Frequently Asked Questions About Chemical Peels
Chemical peels involve the use of an exfoliating chemical mixture that removes damaged or older layers of skin. The chemical mixture often includes one of three chemicals: alpha hydroxyl acid, trichloroacetic acid or phenol.
Doctors use one of three strengths to achieve the desired results. Mild peels, also called superficial peels, are safe for all skin types. Medium strength peels usually include trichloroacetic acid and create second degree burns on the skin. Deep phenol peels are commonly not used on people with darker skin because they can end up bleaching the skin. The chemical peel is applied to the face in layers and left on the skin for the appropriate amount of time. After the peel is removed, the skin is cleansed and an antibacterial cream is applied.
Prior to your appointment with the plastic surgeon, you will wash your face, apply sunscreen, and apply moisturizer at least once a day. This helps to ensure that the chemical peel works evenly on all areas of your skin. The doctor goes over the daily routine with you beforehand.
Risks during a chemical peel are rare. Deep chemical peels have more risks than a mild peel. The risks include allergic reaction to the ingredients, crusting of the skin, increased risk of sunburn, infection, organ failure, redness, scarring, skin discoloration, and swelling.
Following a chemical peel, your skin may feel tight. You may look like you’ve had a bad sunburn. Try to avoid making facial expressions for a few days to prevent tearing or bleeding. Continue following the skincare regimen given to you by your plastic surgeon. Do not go out in the sun for a few days or peel off the loose skin. Let the skin fall off naturally or scarring may occur.
The results depend on the level of chemical peel performed. Mild peels remove the superficial layers of skin, so minor changes are seen. Medium peels reduce fine lines and damage from the sun. Deep peels tighten the skin and eliminate deep wrinkles.
The cost of a chemical peel depends on your location and the type of chemical peel. In 2012, the average price per the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery came in at $398. Mild peels tend to cost $150 to $300; medium peels cost $1,000 to $2,000; and deep peels range between $2,500 and $6,500.