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Chemical peels

Cleopatra was a patron, so were the princesses of ancient yore. Surprised?

Often patients ask me, it is a chemical peel, is it safe? Read on and discover the truths, myths and potential benefits and pit falls about Chemical peels.

  • What is a chemical peel?

A chemical peel is a simple procedure to rejuvenate and treat many common skin conditions. In this treatment, a chemical agent of known concentration is applied to the skin to be treated for a fixed duration. This causes a controlled exfoliation of the outermost layers of the skin, which in turn stimulates new skin production. The new skin is smoother, brighter and less wrinkled than the older skin. (histopath pic of peel)

Most chemical agents used in peels have been originally discovered in fruits, they are called hydroxy acids. For example, the commonly used glycolic peel finds its origin in Sugarcane juice, Lactic acid from milk or sour curd (hence Cleopatra’s milk bath was actually a chemical peel treatment!). Scientists have isolated and perfected the correct concentrations of the peeling agent in these, and we now benefit from the same.

  • Who can benefit from a chemical peel?

Chemical peels can be used to treat acne and acne induced scarring and pigmentation. They can also address tanning and sun induced damage to the skin. Chemical peels can be used to rejuvenate fine lines and dark circles around the eyes and mouth. Skin that is dull in texture can be brought back to its normal texture with peeling treatments.

Chemical peels can be performed to treat skin over the face, the delicate areas around the eyes, neck, back, arms and the hands. In fact, any part of the skin can be treated with chemical peels.(before after pics)

  • Who should avoid chemical peels?

Chemical peels are best avoided by people with extremely dry skin, or with active eczema or infection over the treatment area. Very rarely, people may be allergic to the agent used in the chemical peel itself. Such people should avoid peels. Some peels are contraindicated in pregnancy and lactation. Do check with your dermatologist if the treatment is safe for you.

  • How is a chemical peel performed?

A chemical peel is a simple procedure that can be performed as an out patient procedure in the dermatologists office. You may be instructed to avoid using strong creams (like retinoid creams) one to two days before the peel.

On the day of the chemical peel, usually a consultation with the dermatologist is scheduled. After consultation with the dermatologist in order to ascertain your skin type, and the correct concentration and chemical peeling agent to be used, a informed consent is taken. Pre procedure photographs are taken. The skin is cleansed with a soap free cleanser. Then, the peeling agent is applied to the skin by the dermatologist. The peeling agent is left on for a predetermined time (usually 5-10 mins) and neutralised thereafter. During the procedure, most patients experience a mild warmth or mild stinging sensation. A post peel balm and sunscreen are then applied. (video of a peel)

  • What are the different kinds of chemical peels?

Chemical peels are divided as superficial, medium and deep. Superficial and medium depth peels are usually used commonly in India, as our skin tends to do well with these.

Newer peels have combinations of two or more agents, which tend to enhance the action of the others, giving results from even the first session. Designer peels tending to single problem areas are now being designed for the discerning patient. (link to other peels)

  • What should you expect after a chemical peel?

Most patients experience a minimal redness and dryness after the peel which last from a couple of hours to about a day. If a stronger peeling agent has been used, you may experience persistent dryness and exfoliation of the skin which lasts upto five days. Rarely, brown scabs may form, which usually resolve with moisturisation. (peeling after a mid level peel)

Most chemical peels need to be repeated at fortnightly or monthly intervals to give their best results. The result of a single peel may be disappointing, however, even a single peel allows the home care to penetrate the skin better, allowing better results over all. (before after pics)

  • What is the aftercare post a chemical peel?

Do use a good moisturiser to promote healing of the treated skin. Use a broad band sunscreen regularly to prevent any hyperpigmentation or dyspigmentation of the treated skin. Restart treatment creams that have been prescribed after the exfoliation has been completed. Your dermatologist may also recommend vitamin creams or specific blending creams to enhance the results of the peels.

  • Do chemical peels make your skin more sensitive?

Chemical peels work by stimulating the formation of new skin. The new skin is usually of a smoother texture and appearance than the exfoliated skin. However, in order to preserve the results of the treatments, it becomes necessary to invest in good and regular skin care in the form of a ph Balanced face wash, moisturisers, and most importantly sun screen as a part of the routine care. It is advisable to avoid sun exposure immediately following the chemical peel, as it can repigment the new skin.

  • Do chemical peels thin out your skin?

Chemical peels work by exfoliating the dead layers of skin, this process in turn actually stimulates new skin formation. Not only is the new skin more cosmetically better in appearance, with repeated treatments, chemical peels also stimulate the reorganisation of the dermis (the supporting structure of the skin) with the appearance of new collagen, making the skin actually thicker.

  • Can chemical peels be combined with other procedures?

Yes, chemical peels are often combined with other procedures such as Microdermabrasion, Fractional laser resurfacing, Neurotoxins and fillers to offer cost effective and customised treatments to address needs of the individual patients.

To know more about chemical peels, consult Dr. Rasya Dixit today.


Chemical Peel Treatment in Bangalore

There is a vanity that exists in all of us, gender notwithstanding, that makes us want to look good, no matter what our age. And with the skin being the physical window to our looks, it is also the first organ to be exposed to the vagaries of life, such as the sun, pollution, acne, scars, natural ageing process, etc.

So when we want to remove the marks and blemishes of skin conditions or ageing, one of the first things that we think of is a chemical peel. This procedure is usually done on the face, neck or arms. However, chemical peeling isn’t meant for everyone and should always be done by an experienced dermatologist – after all, why take risks and add more marks to your skin?

This process improves the skins appearance by application of a mild acid mixture which makes the skin to ‘blister’ and eventually peel off. Once the damaged top layer is removed, a healthier new layer of skin emerges which is smoother and less wrinkled than the previous one. Chemical peeling has been in use since ancient Egyptian times when Queen Cleopatra was known to use sour milk (lactic acid) and wine (tartaric acid) to rejuvenate her skin. The process can be used to improve mild scars and acne, reduce spots, freckles, dark patches and fine wrinkles around eyes and mouth or remove the effects of sun damage and ageing. It’s also useful for precancerous skin growths.

Chemical peels use different kinds of solutions including alpha hydroxyl acids (AHA), trichloroacetic acid (TCA) or phenol and come in different strengths. For a superficial peel, glycolic acid would do, but for a deeper peel, phenol is more suitable. Sometimes it’s better to go for several light-medium peels instead of a deep peel as it’s less risky and has shorter recovery time of 3-5 days after each sitting.

Chemical peeling is an outpatient procedure; the skin is first thoroughly cleansed, after which a chemical solution like glycolic acid, salicylic acid, lactic acid or trichloroacetic acid or is applied onto the skin. These solutions are sufficient for a light or medium peel. For deep peels, carbolic acid (phenol) is preferred and a full face treatment may take up to two hours. After allowing the solution to work on the skin, it’s neutralized with water and covered with a protective jelly. You are advised to avoid the sun or use a wide-brimmed hat and sunscreens with SPF over 30.

People living in Indian cities are not only exposed to the tropical sun, but also to pollutants, stress and rich foods that make the skin to break out. Regular skin treatments are essential for such people to maintain the fresh look. If you happen to be living in Bangalore, a visit to Dr. Dixit Cosmetic Dermatology Clinic might just be what your skin needs. The proprietor, Dr. Rasya Dixit is an outstanding skin care expert who strongly believes in listening to her patients needs and never over-prescribes treatments. With over ten years of experience under her belt and aware of all the latest technologies, you couldn’t find a better doctor to take care of your skin!

Didn't find what you were looking for? Ask Dr Dixit your question and get answers within a day.

The information provided in Dr. Dixit's answer is for educational purposes only and is not intended to constitute medical advice. The information provided should not be relied upon as a substitute for consultations with a qualified health professional who may be familiar with your individual medical needs.

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