Chemical peels provide a deep exfoliation of the skin, removing fine lines, discolorations, and impurities and restoring a more youthful appearance. There are many types of chemical peels available, and you may be unsure of which kind is most appropriate for your skin. To provide some direction, the three main types of peels are discussed below, as well as what to expect from the procedure, typical recovery times, and potential side effects.
A superficial chemical peel works on the outermost layers of skin with the application of a mild acid such as alpha-hydroxy or lactic acid. Depending on the solution, you might feel a light tingling or stinging sensation during treatment, and the entire procedure tends to take less than an hour. There are usually no side effects, though slight skin redness immediately afterward is not uncommon, and you can resume normal activities right away.
A medium peel goes deeper than a superficial one, as it requires a more intense exfoliating solution, such as trichloroacetic acid. Because of the increase in strength, the chemical can target deeper lines and more pronounced discolorations. During the procedure, a prickly sensation is common, and the entire treatment is accomplished in under an hour. While the odds of serious side effects are low, you should expect darkening, cracking, and peeling as the younger-looking skin underneath is exposed. Full recovery takes five to seven days.
Deep chemical peels such as phenol penetrate the skin more powerfully. They can remove moderate wrinkles, freckles, and age spots, as well as rejuvenate and brighten the skin. The patient is often sedated during the procedure, which can take one to two hours. Afterward, there will be significant swelling and a recovery time of seven to 10 days. Again, risks for serious side effects are minimal, but the patient should anticipate some discomfort as swelling gradually dissipates and the new skin emerges.
When deciding on which chemical peel is right for you, consider the degree of rejuvenation you're aiming for, as well as the time available for the procedure and subsequent recovery. The team at Shore Medical Aesthetics and Anti-Aging can help you find the ideal peel for your goals and schedule. Dr. Robert Caiati and his team provide the Suffolk County, NY, area with a range of skin and body care services, including peels, CoolSculpting®, and Botox®. Call (516) 690-7546 to schedule an appointment or visit them online to read more about their chemical peels.