WHAT IS CHEMICAL PEEL?
Chemical peeling is a treatment which has been rediscovered by the dermatological profession all over the world. This treatment, used by the gypsies for centuries, whose secret formulas were passed down by word of mouth, was scientifically classified about a century ago. There are many chemicals and formulas for chemical peeling, but dermatologists in America prefer to use two whose effectiveness and safety have been proved through their monitored use on tens of thousands of patients. The most common are glycolic acid in a 50-70% concentration for superficial peeling, and trichloroacetic acid (TCA) in a concentration of 35% for medium peeling.
HOW DOES CHEMICAL PEEL ACT ON THE SKIN?
In effect, chemical peeling causes a burn much like sunburn, but without the long-term dangers linked to excessive exposure to the sun. Depending upon the type and concentration of the chemical used, the upper layers of the skin, the epidermis and the dermis, are destroyed. 24 hours later new cells begin to replace them and a new epidermis is produced. Two to three days after the procedure cells in the dermis called fibroblasts become active. These cells produce new collagen fibers which support the newly-created skin. At the same time the elastic fibers multiply and lend suppleness to the skin. During the first few days the process of healing is accompanied by an inflammation which causes redness and various levels of swelling and burning.
Superficial peel first causes injury to and then results in the peeling of the epidermis to a depth of 0.3-0.5 millimeters; medium peeling reaches the middle of the dermis, a depth of 0.6-0.8 millimeters; deep peeling destroys the epidermis and most of the dermis.
HOW IS CHEMICAL PEEL PERFORMED?
Superficial and medium peeling are accompanied by slight pain which does not require anesthesia. The procedure is performed in the dermatologist’s office and takes about half an hour. It includes thorough cleaning of the skin, after which the peeling solution, in the appropriate concentration, is applied to the skin: 50-70% glycolic acid, or 35% trichloroacetic acid. The solution remains on the skin for a number of minutes and causes a burning-itching sensation and slight pain which lasts from a matter of minutes to a matter of hours. The face remains red and slightly swollen for a few days to a week, depending on the depth of the peeling. During the first week the outer layer of skin peels off and a slight redness may remain for some weeks. Since during this period excessive exposure to the sun should be strictly avoided, most of these procedures are performed during the Fall and Winter. It is both possible and desirable to perform two or three additional superficial peeling treatments at intervals of three to four weeks until the desired results have been obtained. Medium peeling can be repeated once a year. Between treatments a preparation containing retinoic or glycolic acid should be used regularly to preserve the results for as long as possible.
WHAT ADVANTAGES DO SUPERFICIAL AND MEDIUM PEEL HAVE OVER DEEP PEEL?
Superficial and medium chemical peeling do not require anesthesia and there is no need for hospitalization or a hotel stay under medical supervision after the treatment. Dangerous side effects, such as abnormal heart rate, have never been observed after treatment, whereas on rare occasion they have been observed during deep-peeling treatment with phenol. In addition, the risk of scarring or of the formation of new brown patches is very small after superficial or medium peeling, as opposed to deep peeling. Since the substances used in superficial and medium peeling are not absorbed by the blood, there are no age limitations to this treatment. Trichloroacetic and glycolic acid are composed of small molecules which do not cause allergic reactions a is a significant advantage over other preparations based on plant extracts which are liable to cause allergic reactions in some patients. An additional advantage is that the skin looks almost normal after the treatment. After deep peeling with phenol the skin is white and smooth and looks like porcelain. It is extremely sensitive, and, in most people’s opinion, not fashionable.
WHAT ARE THE SIDE EFFECTS OF SUPERFICIAL AND MEDIUM PEELS?
After A superficial peel using a 50-70% solution of glycolic acid, a sunscreen and light makeup can be applied and the patient can resume his or her normal life. After medium peeling with a 35% solution of trichloroacetic acid, the burn, redness and peeling are more severe and normal activities can only be resumed after a week. On very rare occasions, chiefly in dark-skinned patients, a darkening of the skin can appear in certain areas after the treatment. In a small number of cases the brown patches gradually dissolve so that after the first treatment, instead of one big mark there are several small ones. In most cases they will also disappear after another one or two treatments. An additional advantage of superficial peeling is that the change in the skin’s appearance is not acute. The skin can be gradually improved without disturbing the patient’s normal routine and without attracting unwanted attention.
WHO CAN BENEFIT FROM A SUPERFICIAL CHEMICAL PEEL?
Almost anyone over the age of 30 can benefit! We live in a sunny country and many relatively young people suffer from sun-induced damage. It renews the upper layers of the skin and makes it look smoother and fresher. Although medium peeling is usually recommended for fair-skinned people, dark-skinned people can have medium peeling performed without danger of developing marks. For young people with acne, peeling can significantly reduce the number of lesions. For older people superficial peeling improves skin color and changes the skin from dull and yellowish to pink and smooth, all without side effects.
WHO CAN BENEFIT FROM A MEDIUM CHEMICAL PEEL?
Medium peeling is more suited to treating wrinkles and brown sun-induced marks which appear as the result of cumulative damage after the age of 40-45. This kind of peeling brings fast results and can be repeated once every few years.Share on Facebook