Commonly Asked Questions about Chemical Peels
What do chemical peels treat?
Chemical peels remove damaged outer layers of skin on the face and chest in an effort to reveal smoother, more even toned skin. As skin ages, the collagen layers begin to thin and the skin tends to lose a tremendous amount of elasticity. This results in crepey, thin and discolored skin. Dr. Garcia has performed thousands of these peels with great success treating the fine lines around the mouth, the eyes, and the dark discolorations.
What types of chemical peels are there?
Ranging from mild to strong, there are three types of chemical peels: alphahydroxy acid (AHA), trichloroacetic acid (TCA) and phenol based peels.
What is a Light Chemical Peel?
An AHA peel is the gentlest of the three types of chemical peels. It contains glycolic, lactic and fruit acids that smooth and brighten skin, and is used to treat fine wrinkles, dryness, uneven pigmentation and acne. An AHA peel is typically applied once a week, or may be mixed in a milder concentration with a cream or cleanser to be used daily. Treatment takes less than 10 minutes.
These treatments are performed by our very qualified Medical Aestheticians whom have been doing these kinds of skin care treatments for years.
What is a Medium Chemical Peel?
A TCA peel is commonly used for medium-depth peeling, although depth is adjustable. It treats fine surface wrinkles, superficial blemishes and pigment problems and, in addition to the face, can be used on the neck and other areas of the body. It is most often used in combination with a substance called Jessner’s solution.
A TCA peel can be used for darker-skinned patients, however Dr. Garcia or one of our Aestheticians will first evaluate the patient’s skin and if necessary will pretreat with skin care that will prevent pigment changes afterwards.
While results may not last as long as the deeper Phenol peels, TCA peels achieve significant skin tightening and tend to heal much quicker.
What is a phenol peel?
A phenol peel, which is the strongest chemical peel, treats deeper skin problems such as coarse facial wrinkles and precancerous growths. It is also excellent for blotchy or damaged skin caused by sun exposure, aging or birth-control pills.
Dr. Garcia has extensive experience with this type of peel and consults with these patients if this peel is right for their skin type.
Where are chemical peels performed?
Chemical peels are usually performed at the Contoura Facial Plastic Surgery by either Dr. Roberto Garcia or one of our 4 qualified Aestheticians. The medium chemical peels can take 30-40 minutes, while the lighter peels can take closer to 1 hour.
Are there risks associated with a chemical peel?
Although rare, all three types of peels carry potential risks that include infection and scarring. In addition to the after effects mentioned above, a TCA peel can produce unintended color changes in the skin.
Is a chemical peel painful?
During a chemical peel, anesthesia is not required because TCA and phenol have anesthetic properties. The lighter peels produce only a slight stinging.
With a TCA or phenol peel, when the solution is first applied, it may cause a brief stinging sensation. Afterwards, a TCA or phenol peel can result in tingling or throbbing, reddened skin, a crust or scab, and significant swelling that may last, depending on the strength of the peel. After an AHA peel, there may be temporary stinging, redness and irritation, as well as flaking or crusting.
Specific instructions will be provided to you on the day of your chemical peel.
Should chemically peeled skin be kept out of sunlight?
A very common misconception is that if a patient receives a chemical peel, they “never” get sun exposure again. The truth is that sun exposure is allowed, just as long as the skin is protected with SPF 35 and above. The skin should be protected from the sun for several months post-peel to reduce the risk of complications and maintain desired results.