A chemical peel is a procedure during which a chemical such as trichloroacetic acid is applied to your skin. The chemical is left on your skin for a certain amount of time before it is removed. The chemical peel causes sloughing or peeling off, of the top layers of your skin. This results in the growth of newer, and less damaged skin. There are different types of chemical peels and this may be based on the depth of the peel or the type of chemical used. Chemical peels should be done by qualified physicians or dermatologists.
Alphahydroxy Acid or AHA Peels
Glycolic acid and lactic acid are examples of alphahydroxy acids. They are weak or mild acids that are used to perform superficial chemical peels. Superficial chemical peels are also called “lunchtime peels” because they require little time to perform and you can go back to work or your normal activities right after they are done. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, alphahydroxy acid peels may be used in the treatment of fine wrinkles, dry areas on the skin, acne and uneven skin pigmentation or color. The end result of a superficial alphahydroxy acid peel is brighter-looking and smoother skin. To get the best results from this procedure, you may need several peels over a certain time interval as determined by your dermatologist.
Trichlorocetic Acid or TCA Peels
Medium-depth chemical peels can be done with trichloroacetic acid alone or in combination with other chemicals like Jessner’s solution and glycolic acid. It penetrates deeper layers of the skin and needs a longer recovery time, unlike the superficial chemical peels done with alphahydroxy acids. You may need to prepare your skin for a trichloroacetic acid peel by applying creams prescribed by your dermatologist. Trichloroacetic acid peels penetrate the outer layer and inner layers of your skin. They are used to treat fine wrinkles, blemishes and skin discoloration. After a medium-depth chemical peel, you will need to stay out of the sun or protect your skin from the sun while it heals.
Deep peels penetrate deep into your skin and are used to treat deep wrinkles, discolored skin due to sunlight and aging and pre-cancerous growths. Phenol is a strong chemical solution that is used to perform deep-chemical peels. This procedure is done only once and requires no special preparation. It is recommended for fair-skinned individuals because it causes permanent loss of the skin’ss ability to produce pigments. In other words, after a phenol peel, you will not be able to tan. A phenol peel may heal within weeks or months. Your skin must be protected from the sun at all times after a phenol peel.