Patient Information Leaflet on Chemical Peels
What is a chemical peel?
Chemical peels are acidic substances usually derived from fruits or milk. They are applied to the skin to remove the old and damaged top layers of the skin leaving a healthy, fresh, youthful appearance with a more even colour and surface. They may also stimulate new collagen formation which improves the skin’s texture.
Are all chemical peels the same?
No. Chemical peels can be superficial, medium or deep. The type of chemical as well as the strength (%) and pH of it will determine the depth of the peel.
What are the benefits of a chemical peel?
- Reduces uneven skin colour, lightening dark spots
- Smoothes rough texture and softens the skin
- Treats and controls acne
- Reduces the appearance of ‘open pores’ and acne scars
- Gradually helps reduce fine lines and wrinkles
- Removes damaged layers of sun-damaged skin
- Reduces ingrown hairs
- Smoothes razor bumps
Are chemical peels safe for all skin colours?
Superficial peels have been used safely for many years on all skin types. Scientific studies have proven the benefits on all skin colours.
Are chemical peels only used on the face?
No. Chemical peels are not restricted to the face and can be done on the neck, back, chest, hands, arms, shoulders and legs.
How do I prepare for a chemical peel?
Firstly, you have a consultation to assess suitability and advise you on expectations. Pre-treatment creams may be prescribed or recommended to use at nights for a few weeks before the peel to enhance results and prevent uneven pigmentation. A broad spectrum sunscreen (ideally SPF >30) should be used in the day.
What special precautions should I take before a chemical peel?
Avoid shaving, waxing, bleaching hairs, hair removal creams and laser hair removal for at least three days before the procedure.
Do not scrub, or irritate the skin in the few days before a peel.
The skin should not have any active infections.
Medications like Roaccutane® increase the skin’s sensitivity and should not be used within six months of a chemical peel. Do not have facial fillers or Botox® in the two weeks before the peel.
What can I expect during the procedure?
Superficial peels are a minor procedure, often called a “lunchtime” procedure. The duration of the procedure is about 30 minutes. The skin is firstly cleansed to remove surface oil. A small amount of the chemical is then applied with a cotton or gauze swab for a few minutes. Some stinging, burning or itching may be experienced. This is normal and necessary to achieve an effective treatment. A fan can be helpful to improve comfort. You will be asked to describe sensations to help monitor the process. The skin may then be neutralized a special solution. The burning sensation subsides. Appropriate skin care products are then applied to protect your skin.
What happens after the procedure?
Superficial peels may cause mild redness, puffiness or slight swelling, mild tingling or stinging (relieved by cold water) and mild flaking. These usually resolve within 48 hours.
- Use cold water compresses to keep the area cool as needed. Avoid hot water and heavy exercise in the first 24 to 48 hours.
- Moisturize the skin and protect it from the sun. Apply sun block every four hours if you are outside a lot.
- Avoid picking or scrubbing the skin as this slows the healing and can cause scarring.
- Use skin care products as advised by the dermatologist. Avoid perfumed products.
What are the possible side effects of chemical peels?
Side effects are not common with superficial peels. They are usually temporary and/or treatable:
- Excessive swelling
- Blistering, crusting or heavy scaling
- Darkening or lightening of the skin, infection or acne pimples
- Scarring (can be permanent)
How soon can I see the benefits of the peel?
Some improvement in your skin’s condition can usually be observed from a few days after. A series of treatments several weeks apart is usually recommended to obtain the desired result. Most people experience significant improvement after four to six chemical peels. This varies with the individual and the condition being treated.
||After two Chemical Peels