Chemical Peel – The A to Z of The Treatment

Your first impression on anyone would probably be based on how you look and what you wear and while you could always change your clothes to suit the occasion, doing the same with your skin is not possible. If your skin tone is uneven, you have scars, blemishes and pigmentation or are simply battling acne, there is a solution for you.

A chemical peel is, in the simplest of terms, a method to ‘peel’ off the top layer of your skin. As ghastly as it might sound, the procedure is actually not at all scary or uncomfortable. With the help of approved chemicals, the dead skin cells which are ever present in the top layer of the skin, are removed. The procedure wounds the skin in a superficial manner, but this instigates the natural healing process of the body, and healthy skin takes its place. Studies have shown that chemical peels are a great way to tackle several skin related problems, including the removal of the material that could lead to cancer at a later stage.


What is a chemical peel and what are the types?

A chemical peel is a single chemical or a combination of chemicals that is applied to the skin to corrode the top layer of the skin, revealing fresh skin underneath, which will not only be healthier but also more even. The skin conditions that chemical peel treat include wrinkles, fine lines, acne, acne scars, other types of scars, blemishes, pigmentation and other marks. As a matter of fact, chemical peels are also the easiest way to even out skin tone, that might have been uneven since long. The type of chemical peel suggested for you, will be dependent on your skin type and what is ailing your skin.

Here are some of the most common chemical peels:

  • Phenol – Phenol is used to treat wrinkles and fine lines and can also be used to treat and remove blemishes and pigmentation. In certain cases, it can also remove pre-cancerous materials, which might be present on the skin. However, this peel is meant only for the face and cannot be used on any other parts of the body. Phenol peels also require a lot of time, which means that each session could last several hours, but they will have the most obvious results too.
  • Alpha hydroxy acids – This is perhaps the most commonly used chemical peel and is used to reduce skin dryness and make the skin smoother. This peel can also be used to treat skin that has been affected by extensive exposure to sun or skin that has pigmentation.
  • Trichloroacetic acid – This is the common choice for the removal of wrinkles and fine lines, which appear with age. This peel can also be used to reduce pigmentation and remove blemishes, which might have appeared over time. The trichloroacetic acid peel is the fastest to heal, but the time taken for each session is slightly long.

How does a chemical peel work?

It is important to remember that a chemical peel works superficially and will remove only the dead skin cells that are present on the top layer of the skin. When this happens, the skin underneath, which is normally healthier will get exposed. In most cases, the chemicals will be applied to the skin for a pre-determined period of time and then it will be removed.

If someone were to ask about the advantages of chemical peels, there would be plenty and some of the major ones include:

  • This is the easiest method to give your skin an even tone and remove fine lines, blemishes and pigmentation. As a matter of fact, this method can also be used to remove birth marks.
  • Perhaps the biggest benefit of getting chemical peels is the fact that they are not extremely time consuming, which means that you can plan one session into your normal routine. And with certain peels, you will need only a single session to see the results.
  • The procedure is non-invasive, which means there are no needles or scalpels involved, and this ensures that the recovery time is minimal.
  • What is great about chemical peels is that because it is revealing new and healthy skin, your skin will feel a lot more smooth and supple.

However, when there are advantages to a certain procedure, there are also bound to certain disadvantages and chemical peels are no different. There are a fair few disadvantages to chemical peels and the most prominent ones include:

  • Chemical peels are not the most cost-effective treatments and because they are most cosmetic in nature, insurance will most probably not cover it.
  • Phenol chemical peels are almost never possible for people with darker skin, because post procedure, your skin will become lighter and the difference will be quite obvious. More importantly, once you have undergone a phenol peel, your skin will never tan.
  • For many people, skin burns, and skin peeling will become frequent and they will have to take extreme care of their skin, when they are stepping out in the sun. Chemical peels lead to extreme skin sensitivity and you will have to take immense care of your skin.
  • If you are thinking that a few sessions of chemical peels will take care of all your wrinkles, you are wrong, because these procedures will not work on deep wrinkles.
  • Immediately after the procedure, you will have a certain amount of discomfort, including a stinging sensation, redness and perhaps even some numbness.

A chemical peel is not like a facial, which you can do whenever you like – a chemical peel is a decision that you need to take with care and consideration and you need to make sure that the procedure is done only at a reputed and recognised clinic, and by an experienced and certified professional.

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