Chemical Peels

SKIN Cosmetic Dermatology offers a variety of peels, and will advise as to which level peel is best for your skin and the issues that you wish to address. As we age, the effects of sun exposure, the environment, acne, and scarring can damage our skin and cause us to look older than we are. This skin damage can be treated with a chemical peel, a non-invasive treatment designed to promote cell growth and produce smoother, clearer skin. Chemical peels use acids rather than a mechanical method to exfoliate and resurface the skin, and there are three main levels –

  • Light peels (70% glycolic acid, 25-35% TCA) injure the upper portion of the epidermis and stimulate the regeneration of a new epidermis. This level of chemical peel may produce a burning sensation during the procedure. Recovery from light peels is quick- hence the name “lunchtime peel”.
  • Medium peels penetrate the skin more deeply than superficial peels and cause a second-degree burn of the skin. Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) is the main peeling agent used for medium peels, though the peel may also be done in several steps using a different chemical solution followed by TCA. Medium depth peels involve injury to the upper level of the dermis. Injury to the dermis stimulates the formation of collagen and “plumps” up the skin. Usually 35% TCA, in combination with another chemical such as glycolic acid, is used safely with minimal discomfort. Burning is the most common complaint during the procedure and this is usually well controlled with cool compresses or topical anesthetics.
  • Deep peels penetrate several layers of skin and cause a second-degree burn of the skin. They are used only on the face. A chemical called phenol is usually used for a deep peel. Deep peels involve injury to the mid dermis and are usually performed using a phenol solution. A deep chemical peel may offer dramatic results such as elimination of deep furrows and scars. However, complications such as scarring, permanent textural changes, darkening and redness of the skin can occur. Furthermore, during a deep peel, anesthesia must be used and vital signs must be monitored throughout the procedure. Recovery from a deep peel requires occlusive bandages and can take up to a month under normal circumstances.