Chemical Peels are used to resurface the skin. The depth of resurfacing is dependent on the chemical agent used. Superficial peels, such as glycolic acid and alpha hydroxyl acid remove the upper layer of dead skin cells allowing them to penetrate into the upper layer of dermis. The peels allow increased penetration of skin care products, dry up acne, soften fine lines, stimulate collagen growth, and give the skin a rosy glow. Superficial peels have minimal to no downtime with mild burning and redness. They are performed in the office by the nurse or aesthetician.
Medium depth peels involve higher strengths of glycolic acid or a stronger solution known as trichloracetic acid(TCA). The medium peels remove fine lines, improve skin texture, even out irregular pigmentation and reverse effects of sun damage. TCA peels are performed in the office under topical or local anesthesia. Crusting and swelling occur for 2-4 days after the procedure and redness lasts 1-3 weeks. Deep peels use higher concentration TCA or phenol.
The deep peels are the most effective at reducing or eliminating fine lines and work amazingly well for wrinkles around the mouth. These are also done in the office under local or topical anesthesia. The swelling and crusting is greater lasting 5-10 days. Redness can last for several months and there is a chance of permanent lightening of the skin where the peel is done.