A chemical peel is a procedure that improves the appearance of the face. A chemical solution is applied to the face and old, damaged layers of skin are peeled off.
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, there were 1,250,059 chemical peel procedures performed in the United States in 2014.
What Can Chemical Peels Do?
Patients may choose to have a chemical peel if they want to treat conditions like:
- Fine lines and wrinkles
- Acne and acne scars
- Uneven pigmentation on face
- Sun damage
- Age spots
- Aging or sagging skin
- Rough skin patches
Chemical peels are often used to improve the texture and pigmentation of the skin and to help unclog pores in acne-prone skin.
Chemical peels are most effective on light, fair skin.
There are three types of chemical peels. Each type uses a different chemical solution depending on the desired result.
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the average cost of a chemical peel was $632 in 2014.
Chemical Peel Procedures
Chemical peels can target specific spots on the face, like crow's feet, or may be used on the entire face. Light and medium chemical peels do not require the use of numbing creams or anesthesia. A solution will be applied to the skin, for a specific length of time. Some peels require the chemical to be neutralized after a certain amount of time on the face.
Patients should talk to their medical professionals to decide which treatment is right for them.
Light chemical peels will only remove portions of the epidermis. A medical professional will use some combination of hydroxy acids and alphahyroxy acids like glycolic acid, lactic acid, or fruit acid. After the procedure patients will be able to wear makeup and return to daily activities, and may experience only mild redness, skin flaking, and skin irritation.
Light chemical peels can be performed weekly to achieve desired results. They are often used for fine wrinkles, brown spots, and for generally refreshing the facial skin.
Medium chemical peels will remove cells from both the outer epidermis layer and par of the middle dermis skin layer. A medical professional will use trichloroacetic acid for the treatment. Once the chemical is applied to the skin, the treated area may turn whitish grey and the chemical will be neutralized with saline.
Medium chemical peels are effective for treating deeper wrinkles, inconsistent skin pigmentation, and acne blemishes. After the treatment, patients may need to recover for a few days to a week. It may take up to six weeks for the skin to look normal.
Medium chemical peels can be performed every few months to maintain desired results.
Deep chemical peels will remove cells from the lower dermis. A medical professional will use phenol, or carbolic acid, to complete the treatment. Phenol can have a bleaching effect on the skin and is not recommended for darker skin patients. Phenol cannot be used on the neck unlike other chemical peels. Patients will be given a sedative to relax along with a local anesthetic to numb the face.
After the treatment your medical professional will apply a thick ointment to the face to prevent pain and dryness. Deep chemical peels are effective for treating deep wrinkle lines, sun damaged skin, and precancerous skin cells. The recovery period after this treatment is about two weeks.
The effects of a deep chemical peel can last up to 10 years.
Risks of Chemical Peels
- Changes in skin color—chemical peels can cause bleaching or darkening of the skin
- Allergic reaction
- Changes in sensation of skin
- Eruption of cold sore (herpes)
- Heart, kidney, or liver damage—deep chemical peels use phenol which can cause irregular beating in the heart and can harm the kidneys and liver
- Abnormal healing
- Unsatisfactory results
Medical professionals should discuss all material risks with patients before the procedure.
Medical professionals should not recommend chemical peels for patients who have:
- Dark skin
- Facial warts
- Keloids on the face (overgrown scar tissue)
- Abnormal skin pigmentation
- Cold sores
Patients on certain medications will also be warned against chemical peels.
Medical Malpractice and Chemical Peels
If you or a loved one suffered due to negligent treatment during a chemical peel, it is important to consult with a medical malpractice lawyer who is experienced in cosmetic procedure cases. The attorneys at Gilman & Bedigian have the resources to help with difficult cosmetic procedure cases.
Call (800) 529-6162 today to schedule a consultation and begin discussing your case with an attorney.