Chemical peeling is a treatment that aims to improve and smooth the texture of the skin - especially the face - by removing the damaged outer layers.
In this way it helps people who have wrinkles, blemishes, blotches, acne scars or not as well as chromatic inhomogeneity of the skin.
Chemical peeling alone or in combination with other invasive or non-aesthetic treatments is a very common and effective choice for the renewal and healing of damaged skin.
The choice of the appropriate formula to be used depends primarily on the needs of each person, their endurance, the preferences of the patient, but the final decision is made by an experienced dermatologist.
There are three categories of chemicals used in peeling:
1. Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) (glycolic, lactic acid, fruit acids) are the mildest peeling formulas.
This type of peeling gives a softer, more radiant skin to those who do not have time to recover from a peeling with phenols or TCA.
Its uses can be summarized as follows:
- It smoothes wild, dull skin.
- It improves the texture of sun-damaged skin.
- It helps control acne or chromatic heterogeneity of acne prone skin
- It can be mixed with a bleaching agent to correct staining problems
- It can be used as a pre-treatment with TCA.
Different concentrations of AHA can be used each week or more frequently to achieve the best possible result, which will be decided by your doctor at the start or during treatment.
AHAs can also be mixed with an emulsion or cleansing cream in lower concentrations as part of daily skin care.
2. Trichloric acid (TCA) can be used in many concentrations but is mainly used for medium depth peeling.
It is effective in a wide range of dermatological problems:
- It tapers off fine surface wrinkles
- It removes surface stains
- It corrects discolorations
- It eliminates shallow scars and helps reduce the depth of deeper scars.
TCA is preferred in patients with darker skin and can be used in addition to the face, neck, arms, or other areas of the body.
Pre-treatment with retinol or AHA may be given prior to TCA treatment.
The depth of peeling is adjusted based on the concentration of TCA used and repeated treatment may be needed to maintain the effect.
After the treatment, sunscreen lotion must be used for several months, while the healing period is usually short, much shorter than in the case of phenol peeling.
3. Phenol is the strongest of the chemical solutions used for deep peeling.
- It smoothes deep wrinkles
- It corrects spots caused by sun exposure, birth control pills, aging
- It removes precancerous skin lesions
Phenol is only used on the face. As it sometimes significantly discolors the applied areas, skin color is a determining factor in the suitability or not of the treatment, so it is not recommended for people with darker skin.
Healing after phenol peeling is slow, can take several months and sunscreen should always be used.
Finally, phenol peeling treatment should be avoided in a patient with heart problems.
All chemical peelings involve some degree of risk, but are usually a safe procedure, when performed by a qualified, experienced doctor.
In addition to the recommendation for use of sunscreen, patients should be informed of any redness, pain, swelling, crusts, or discoloration depending on the formula used.
As for the result of the treatments, the improvements from the peeling with AHA can be very discreet at first.
A healthier appearance of the skin may be observed, but with continuous treatments the overall texture of the skin improves.
The effects of peeling with TCA usually do not last as long as those of peeling with phenol, but the skin is clearly smoother and fresher.
Phenol peeling brings about an impressive improvement of the skin surface, less fine wrinkles, fewer spots, and skin of a more homogeneous tone.
The effects are lasting, but, of course, they do not remain intact from the effects of aging and sun exposure.