Patients are urged not to smoke for a few weeks before and after a chemical peel. The best outcomes will be achieved in patients who are not taking the acne medication Accutane®, have not taken it for the previous year and a half, and who are free of active skin infections. Also, if you have large or unusual scar formations, such as keloids, your doctor may recommend a different treatment for you. Patients who have a family history of heart problems are not considered good candidates for the deep chemical peel procedure.
During a medium chemical peel, your doctor will use a gauze, special sponge, or a cotton-tipped applicator to apply the chemical solution to your face. This may contain glycolic acid or trichloroacetic acid. A blue color may be added to the trichloroacetic acid, commonly known as a blue peel. The skin will begin to whiten, and your doctor will apply a cool compress to the skin. You may feel stinging or burning for up to 20 minutes. No neutralizing solution is needed, though they may give you a hand-held fan to cool your skin. If you’ve had the blue peel you will have a blue coloring of your skin that may last for several days after the peel.
Deep chemical peels involve a longer procedure and longer recovery time that lasts up to several months in some cases. Patients who want to correct blotches caused by sun exposure or age, minimize coarse wrinkles, or remove a pre-cancerous growth may benefit from a deep peel. There are certain factors which must be taken into consideration when contemplating a deep chemical peel. Darker-skinned patients and individuals with heart problems are not ideal candidates. Potential chemical peel candidates should be aware that the treatment may take an hour or more, and may require sedation. Anyone who decides on this procedure should be prepared for a long, slow recovery period, and should wear sunscreen whenever exposed to sun.