August 6, 2012 – If you’ve had acne and now have acne scars or are starting to see some dark age or sun spots, you may want to talk to a dermatologist about having a chemical peel. There are three levels of chemical peels, and a licensed dermatologist can evaluate your skin and determine which type would work best for you.
There are light and medium chemical peels and those are for the treatment of minimal acne scars and minimal sun damage. Deep chemical peels are only used on patients who have severe acne scars, very dark age spots or severe sun damage and wrinkling.
The light chemical peel can usually be done in a dermatologost’s office with no anesthesia. A medium or deep chemical peel will require some type of anesthesia and usually needs to be performed in a surgical center or hospital. All chemical peels should only be administered by an experienced, board-certified dermatologist or cosmetic surgeon.
A chemical peel works by using one of four types of acid; carbolic acid (Phenol), glycolic acid (AHA), trichloroacetic acid (TCA) or salicylic acid (BHA). With a light chemical peel, you face will be cleaned, then the mixture will be applied onto your face and stay on for just a few minutes. The chemical solution is then cleaned away and takes the damaged top layer of skin with it.
Deeper peels will take longer because of the need for anesthesia, longer time the solution is left on and multiple layers of skin that are removed.
With AHA and TCA peels you won’t have any downtime and won’t have to keep the area covered or apply ointment afterwards. One treatment may produce desired results but sometimes multiple treatments are necessary with light peels.
The deeper peels will normally have a recovery time of a few days to two weeks and the area may need a dressing and medicated ointment.
No matter what kind of chemical peel you have, you’ll need to wear broad-spectrum sunblock of at least SPF30 anytime you are outside.
When your regular skin care routine needs a boost, chemical peels are an effctive treatment for acne scars, sun damage and facial wrinkles. Just remember that only experienced, licensed dermatologists and cosmetic surgeons should perform them.