Are you aiming for smoother, less wrinkled skin but are afraid of needles and invasive surgical procedures? Do you have any of the following: acne scars, scaly skin, freckles, abnormal skin pigmentation, or sun-damaged skin? Well then, chemical peeling is a great option for you! A chemical peel, also known as chemexfoliation, is a non-invasive procedure performed by a plastic surgeon which aims to improve the appearance and smoothness of the skin. Chemical peeling can also reduce fine lines under the eyes and around the mouth, improve the appearance of mild scars, treat pimples, reduce age spots, and minimize dark patches due to pregnancy or intake of birth control pills.
The procedure involves, first, applying a chemical solution on the desired area, usually on the face and the neck. Most common chemicals used are phenol, trichloroacetic acid, and alphahydroxy acids. Each one has a different purpose and each patient might require a specific type of chemical, depending on a lot of factors such as skin sensitivity, age, and type of chemical peel to be performed. Some patients might experience a burning sensation during the procedure, followed by a stinging sensation but both only last for a short while. After applying the chemical, there will be a sort of peeling effect on the area treated as well, which will then slough off later on. The resulting regenerated skin will be smoother and less wrinkled than the old skin.
After the procedure, a reaction similar to sunburn would most likely occur and the skin will temporarily be more sensitive to the sun. Ask your plastic surgeon what type of sunscreen or sunblock that can be used every day to protect your skin. Sometimes there will also be redness over the area treated, followed by scaling but these usually last less than three to seven days. It is rare, but some peels may also result to swelling and blisters, which may then require application of bandages. The swelling should disappear in about two weeks but your skin may be red up to three months. Chemical peeling is a very safe procedure when performed by a qualified and experienced plastic surgeon, because of this you should screen for your plastic surgeon carefully.
It is important to know, however, that patients with saggy skin, bulges, and more severe wrinkles are not advised to undergo the procedure as these conditions do not respond well to chemical peels. These patients may need other kinds of cosmetic surgical procedures to address these issues. Also, there are not-so-good candidates for the procedure, these are the criteria: a history of skin scarring, abnormal pigmentation, Afro-Caribbean or Asian skin, facial warts, red hair and pale freckled skin, and history of recent use of acne treatments.
You should remember that, before signing up for the procedure, you should also ask the following questions to your plastic surgeon: Are you certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery? What will be expected of me to get the best results? What are the risks and possible complications associated with my procedure? As I have mentioned, chemical peeling is a safe procedure with minor adverse effects, but this does not mean that you shouldn’t be mindful of what you’re about to undergo.