Your cosmetic dermatologist will use a specific formula for your chemical peel based on the characteristics of your skin and your desired result. Light chemical peels are used to treat fine wrinkling, areas of dryness, uneven pigmentation, and acne. The solution used for light chemical peels is usually comprised of alphahydroxy acids (AHAs), such as glycolic, lactic, salicylic, or fruit acids. Light chemical peels are ideal for people who want the benefits of a facial peel but do not wish to spend the time required to recover from a deeper peel.
This 45-year old female patient came to us frustrated with furrows between her brows. As we have with many other patients, we created and recommended a treatment plan that started with Botox injections. As you can see, even holding the same expression as before, the lines have nearly disappeared in these forehead lines before and after pictures. Results this powerful are possible for you, too.
Before the procedure even begins, the professional who’s going to perform the procedure will first apply a chemical solution — usually trichloroacetic acid, glycolic acid, trichloroacetic acid, salicylic acid, lactic acid or carbolic acid (phenol) on small areas of your skin. Doing so can create a controlled wound, allowing the new skin to take its place.
A superficial peel, which will be the mildest peel available is often referred to as a lunchtime peel since it can be done in less than 30 minutes. Using either an alpha-hydroxy acid or another type of mild acid, such as salicylic or maleic acid, this treatment will be lightly applied to the targeted area to exfoliate it. A light peel will often need multiple treatments to see desirable results.
Each peel is slightly different, and the exact formula will depend on the intensity level of the treatment. However, the most common chemicals used in peels are alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), beta hydroxy acids (BHAs), trichloroacetic acid (TCA), and phenol. AHAs and BHAs are the lightest acids, often used in light chemical peels. TCA can be used in many different formulations. Last but not least, phenol is the strongest chemical and only used in deep peels.
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.
“Potential things that could go wrong include skin infections, wound healing problems, seroma formation, hematoma formation, muscle plication suture failure, ‘dog ears’ or extra tissue on either side of the incision along the hips, blood clots, and uneven or unsightly scars,” says plastic and reconstructive surgeon Dr. Megan Jack from Boca Raton, FL.
Additionally, recent studies have found that certain chemical peels can help reverse melasma, a type of hyperpigmentary disorder and “notorious dermatosis” that is often resistant to treatments, including laser treatments. (8) Melasma is a common chronic form of hyperpigmentation of the skin that can have a serious impact on someone’s self-esteem and quality of life.