Chemical Peels

The goal of a chemical peel is to smooth fine lines and wrinkles as well to even out pigment variations. The most common chemicals are trichloroacetic acid (TCA) and phenol. TCA is generally used for full facial treatments or on the thin skin on the lower eyelids, while phenol works very well on the deep wrinkles around the mouth. Both types of chemical peels remove the damaged outer layers of the skin. Both require about a week of downtime, but the results can be quite dramatic; reducing blemishes, wrinkles, and uneven skin pigmentation.

chemical peel

During a chemical peel, a chemical solution is applied to the skin in order to improve and smooth the texture of the facial skin by removing its damaged outer layers. A chemical peel may also remove pre-cancerous skin growths, soften acne facial scars and even control acne.

It is commonly said that if a facelift is likened to fitting the sheets to the bed, chemical peels iron the sheets.

If you are planning to have a TCA or phenol peel you should choose a board certified plastic surgeon. Some of the chemical peels that are offered by estheticians are lower strength and while they may be safe, the peel will not be as effective as a chemical peel performed by a plastic surgeon in an AAAASF accredited facility.

Unfortunately, TCA and phenol peels are frequently offered by inadequately trained practitioners— which can result in devastating outcomes, including, but not limited to, permanent scarring of the face.

It is very important that you find a physician who has extensive training and experience in providing chemical peels. Look for an ASPS board certified plastic surgeon as they receive extensive training and experience in providing chemical peels.

Although light peels may be performed on areas other than the face, only the facial skin is resilient enough to heal from a chemical peel without scarring. This is because the body heals a burn by regenerating new skin that comes from sweat glands and hair follicles. There are higher concentrations of these on the face than there are on the neck or chest, making the face the only place that we routinely treat with chemical peels.
A chemical peel is a burn, so there certainly are risks involved. Most of these can be avoided by consulting a physician who is well trained in chemical peels and ensuring proper care following the procedure. Having chemical peel procedures does not increase your risk for developing skin cancer. In fact, precancerous lesions may be removed during the course of the procedure.
The application of the chemical on the skin can be painful. The use of regional blocks of the face as well as sedation makes it a very comfortable procedure. There is generally very little discomfort following the procedure as long as the skin is kept moist. Phenol peels may create pain for a few days and so narcotic pain killers are often prescribed.
Dr. Houser provides 20 % and 35% (moderate depth) trichloroacetic acid (TCA) peels as well as phenol peels which are sometimes referred to as croton oil peels.
Common side effects include delayed healing (beyond 10 days), activation of cold sores, scarring, and hyper or hypopigmentation.