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.
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.
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)
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.
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)
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)
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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.