The History Of Chemical Peels
The earliest recorded attempts to improve the skin date back to antiquity. Recipes for smoothing the skin and removing blemishes through the use of alabaster and pumice were recorded in the writings of the ancient Egyptians who used them for centuries. Today, as a result of modern technology, safe and effective procedures have been developed to improve facial wrinkles and mild scarring.
The Chemical Peel
The chemical peel is a procedure in which chemical agents are applied to skin that is wrinkled, scarred, or damaged. After the treatment, the outer layers of the skin “peel,” or fall off leaving smoother, younger looking skin. Chemical peels can be used to treat wrinkles caused by aging, sun exposure, superficial acne scarring, irregular pigmentations of the skin, and some pre-cancerous conditions of the skin such as thick, rough or reddish growths.
Types Of Chemical Peels
There are several types of chemical peels. The following is a brief description of the types of chemical peels and what you can expect from them:
- Glycolic – Other names for these peels are the Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) peel, Fruit Acid peel, or Light peel. This peel will remove surface imperfections, fine lines, and help to give the skin a refreshed look. The glycolic peels may be done during a lunch break, and do not require any anesthetic. You may expect some mild redness and “tightness” of the skin for a few days similar to light sunburn.
- Tri-Chloracetic Acid (TCA) – The TCA peel is considered a medium peel. The TCA peels are more commonly used with another chemical agent, and then called “modified” or “augmented” TCA peels. Probably the most well known of these is the Obagi Blue Peel. These peels will remove fine to medium lines and wrinkles, skin imperfections, and some pigmentation irregularities. Depending on the peel, these can be done with no anesthesia, or light IV sedation. You should expect a more intense reaction to this peel than the glycolic peel. This would be similar to moderate to severe sunburn.
- Phenol – The phenol peel was long considered the “gold standard” before the CO2 Laser came along. Phenol peels are able to remove deep wrinkles, pigmentation irregularities, and produce significant tightening of the skin. However, there are some serious potential complications with the phenol peel that has made it lose favor with most clinicians.
Dr. Stastny was trained by James Fulton, MD, who was one of the inventors of Retin-A. Dr. Stastny has been performing chemical peels since 1994 and can help you decide which treatment will best suit your needs.