A clinical peel is a technique used to improve the appearance of the skin on the face, neck or hands. A chemical solution is applied to the skin that causes it to exfoliate and eventually peel off. The new, regenerated skin is usually visibly smoother and less wrinkled. There are three basic categories of clinical peels:
Superficial peel: Alpha-hydroxy acid or another mild acid is used to penetrate only the outer layer of the skin to gently exfoliate it. The treatment is used to improve the appearance of mild skin discolouration and rough skin as well as to refresh the face, neck, cheat or hands.
Medium peel: Glycolic, trichloroacetic or a similar acid is applied to penetrate the out and middle layers of skin to remove damaged skin cells. The treatment is used to improve age spots, fine lines and wrinkles, freckles and moderate skin discolouration. It also can be used to smooth rough skin and treat some precancerous skin growths, i.e. actinic keratosis.
Deep peel: Tricholoracetic, phenol or a similar acid is applied to deeply penetrate the middle layer of skin to remove damaged skin cells. The treatment removes moderate lines, age spots, freckles and shallow scars. Patients will see a dramatic improvement in skin appearance.
When is a clinical peel appropriate?
Clinical peels are used to treat a number of conditions including:
Who is not a candidate for a chemical peel?
A clinical peel is not recommended for individuals with infections, active skin disease, cut or broken skin, sunburns or active Herpes sores.
Other counter-indications include:
Those who are nursing or pregnant.
Have taken Accutane in last six months.
Have psoriasis, eczema, dermatitis or rosacea.
Have used Retin-A, Renova, prescription skin care products, products that contain ascorbic acid, bleaching or skin-lightening agents or other acid-based products in the last 48 hours.
Are clinical peels painful?
Chemicals peels sting but do not cause a great deal of pain. The gentlest peels use alpha-hydroxy, glycolic, lactic or fruit acids are also gentle. They may cause stinging, redness, irritation and crusting but as the skin begins to adjust all these problems will lessen.
Trichloroacetic acids are used for stronger peelings. They remove wrinkles, superficial blemishes and pigment problems. Phenol is the strongest of all treatments and removes deep lines and wrinkles on the face. These types of treatments sting more than those with the gentler acids.