All chemical peels remove outer layers of the skin, though how many layers depends on the intensity of the peel. After a healing period, which also varies with the intensity level, skin is left feeling softer and smoother. Superficial issues such as acne or acne scars, fine lines and wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation should be improved, if not completely corrected. And because chemical peels sweep away complexion-dulling dead skin cells, they leave faces with a radiant glow.
If you’re interested, talk to your physician about getting a referral. (If I were to go for it, I’d also do my own research, maybe asking a friend who’d had a positive experience — and whose results I could see — for the name of her doctor.) Then check with your provincial college of physicians for disciplinary issues, the Canadian Medical Protective Association for malpractice issues and RateMDs.com to see what other patients say about specific doctors. Ask for Botox before and after photos, and get a sense of how long the doctor has been administering Botox. (Are are a few other questions to ask your doctor before taking the plunge.)
The cost of chemical peels depends on many factors such as the severity of the wrinkles, the extent of the sun damage, the total number of treatments, the specific area needing treatment, the brand and type of peel, time of peel and deepness. Deeper peels typically cost more as they are more time intensive and the risk management is greater. In Santa Barbara, superficial peels average between $250 -$400 while medium depth TCA peels cost between $600 to $800.
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.
Typically administered as a facial peel, a chemical peel enhances and smoothes the texture of the skin. It is an effective treatment for facial blemishes, wrinkles, and uneven skin pigmentation. They exfoliate the outer layers of dead skin, revealing a new skin layer with improved tone, texture, and color. In addition to full facial rejuvenation, certain types of skin peels can also be used for spot treatments and as a way to remove stretch marks or rejuvenate skin elsewhere on the body.
Dr. Robert L. Shenker and Dr. Stephanie Ma are Royal College-certified specialists at The Cosmetic Surgery Clinic in Kitchener-Waterloo. The team of surgeons serves patients from Guelph, Cambridge, and London, Ontario, specializing in cosmetic and reconstructive breast surgery, surgical and non-surgical facial rejuvenation, and body contouring procedures.
The most salient difference between chemical peels and microdermabrasion is that microdermabrasion is a non-chemical procedure, and attacks imperfections by actually "sanding" flaws from the skin surface. While treatment plans for microdermabrasion and mild chemical peels such as glycolic acid chemical peels are similar, more advanced chemical peels require only one session. However, deep chemical peels such as the phenol peel also require much more recovery time than microdermabrasion and the more mild peels. Also unlike microdermabrasion, deep chemical peels change the actual pigmentation of the skin through bleaching. Because of this, patients with naturally darker complexions may be better candidates for microdermabrasion.
They come in a range of strengths, from deeper phenol-based peels to more superficial peels like glycolic acid. Deeper peels may not be right for everyone, particularly if you have sensitive skin. A few light or medium-depth peels can often achieve similar results to one deeper peel treatment, with less risk and a shorter recovery time. Talk to a qualified provider about your goals to see if a chemical peel would work for your concern and skin.
The benefits and drawbacks of laser skin resurfacing vs. chemical peels are slightly more difficult to ascertain, due to the relatively new nature of the laser resurfacing procedure. However, many doctors claim that the improvement to patients' skin after laser skin resurfacing is essentially equivalent to that seen with chemical peels and microdermabrasion. Lasers do allow doctors to target specific flaws and imperfections with much more precision than chemical peels.