Chemical peeling is a method that has been used for thousands of years to minimize the effects of aging by improving lines and wrinkles over the forehead, around the eyelids and cheeks, and around the mouth. It can be performed as an isolated procedure or in conjunction with other facial plastic surgery procures including laser skin resurfacing or a facelift. The procedure can be used to improve a variety of skin conditions including wrinkles, uneven pigmentation, shallow acne scars, sun-damaged skin, age spots, and freckling. A chemical peel uses a solution applied to the skin to remove dead skin cells and stimulate the production of new skin cells. It tightens the skin, reduces wrinkling and restores a more youthful appearance.
Unlike laser peels, chemical peels can be performed on the face, neck, chest, hands, and even the arms and legs. Several chemical solutions exist that can peel away skin from the superficial, medium, or deep layers. The solution is applied to the skin and a burning sensation similar to sunburn is usually noted by patients after the procedure. For deeper peels, some patients require anesthesia. Light peels result in some redness to the skin followed by scaling that lasts about four days while medium to deep peels can result in swelling and blisters that break open forming a crust. Frequent cleaning and an application of an ointment will help moisten the face and facilitate the healing process. The peeling of skin is usually complete by seven to 10 days. The skin will have the color of a severe sunburn that will gradually fade to light pink over the next several weeks. This can be camouflaged quite well with make-up.