This is a photo two days post chemical peel. A monthly chemical peel is a great way to remove superficial dead skin cells, even complexion, brighten skin, and help with fine lines. I love using peels for acne, melasma, and to give your skin the supple glow.
Chemical peels are topically applied formulas that revitalize the skin surface by creating an even and controlled shedding of the skin cells. This allows new layers to be exposed, creating a fresh appearance and smoother texture to the skin surface. A chemical peel can improve sun damage, acne scarring, blotchy pigmentation, fine lines and early pre-cancerous skin lesions. A peel can also improve acne-prone skin and clogged pores.
The level of skin cell removal and depth of penetration is dependent on the type of peel used, its level of strength and the duration of the treatment. Ph level is the best factor to estimate a peel’s power along with how far the peel will penetrate. Chemical peels are often categorized as superficial, medium and deep depending on their percentage of active ingredients and Ph level.
Superficial (Light) peels lightly refreshes the skin, and will leave skin slightly smoother with less blemishes. Superficial peels are the most gentle type of chemical peel. These peels are usually made from alpha hydroxy, or beta hydroxy acids, known as AHAs and BHAs but can also include glycolic acid, lactic acid and salicylic acid. A recent trend in superficial peels is to utilize fruit enzymes from pineapples, cranberries and other acidic fruits. Superficial peels remove the epidermis (top layer of skin) which provides a slight improvement to the skin. This type of peel is great for individuals with very minimal traits of aging, sun damage and acne scaring. However, many people notice significant improvements in their skin after undergoing multiple peels overtime.
Superficial peels are relatively painless, with most patients reporting nothing more than a slight tingling sensation. Also, there is minimal recovery time involved; superficial peels are often referred to as lunchtime peels as many women go back to work after treatment without any noticeable differences. You may be slightly red afterwards but this can be easily disguised with makeup.
Medium depth peels corrects moderate wrinkles, lines and sun damage, leaving skin significantly smoother with even tone, and moderate lines and blemishes removed. Medium peels produce a more dramatic result compared to superficial peels. This type of peel sometimes utilizes trichloroacetic acid (TCA) to penetrate the skin, and remove layers below the epidermis. As such medium peels can treat moderate pigmentation, wrinkles and sun damage. Most patients who undergo medium peels report feeling slight to moderate discomfort, usually in the form of minor burning or stinging. This discomfort typically subsides 30 minutes to an hour after treatment. Medium peels also produce more peeling of the skin and thus the face can become swollen, pink and itchy after treatment. Generally, full recovery takes about one week from treatment. A very popular medium depth peel that we offer is the Vitalize Peel.
Deep peels corrects deep lines and wrinkles along with moderate to severe sun damage and hyperpigmentation. They produce drastically smoother and youthful appearing skin. Deep peels are the strongest type of chemical peel available, and can achieve amazing results for sun damage, scarring and deep lines and wrinkles. Their main ingredient is usually carbolic acid (Phenol) or high strength TCA; both of which penetrate down to the deep layers of the dermis. Due to their power, deep peels can be painful, and full recovery could take months. Deep peels leave the skin very red and swollen in appearance. Typically, the skin becomes itchy as it heals. Eventually, the skin develops scabs and becomes fully healed, leaving a completely revitalized new layer.
Dr. Cindy N. Berthelot, M.D. is a board certified dermatologist treating patients in the greater Houston community, including Clear Lake, League City, Friendswood, Pasadena, Deer Park, Dickinson, Pearland, Alvin, Seabrook, Kemah, Webster, Galveston, Texas City, La Marque, and Santa Fe, Texas. To make an appointment with Dr. Berthelot, please contact us at 281.480.7272.