Our face, hands and neck go through many changes over the years from adolescence to adulthood. Some people suffer with varying degrees of acne from mild to more extreme cases that leave facial scars. Our skin can also change with the exposure to sun that can create damage to the skin with age spots and wrinkles. Some people also experience changes to the texture of their skin as they age and the elasticity of the skin decreases and wrinkles tend to appear. One cosmetic option that may be beneficial to restoring the youthfulness of your skin’s appearance and decrease the appearance of scarring from acne is a chemical peel.

What is a Chemical Peel?
A chemical peel is a cosmetic treatment where a solution is applied to your face, neck or hands. The solution has enzymes that assist in exfoliating the top layer of skin so that your body and generate a new layer. Our bodies naturally do this process anyway just at a slower rate. The chemical peel speeds up this process and has been practiced by many cultures for thousands of years. The clinician working with you will apply a topical solution to your skin. The different ones used are glycolic acid, trichloroacetic acid, salicylic acid or alpha hydroxy acid. The session usually runs about 45 minutes to apply the solution. It then varies how long it takes for the exfoliation of the skin to occur. This can happen anywhere between 2 – 5 days.

Who can benefit from Chemical Peels?
There are different types of solutions based upon skin type. A chemical peel is most effective for people who have fair skin tone and lighter hair color. The session tends to be more effective for people who do not smoke. Nicotine tends to change the cellular structure of skin. It is also a good idea to ask questions of your clinician so that you are aware of the realistic expectations of this service. Chemical peels will not take away wrinkles or scars that are in the deeper layers of the skin.

Who should not receive a Chemical Peel?
There are some instances that a chemical peel is not a good idea. If you are pregnant or nursing, it is best to wait for this type of treatment. If you have an infection or active skin disease, it is not recommended. If you have been diagnosed with eczema, this treatment can be too harsh for your skin’s surface. If you have a sun burn, it is better to wait until the burn heals before receiving a chemical peel. If you have an active outbreak of Herpes simplex1 virus, a chemical peel is contraindicated.

Does having a Chemical Peel hurt?
The application of the solution to the skin’s surface sometimes has a tingling or slightly stinging feeling, but it is not painful. After the skin “peels” or exfoliates, there may be some slight reddening and irritation to the skin as the new layer of cells form. With simple chemical peels that only affect the top layer of skin, you are able to go about your normal routine the same day. There are some rare occasions when people experience swelling or infection. When interviewing your clinician make sure to include information about medications you may be taking as some can react with the solution of the chemical peel.

Make sure to do your own research, ask lots of questions and make an appointment when you feel comfortable that this is the best treatment for you and your individual needs.