A Guide To Chemical Peels: What To Expect


When it comes to cosmetic dermatology, Albuquerque’s Western Dermatology Consultants team sees patients who are seeking treatments for any of a number of conditions. Youthful skin is typically clear and smooth, but hormonal fluctuations, the normal process of aging, stress, and environmental factors can take their toll on a person’s outer appearance.


While certain treatments focus on just one aspect of the skin (such as BOTOX® relaxing the muscles that cause dynamic wrinkles or glands that cause excessive sweating), many adults are dealing with multiple problems. This is because the skin is not a collection of discrete areas, but is a single, complex organ interconnected with other systems. One area may grow rough over time as dead skin cells accumulate, while another may be smooth, but marked by brown spots. Compounding the issue is the fact that each person’s skin is unique, reacting to the environment and intrinsic aging in its own way.


Chemical peels are an ideal option for people seeking to address a number of cosmetic issues.


What Can Chemical Peels Treat?


Chemical peels offer rejuvenation for the face, neck, and hands. Although they are not appropriate for more severe wrinkles and sagging, they are a highly versatile treatment that can work on a majority of skin types.


Unlike other cosmetic treatments designed to address a single problem, chemical peels are effective on everything from dull skin to unevenness, hyperpigmentation to acne breakouts, mild scars to discoloration, and sun damage to fine wrinkles.


What Types of Chemical Peels Are Available?


Chemical peels fall into three categories: light/superficial, medium or deep. Generally, deep peels produce more dramatic results, but are also generally more of an intense experience for the recipient. During an initial consultation, the provider can help to decide which version will have the best results based on individual needs and goals.


Many, many types of peels have been developed over the years, each with its own formula and properties. The three main types of chemical peels offered at Western Dermatology Consultants, for instance, are VI Peel, PCA Peels, and SkinCeuticals® Professional Gel Peels.  The VI Peel treatment is particularly useful for getting rid of hyperpigmentation and melasma, while PCA and SkinCeuticals® Professional Gel Peels are good for all skin types and all skin concerns. 


How Does the Chemical Peel Process Work?


There is no overnight stay needed for this treatment, and very little prep work is necessary. A peel may be performed in-office or in a surgical facility. Leading up to the day of the treatment, some physicians may require that patients stop taking specific medications that can make the chemical peel less effective.


Chemical peels generally consist of acids that penetrate the layers of skin. In cases where men or women are undergoing deep peels, an anesthetic is typically applied to reduce discomfort. The skin is also cleansed.


Once the chemical solution is applied, it soaks into the skin for a predetermined amount of time. This ultimately causes the outermost to peel off. This exfoliation reveals new skin beneath, as well as promotes renewed collagen production. The resulting look is smoother and brighter with less visible blemishes.


What to Watch For


Depending on the depth of the peel, some people may experience mild burning or stinging along with some redness reminiscent of a sunburn, but these symptoms are temporary. Recovery times vary based on the intensity of the peel, with light to medium depth treatments requiring about a week’s recovery time or less to heal. Two weeks is an generally accepted downtime for deep chemical peels.


Following a provider’s instructions after treatment and avoiding sun exposure can help to accelerate the healing process. The fragile skin will usually need to be washed often and moisturized each day.


Ready to learn more about chemical peels? For further details, contact the team at Western Dermatology Consultants in Albuquerque. Call 505-855-9267 or send a message online.