What is a chemical peel?
A chemical peel is a process of applying a chemical solution to your skin to address your concerns and to improve the appearance of your skin. During the process, a chemical solution is applied to your skin, which creates localized, controlled damage to the skin. The treated skin may eventually peel off leaving an improved complexion. We typically consider chemical peels to be in-office treatments due to the strength and expertise needed to optimize the treatment. Mild peeling agents such as glycolic acid, lactic acid and salicylic acid can be found in products that can be used more regularly as part of an at-home routine to maximize the effectiveness of your in-office treatment.
What conditions respond to chemical peels?
Chemical can be used in many parts of the body, and the face, neck and hands are treated most frequently. Peels can target:
At CLARA, we recommend a consultation so that we can accurately evaluate your skin and make the appropriate treatment recommendations based on your skin and preferences. During the 20 minute visit, we will review your full health and skin history and make a personalized treatment plan to optimize your outcomes.
What is the treatment like?
Your skin will be thoroughly cleansed while your eyes and hair are protected. Next, a degreasing solution is applied to your skin to removes excess oils and allow even penetration of the peeling solution. A customized chemical cocktail is then applied to your skin. The peel may contain glycolic acid, trichloroacetic acid, salicylic acid, lactic acid or carbolic acid (phenol). The “strength” of the peel depends on how deep the chemicals penetrate the skin, how many passes are made on the surface of the skin and the concentration of the acid or mixture of acids.
Different chemical solutions provide different results. The choice of chemical depends on your goal. You will work with your dermatologist to determine the depth of your peel.
How should I prepare for a peel at CLARA?
At CLARA, we curate a selection of superficial and medium-depth peels. To prepare for your chemical peel, some general instructions include:
Your doctor will give you specific instructions for your peel type and your unique skin condition.
What is the treatment like?
Acetone is typically used as the degreasing agent during the first step and has a strong odor, but does not create any discomfort. Next, as the peeling solution is applied to your skin, you may feel warmth and/or stinging. This will build depending on the level of the peel and the number of passes that are applied to the skin. Your dermatologist will monitor the level of warmth you are feeling and also the amount of redness and frosting that develops on the skin as the peel is affecting the skin. Cool air and a hand-held fan are used to help during the active phase of the peel. The burning sensation usually peaks and improves within a couple of minutes. Cool compresses are then applied to the skin. The final step depends on the peel and may either be a layer of retinol that is left on the skin for 7 hours or a thin layer of post-procedure ointment. Once the peel is finished you may feel normal or slightly more sensitive in the treated area with a superficial peel or you may feel warm and tight after a medium-depth peel.
What are the possible complications of chemical peels?
Darker skin types and a history of melasma may increase the risk of hyperpigmentation with certain peels. Superficial and medium-depth peels have a low risk of scarring in certain areas of your face and certain individuals may be more prone to scarring. Tell your dermatologist if you have a history of keloids or any unusual scarring tendencies. If scarring does occur, it can usually be treated with good results.
If you’ve had a history of cold sores (herpes outbreaks), your dermatologist may prescribe medication to reduce the chance of a flare and they may also prescribe antibiotics as prophylaxis to infection (which is rare).
What should I expect after the chemical peel?
What to expect varies depending on the depth of your chemical peel.
If you’ve had a light chemical peel:
If you’ve had a medium chemical peel:
A highly effective skincare routine can also maximize results and help maintain them over time. At CLARA, we build this into each of our consultations – Book yours today.
We respect your privacy and your inbox. We’ll never sell your address. Unsubscribe anytime.