For smoother, brighter skin, it might be time to consider getting a professional chemical peel, a simple process that can remove unwanted years from your face, neck and other parts of the body. Peels are a common skin-care treatment for individuals who want to reduce fine lines or minimize dark spots caused by sun damage or other environmental factors. Chemical peels are also used to help minimize the appearance of certain scars.
Before Your Procedure
Prior to the peel, it’s important to let the professional who is performing it know of any medications that you may be taking. You may be asked to stop making certain medications and to prepare your skin for the treatment by using other skin-care products. You will also want to discuss your goals for the treatment, and let the professional what results you hope to see. This will help him or her determine the best peel for you, and give you a good understanding of actual versus desired results.
What to Expect
Chemical peels, which are performed in a doctor’s office or day spa, are not painful. It’s possible to feel a slight burning sensation when the esthetician applies the chemical formula, which may include glycolic acid, phenol, salicylic acid, to name a few. These chemicals also may be combined, depending on the type and nature of the peel, and the expected results. Occasionally, a cold compress might need to be applied to lessen the sting, but by and large, a peel is not a painful process.
A day or so after the procedure, depending on skin type, the patient’s top layers of skin will begin to slough, or peel off. Typically, the scaling is complete in more than seven days, and often less. However, flakes might appear for some time as older skin continues to scale. The new skin, undamaged by the sun or other harsh weather, is bright and smoother than the layers that were removed.
It is important to protect the fresh skin daily with sun protection and to avoid the sun as much as possible for a few months after a peel. An esthetician also may provide a skin care regimen, including moisturizers and cleansers to keep the new skin healthy. For the most part, you can return to your regular beauty routine just a few days after the peel, but it’s important to follow the advice of the professional who performed it. Medium and deeper peels may require more heeling time than the more popular surface peel, which can typically be repeated every four months.