Aging, acne, and sun damage can take a serious toll on your skin, causing it to appear rough, uneven, and discolored.
A chemical peel exfoliates the topmost layer of skin to improve the appearance of the neck, face, and hands.
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A Chemical Peel Can Restore a Smooth, Supple Texture
For the right candidates, a chemical peel can address a number of skin-related concerns including acne scars and hyperpigmentation. It can also reduce the appearance of crow’s feet and wrinkles around the nose and mouth.
There are three depths of peels, and the right one for you will depend on the condition of your skin. A light peel can treat mild concerns like shallow scars, while a medium or deep peel can virtually eliminate larger spots and fine lines.
Patients who choose other non-invasive treatments may have to undergo multiple sessions to achieve their desired outcome. One medium to deep peel, on the other hand, is often enough to produce dramatic results.
Over 100,000 Patients Benefited from Chemical Peels in 2017
Are Chemical Peels Safe?
Understanding the Chemical Peel Process
Before undergoing a chemical peel, you should stop taking certain medications and refrain from applying topical creams and gels such as Retin-A, Renova, and glycolic acid. Your doctor may also prescribe pain medication or antibiotics to prevent infection.
The first step involves cleaning your skin thoroughly with a gentle cleanser. If you are receiving a deep peel, the doctor may also apply a local anesthetic. Once your skin is prepared, the doctor can apply a chemical solution, such as glycolic acid, salicylic acid, or lactic acid, to the skin. It is common to feel a burning or stinging sensation during this process.
Over the next three to 14 days, your skin will begin to peel and slough off. You may also experience swelling and blisters. It is important to minimize sun exposure for several months following a chemical peel, as your skin will be especially sensitive.
Noticeable Skin Improvement
After your chemical peel and subsequent downtime, you can expect to see a noticeable improvement in the appearance of your skin. However, the extent of your results will depend on the type of chemical peel you receive. You should see an improvement in the tone and texture of your skin with your first treatment. If you undergo a deep chemical peel, you should experience a more drastic improvement. Patients who receive superficial peels typically require several treatment sessions to achieve their desired results.
Understanding the 3 Depths of Peels
Follow Your Doctor's Instructions
If you are unsure whether any medications, habits, or activities will impact your recovery, you should contact your doctor for clarification. There are several critical instructions that can help minimize your risk of complications, including:
- Avoid exposure to UV light one week before and two weeks after
- Do not undergo waxing or use hair removal creams for two weeks before and after treatment
- Do not pick or rub the skin while it is healing
- Make sure your skin remains moisturized as you peel
- Avoid strenuous activity that will cause sweating for two to three days
- Use a mild cleanser to wash your face twice per day while you are peeling to help prevent dryness
Additionally, it is important to note your skin will need to peel over the course of several days. For superficial peels, the skin may appear red or pink for the first two days and then begin to peel for another three days. Medium-depth peels cause the skin to darken and thicken, with peeling occurring for about five days with the last three typically being the most severe. Finally, a deep peel usually leads to heavy peeling that looks similar to scabbing from about day four to 10 of recovery. As such, many patients choose to make accommodations for private downtime after these peels.
Improving Your Skin Carries a Relatively Low Price
The average price of a chemical peel is $698, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgery. This excludes facility fees, anesthesia, and other related costs. Though chemical peels are not covered by insurance, some doctors offer financing plans to assist with out-of-pocket expenses.
You Have Other Options
If you are interested in a less invasive alternative, you may consider microdermabrasion, which can address mild concerns like shallow scars and fine lines. If you wish to address more significant issues, such as skin laxity or deep wrinkles, a face lift, brow lift, or dermal filler may be a better choice.
Microdermabrasion & Photofacials Are Usually Less Expensive
|Chemical Peels||$698 average per session|
|Microdermabrasion||$149 average per session|
|Dermal Fillers||$600 to $1,000 per session|
|IPL Photofacial||$392 average per session|
|Laser Skin Resurfacing||$1,000 to $2,000|
Downtime Required after Alternative Treatments
There is no downtime required after a microdermabrasion session, allowing you to go about your day as normal.
Facial Plastic SurgeryFacial plastic surgery can require two weeks or longer away from work.
You can return to work immediately after receiving dermal fillers.
Due to the non-invasive nature of this treatment, there is no downtime.
Laser Skin Resurfacing
Initial recovery takes about two weeks, with noticeable redness, sensitivity, and peeling occurring.