Chemical Peel (cont.)
In this Article
- What conditions does a chemical peel treat?
- Who is a good candidate for a chemical peel?
- How are chemical peels performed?
- Preparing for a chemical peel
- What to expect during the procedure
- What to expect after the chemical peel
- What are the possible complications of chemical peels?
- Find a local Dermatologist in your town
What to Expect During a Chemical Peel
During a chemical peel, most patients experience a burning sensation that lasts about five to ten minutes, followed by a stinging sensation. Cool compresses may be applied to help alleviate this stinging. A deeper peel may require pain medication during or after the procedure.
What To Expect After the Chemical Peel
Depending upon the type of chemical peel, a reaction similar to sunburn occurs following the procedure. Peeling usually involves redness, followed by scaling that ends within three to seven days. Mild peels may be repeated at one to four-week intervals until the desired clinical effect is achieved.
Medium-depth and deep peeling may result in swelling, as well as the presence of water blisters that may break, crust, turn brown, and peel off over a period of seven to 14 days. Medium-depth peels may be repeated in six to twelve months, if necessary.
You will work with your dermatologist to determine the depth of your peel. This joint decision can vary, depending upon the condition of your skin and the objectives of treatment.
After treatment, some peels may require bandages to be placed on part or all of the skin that is treated. Bandages are usually removed in several days and may improve the effectiveness of the treatment.
It is important to avoid exposure to the sun for several months after a chemical peel since the new skin is fragile and more susceptible to complications. Your doctor will prescribe the proper follow-up care to reduce the tendency to develop abnormal skin color after peeling.
What Are the Possible Complications of Chemical Peels?
In certain skin types, there is a risk of developing a temporary or permanent color change in the skin after a chemical peel. Taking birth control pills, subsequent pregnancy, or family history of brownish discoloration on the face may increase the possibility of developing abnormal pigmentation.
Although low, there is a risk of scarring in certain areas of the face, and certain individuals may be more prone to scarring. If scarring does occur, it can usually be treated with good results.
There is a small risk of reactivation of cold sores in patients with a history of herpes outbreaks. This problem is treated with medication as prescribed by the doctor. Your doctor may also choose to give you medication before or immediately after the peel in order to prevent a herpes outbreak.
Prior to treatment, it is important for a patient to inform the physician of any past history of keloids (scar tissue overgrowth created at the site of a skin injury) or unusual scarring tendencies, as well as any history of X-rays treatments to the face or recurring cold sores.
WebMD Medical Reference
Mayo Clinic: "Chemical peel."
American Society for Dermatological Surgery: "Chemical Peels Information."
American Academy of Dermatology: "Chemical Peeling."
Reviewed by Norman Levine, MD on July 11, 2012
Last Editorial Review: 7/11/2012
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