Skin Resurfacing With Chemical Peels
Skin Resurfacing Techniques
How is a chemical peel performed?
What are the different types of chemical peels?
AlphaHydroxy Acids (AHAs): Glycolic Acid is the most superficial peel, up to 30%. Sometimes just a single treatment with an AHA peel will give your skin a fresher, healthier appearance and radiant glow. Repeated treatments can help to further improve the texture of your skin. AHA peels can reduce the effects of aging and sun damage including fine wrinkling and brown spots. Your surgeon will recommend a maintenance program using AHA products that you apply at home on a regular basis.
An AHA peel is performed in your plastic surgeon's office. No anesthesia or sedation is needed, and you will only feel a tingling or mild stinging sensation when the solution is applied to your face. Immediately after the procedure, you generally will be able to wear makeup, and you can drive yourself home or back to work.
A trichloracetic acid (TCA) peel is often used for the treatment of wrinkles, pigmentary changes and skin blemishes. Many patients can benefit from having TCA applied not only on the face but also on the neck and other parts of the body that have been exposed to the sun. For spot peeling of limited areas such as around the mouth or eyes, TCA formulas are often preferred because they have less bleaching effect than solutions containing phenol, another popular peeling agent. For the same reason, some surgeons have found TCA to be effective in treating darker-skinned patients. Milder TCA peels can be repeated frequently in order to achieve cumulative effects, or TCA can be used to achieve a medium or even a deep peel, depending on the acid concentration and manner of application.
BetaHydroxy Acids (BHAs): Salicylic Acid, the most popular BHA, works mainly as an exfoliant. It causes cells of the epidermis to become "unglued," allowing the dead skin cells to slough off, making room for new skin growth. Salicylic Acid is reported to improve wrinkling, roughness and mottled pigmentation of photo damaged skin.
Phenol peels: These peels are sometimes recommended for treating particularly rough and sun-damaged facial skin. Phenol is effective in reducing the appearance of wrinkles ranging from fine lines to deeper creases. It can correct pigmentary problems including blotchiness or age-related brown spots and may be used in the treatment of precancerous skin conditions.
Certain variations in the phenol peel formula, creating a "buffered" or milder solution, may allow for greater flexibility in its use.
How is dermabrasion performed?
Dermabrasion, like the deeper chemical peels, is very effective in reducing the appearance of vertical wrinkles around the mouth that often cause lipstick "bleed". It can be used on a small area of skin and on patients with somewhat darker complexions. The treated area usually will blend with the surrounding skin so that there is little if any noticeable difference in the pigmentation.
How is laser resurfacing performed?
Like the other resurfacing methods, the laser is effective in treating wrinkles, blotchiness or age spots, and scars from acne or other causes. It can be used on the entire face or specific areas. Patients with a variety complexions, including some darker-skinned individuals, may be treated with the laser. Certain other characteristics of your skin, such as its thickness and texture, may influence whether you are a good candidate for laser resurfacing. Some patients may benefit from the laser's mild "tightening" effect on the skin, particularly in the lower eyelid area where the skin often becomes somewhat loose as a result of aging.