The face is a common place where patients undergo cosmetic surgery or minor procedures. A chemical peel is a procedure that uses chemicals to remove the top layer of the skin, reducing the severity of scars, wrinkles and smooth out skin tone. A chemical peel can also help reverse the UV damage from overexposure from the sun. Although chemical peels are normally used on the face, the patient can request the skin procedure on the neck, chest, arms, and legs.
Substances Used in Chemical Peels
There are three types of chemical peel treatments. The treatment chosen depends on the doctor and the goals of the patient. The three options are:
- trichloroacetic acid (TCA)
- alphahydroxy acids (AHAs)
AHAs are mild, fruit extract chemical peel procedures. These are used by doctors to improve minor damage to the skin. AHAs are used for smoothing skin and improving its vivacious look. AHAs use the natural essence of lactic and glycotic acid in fruits to improve the skin’s natural look. Anesthesia is not required when receiving an AHA chemical peel.
TCA chemical peels are slightly stronger and placed in a medium strength skin procedure. The TCA chemical peel does not require anesthetics, because the procedure has its own pain suppressants in the product. The TCA chemical peel is used for patients who want to remove wrinkles, reduce skin tone differences and treat minor acne.
Phenol is the harshest and strongest of the chemical peels. The skin procedure is the harshest, but it is used for the more severe skin conditions and UV damage from the sun. Phenol chemical peel procedures reduce the blotchiness on the face from severe UV damage. It also removes deeper wrinkles and even precancerous growths. Phenol chemical peels can help reduce the coloration of wrinkles and permanently lightens the color of the skin. The downside of the skin procedure is that it can take several months to heal, and patients need to stay out of the sun to avoid damage.
Patient Satisfaction after a Chemical Peel
According to the University of Virginia, a chemical peel can produce satisfactorily results, and remove the wrinkles and sun spots that plague a patient’s face, neck arms, legs and chest. Always research a physicians credentials before agreeing to any plastic surgery procedure, including minor ones such as chemical peels. A licensed physician can help a patient decide which skin procedure is best for the condition. A chemical peel can help a patient feel more confident and secure as long as the skin has time to heal afterwards.