Many patients are interested in improving the appearance of their face, whether that means their overall complexion or specific concerns like wrinkles or acne scars. The face is probably the most highly visible part of a person and, as such, its maintenance is a common concern. Chemical peels are a tool that can be used to treat all of those problems and more.
Chemical peels work by removing a layer of skin, allowing smoother, softer skin to be revealed through the healing process. The treatment generally takes under an hour for the application of the chemical solution to the face and involves minimal discomfort. After treatment, the skin is generally red, which fades as the skin heals. There are several types of chemical peels, varying in depth of treatment and what conditions they work best to resolve.
Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) peels are relatively mild, with minimal discomfort and healing time. Glycolic acid is the most common AHA used. AHA peels are best for treating fine lines and rough skin texture.
Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA) peels are slightly deeper than AHA peels, but are still considered a mild peel. Most commonly, salicylic acid is used. Salicylic acid is a common ingredient in acne treatments and similarly salicylic acid peels are often used to treat acne prone skin.
Jessner’s peels are a solution of acids, including salicylic acid, lactic acid, and resorcinol. These peels are often used in situations where the skin hasn’t responded to an AHA peel, but a mild peel is still desired.
For a medium depth peel, Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) peels are generally used. TCA peels are effective for wrinkles, acne scarring, and sun damaged skin. While anesthesia is generally not used for a TCA peel, patients may need some pain treatment after the procedure as a stinging sensation may occur. These peels take slightly longer to heal, but offer more dramatic results.
Phenol peels offer the greatest depth of treatment. They can treat deeper wrinkles, blotchy skin, and even precancerous lesions. There are some risks associated with phenol peels, including permanent skin lightening. Anesthesia is generally required as the chemical solution contains an anesthetic. The procedure will take slightly longer (1-2 hours) and healing time will be more significant than a milder peel.
If you are interested in discussing whether a chemical peel is right for you, contact Dr. Kulak of the Naderi Center for a consultation today at (703) 481-0002 in Virginia or (301) 222-2020 in Maryland.