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Friday, June 19, 2020

Chemical Peels -- What Are They?

In skin care, doctors (and licensed estheticians) use chemical peeling as a procedure to remove sun-damaged, pigmented and wrinkled skin by peeling it with chemicals. As the old skin peels off, new skin appears that is much fresher-looking reaches the surface. But chemical peeling does not work to slow the aging process or prevent it. What is does is to simply remove old damaged skin with a fresh looking new skin, in a process of initiated renewal. After a procedure such as this, it is then up to the patient to take better care of their skin, such as by protecting it from sun damage or other agents of detriment. The process itself does not affect the internal aging of the skin, either, so it cannot be considered a permanent fix by any means. If you expose your new skin to sun again, and/or to other factors which had previously caused damage to your skin, it will once again become damaged much as it was before.

When done over repeated sessions and, very importantly, by a skilled professional in the trade of advanced cosmetic procedures, chemical peeling will remove mild skin wrinkles, sun damaged spots, and pigmentation. On a more basic level, it also will remove or relieve the leathery appearance of the skin. Intensive chemical peeling will help remove some pre-cancerous spots and facial scars. Mild chemical peeling is used to treat acne in some cases, such as when the acne is so severe as to leave scarring behind in its wake. Sometimes chemical peeling is used on stretch marks also.

Can chemical peeling actually cause damage? Well, in rare cases, poorly-executed chemical peeling procedures can result in damage with the possibility of infection and even scarring. You must talk to your doctor about this and any of your other related concerns and apprehensions, rather than merely keeping quiet about them. Understand that no procedure that changes a body in any way is free from risk. AHA formulations are used to give a light peel; TCA is used to give a medium-depth peel and phenol is used to quite deeply peel the skin. You can visualize the process like this: the deeper your skin problem, the deeper peel may be used. So for surface aberrations, a mild peel may be sufficient, and for deeper scars, a deep peel may be required. Your doctor will examine your skin and consult with you about what results you desire, factoring in the time you want to give to such procedures -- and the discomfort level you are ready and able to tolerate. As you may already be expecting, deep peels give more discomfort but produce better results. You will have to discuss these variables with your doctor.

If you decide to try chemical peeling, with whatever objective you have in mind, please remember to have patience, and expect in advance that it will likely take multiple sessions to arrive at the kind of results you want.  It's not magic...it's chemistry, and it has to have sufficient time available in which to do its work. It's definitely not something you want to try to rush.

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