A chemical peel is a technique used to improve the appearance of the skin on the face, neck or hands. A chemical solution is applied to the skin that causes it to exfoliate and eventually peel off. The new, regenerated skin is usually smoother and less wrinkled than the old skin. The new skin is also temporarily more sensitive to the sun. Today, chemical facial peels are popular because they offer nearly immediate results and can be performed as an outpatient procedure.
There are three basic types of chemical peels:
Chemical peels are used to treat a number of conditions including:
When performed by an experienced cosmetic dermatologist or plastic surgeon, chemical facial peels are safe. With light and medium peels, relatively mild chemical peel side effects such as redness, stinging and crusting usually subside within a day or two after the treatment. The side effects of deep chemical peels are typically more pronounced, and recovery time is longer. More serious side effects, such as infection and scarring, are possible, especially with medium and deep chemical peels. However, serious side effects are rare when the procedure is performed by a qualified doctor.
In general, patients only feel a mild stinging sensation during light or medium chemical peels. After the procedure, the physician may prescribe a mild pain reliever to relieve any discomfort.
The recovery time after a chemical peel depends on the type of peel administered because each type of peel affects the skin to a different degree.
1) Superficial chemical peels: These mild peels require virtually no recovery time. Though the skin may be mildly irritated after the peel, patients can return to their daily activities immediately after treatment.
2) Medium chemical peels: The new layer of skin appears three to seven days after treatment. About two weeks after treatment, the skin will be fully healed.
3) Deep chemical peels: The new layer of skin begins to appear seven to ten days after treatment, though complete healing can take two months or longer. Patients typically take a week off from work after undergoing a deep chemical peel.
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