Chemical peels offer a cost-effective alternative to laser facials while addressing the same issues. Peels are excellent at correcting skin imperfections like uneven skin tone, age spots and freckles, fine lines and scars, and damage caused by sun exposure or hormonal changes.
The right type of peel depends on your particular skin issues and skin type. Physicians classify peels according to the peel intensity.
- Medium/medium depth/medium-grade
Light peels use AHA or hydroxy acid and work on the surface of your skin. They are excellent for exfoliating skin and are sometimes mixed with a bleaching instrument to fade skin discoloration and damage. These peels are ideal for:
- Smoothing rough, dry skin
- Improving the texture of sun damaged areas
- Returning brightness to the skin
- Controlling acne
- Minimizing fine lines and wrinkles
Light peels are the gentlest peels available, and are suitable for all skin types. Because they are mild, patients only experience a slight tingling or stinging sensation during the procedure and can immediately return to work or resume regular activity. Patients typically require 5-8 sessions to obtain optimal results.
Medium peels use 15 to 35 percent trichloroacetic acid (TCA) and can be used on any part of the body. They are ideal for:
- Smoothing fine wrinkles
- Removing blemishes
- Correcting pigmentation irregularities
- Addressing sun damage
Medium peels work at a deeper level of the skin and cause a second-degree burn. Patients feel burning and tingling during the procedure, which may continue for 30 minutes to an hour after the session. Patients typically require two or more sessions to obtain optimal results.
Medium peels involve up to 10 days downtime and carry side effects such as slight swelling, scabbing, peeling, redness, varied pigmentation and itchiness. Skin can appear pink for up to six weeks after the procedure. In extremely rare circumstances, scarring can occur.
Medium peels are recommended for medium to dark skin tones.
Deep peels use phenol or carbolic acid and can only be used on the face. They work at the deepest level of the skin and, like medium peels, produce results by causing a second-degree sunburn.
Deep peels are ideal for:
- Correcting blotches caused by age, hormones or sun damage
- Smoothing coarse wrinkles
- Removing pre-cancerous growths
- Removing freckles
Deep peels obtain dramatic, long-lasting results in a single session. However, because deep peels often incorporate bleaching instruments, they are unsuitable for darker complexions. Deep peels are also not advised for patients with heart problems.
Deep chemical peels are performed under general anesthesia and require three weeks downtime, with full recovery occurring several months later. Patients often decide to stay home during the initial three weeks due to the substantial swelling, peeling, redness and itchiness. Permanent hypopigmentation, scarring and infection can occur with this type of peel.
Dr Michael Zacharia is a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, Head and Neck (Otolaryngology) and specialises in Facial Plastic Surgery. He is also an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) specialist surgeon. Combining the latest medical, surgical and health techniques, Dr Zacharia delivers the best outcome for each and every one of his patients.