discomfort and require medication during or after treatment.
What Should Be Expected After Treatment?
Depending upon the type of peel, there may be a mild to moderate sun burning sensation. Superficial peeling usually involves mild redness. Medium depth and deep peeling can sometimes result in swelling and scaling that lasts three to five days that may crust, turn brown, and peel off over a period of seven days. Some peels may require surgical tape to be placed on part or all of the skin that is treated. It is important to avoid exposure to the sun immediately after a chemical peel since the new skin is fragile and more susceptible to injury. Dr. Messa will prescribe appropriate follow-up care to help the skin heal.
The following are some chemical peels that can be offered:
Light (Alphahydroxy) Peels
Alphahydroxy acids (AHAs), such as glycolic, lactic, or fruit acids are the mildest of the peel formulas and produce light peels. These types of peels can provide smoother, brighter-looking skin for those patients who cannot spare the time to recover from a phenol or TCA peel. Various concentrations of an AHA may be applied weekly or at longer intervals to obtain the best result. An alphahydroxy acid, such as glycolic acid, can also be mixed with a facial wash or cream in lesser concentrations as part of a daily skin care regimen to improve the skin’s texture. Glycolic acid is derived from certain fruits and plants. It works by stimulating new skin growth and collagen and allows dead skin cells to fall off naturally. Salicylic acid, a simple organic fruit compound, is generally used on patients more prone to oily skin. It increases skin cell turnover and is also proven to help treat acne. Mandelic acid is an extract of bitter almonds and is often used for treating uneven skin tones and pigmentation.
Medium (TCA) Peels
Trichloroacetic (TCA) peels can be used in many concentrations, but it is most commonly used for medium depth peeling. Fine surface wrinkles, superficial blemishes, and pigment problems are commonly treated with TCA. The results of TCA peels are usually less dramatic and not as long-lasting as those of a phenol peel. In many cases, more than one TCA peel may be needed to achieve the desired result. The recovery from a TCA peel is usually shorter than with a phenol peel.