Depending on whether you opt for a superficial, medium, or deep treatment, a chemical peel can address skin concerns ranging from pigment changes and mild sun damage to more extensive wrinkles and lesions. Deeper peels are done on the face, while superficial peels can address concerns on other areas of the body as well. Common reasons for opting for this procedure are the reduction of fine lines and wrinkles as well as enhancement to the texture and clarity of skin.
During a chemical peel, the skin is cleaned and then treated with a solution known as a wounding or exfoliating agent. The solution is intended to destroy portions of the skin to which it is applied, encouraging the growth of new skin in its place over a period of time following the procedure. Toward the end of the treatment, the chemical is neutralized. The strength of the solution and length of time are dependent upon the type of peel, with medium and deep peels using stronger chemicals that are applied in multiple 15-minute increments during a 60 to 90 minute procedure. The level of sedatives and pain medications that are used also correlate to the extensiveness of the peel.
Over the following days to weeks, skin on the treated area will peel and begin the process of creating new layers to replace those that have been destroyed. Skin must be cared for properly during recovery to ensure proper healing, long-lasting results, and avoid infection. Sun exposure has the potential to introduce color changes and hyperpigmentation, therefore it is important to avoid this until the skin has finish peeling completely and daily sunscreen use can be added to the post-procedure regimen.
Since there are lower UV levels during the fall and winter, these seasons are optimal for recovery. For patients who are receiving a series of peels spaced a month or more apart, they can complete an entire set of treatments without having to cope with high sun exposure. While sunscreen still must be applied daily, the chance of damage is decreased significantly. Additionally, many people find it easier to take some time to recuperate indoors during the colder months, without the added pressure of summer vacations, beach trips, and other outdoor activities.
If a chemical peel is selected as the best option for your skin care concerns, scheduling the procedure during the fall or winter may help to optimize your ability to recover. Whenever your chemical peel is scheduled, it is important to follow your physician’s recovery instructions fully to ensure the best results and prevent skin damage.
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