What is peel treatment?
A facial peel is a skin-resurfacing procedure that involves application of a chemical solution to damaged facial areas. The procedure is intended to peel away the superficial layers of the skin (exfoliation) giving a youthful, unblemished complexion. Facial peels are a very popular non-surgical cosmetic procedure. Facial peels rejuvenate the skin’s texture by improving the appearance of scars, discoloration, wrinkles and sun damage. Some indications that you might benefit from peel treatment include:
- Acne (pimples)
- Fine lines and wrinkles
- Sun burns
- Rough skin
A facial peel can be done alone or as a complementary treatment for other cosmetic procedures. Facial peels vary according to their specific ingredients and their strength. The peeling action depends on the duration that the solution remains on the skin as well as the depth of application. To achieve your desired results, various depths of peel treatment are used, including superficial/light, medium, or deep. The superficial or light peel solution is composed of alphahydroxy acids (AHAs) such as glycolic, lactic and salicylic or fruit acids. Medium depth peels use trichloroacetic acid (TCA), which remains on the skin for a longer time than the light peel. Deep facial peels are typically performed with phenol-based solutions.
Before the procedure:
Your doctor may advise you to stop taking certain medications that hinder the treatment process. You will be prescribed antibiotics or antiviral drugs to prepare the skin for the peel and quicken the healing process. A pre-treatment prescription that includes Retin-A, Renova, or glycolic acid will be given to you.
Facial peels are usually done as an outpatient procedure. The first step involves thorough cleansing of your face. Your surgeon will select the solution that best suits you for the treatment of your damaged skin. A deep chemical peel may require sedation (local anaesthesia) to numb the areas of treatment. Using a cotton pad or a brush, the chemical is applied to the areas to be treated. While the chemical remains on the skin, you might feel a burning or stinging sensation for a few minutes. Cool saline compresses will be used to ease the sensation. The site of a deep peel treatment requires surgical dressing.
After the procedure:
You will be prescribed a soothing agent, such as petroleum jelly to apply over the red, dry and mildly irritated areas of skin. Medium and deep facial peels result in severe redness and swelling. Application of ice packs wrapped in a towel over the treated areas will minimise swelling. Medications such as NSAIDs will be prescribed to alleviate pain and keep you comfortable. Moisturiser will keep your skin moist and supple, while sunscreen will protect your skin from the damaging effects of sun.
Healing times vary from 3-14 days depending on the type of peel you have undergone. You will probably need several sessions to achieve the optimal result. A follow-up appointment should be scheduled 2-3 days after treatment to examine your progress.