A Chemical Peel is a skin rejuvenating procedure in which a chemical solution is applied to the skin to cause peeling of its upper layers. Depending on the depth of the peel it can remove freckles, brown blotches, scaly sunspots and even superficial wrinkles.
The peeled skin is then replaced by new skin which grows out from the depths of the hair follicles. This new skin, having been protected in the depths of the hair follicles from exposure to the sun, is fresher and unblemished in its appearance.
Chemical Peels are classed as Superficial, Medium or Deep depending on the depth to which the skin is peeled.
This type of peel removes only the very uppermost layers of the skin. Accordingly, it will only make the skin look fresher and feel smoother. It will not remove wrinkles, freckles, sunspots or brown blotches.
This peel usually requires no anaesthesia or sedation and is carried out as a simple walk-in, walk-out office procedure.
There is minimal or no discomfort after the treatment. The skin peels off over the next 3 days and healing occurs by about the 4th or 5th day. Makeup can be applied once the skin has completely healed. You only need to be off work for 4 or 5 days until the skin finishes peeling.
Superficial peels can be repeated every 2-3 months if necessary. Complications with Superficial Peels are very uncommon.
This is by far our most commonly performed Chemical Peel.
A well-performed Medium Peel only needs to be done once but it can be repeated if and when new sun-damage ever occurs. You may also take comfort in the fact that after a Chemical Peel your skin will NOT end up thinner than it was prior to the Peel. The reason for this is that on completion of healing, the skin will have returned to its former thickness. This is why Peels can be safely repeated without the risk of creating thinner skin each time!
A Medium Peel removes skin to a greater depth than a Superficial Peel. It is excellent for removing most signs of sun-damage such as freckles, brown blemishes, blotchy pigmentation, sallowness, skin coarseness and even sunspots. It can improve or totally remove very fine wrinkles, especially around the eyes. It cannot, however, remove those wrinkles that reach deeper than the depth of the peel.
A Medium Chemical Peel is carried out in the privacy of our Clinic with Intravenous Analgesia only. As you won’t need an anaesthetic, you can go home shortly afterwards but because of the medications used in the procedure, you must have someone escort you home. You cannot go home alone and you should not drive for 24 hours after the Peel.
The entire procedure takes around 1 hour. Immediately after the procedure, the skin will be mildly red, freckles and brown blotches will look darker and the skin will feel ‘tight’ like mild sunburn but you will have NO pain at all.
Over the next few days your skin becomes progressively darker until the peeling starts on or about the 4th day. The peeling usually commences around the mouth, continues over the rest of the face and should be completed by the 7th or 8th day. During the peeling, you will have NO ‘raw’ areas of skin simply because as your old skin is peeling off, your new skin has already formed beneath it.
During the week of peeling you will need to be off work and stay indoors. During this time, you need to apply Vaseline regularly to all areas until they are fully peeled.
Once the skin has completely peeled, usually by the 8th day, you can resume wearing make-up, return to the Clinic for a final check and then return to work.
Complications with Medium Peels are very uncommon.
Owing to their potential complications, Deep Chemical Peels have been largely replaced by Laser Skin Resurfacing which offers similar results but with greater control and safety – factors essential when working in the deeper layers of the skin.
For these reasons, we do not offer Deep Peels. Laser Skin Resurfacing can deliver similar results without the loss of skin colour that usually follows a Deep Peel.
Chemical Peeling is best suited to individuals with fair skin. People with dark, olive or Asian skin are generally not suitable for Medium/Deep Peels as they have a higher risk of pigmentation complications after these peels. They may be better suited to a Superficial Peel. Our Consultant will advise as to which type of Peel your skin is best suited.
This will depend on the individual, the type and depth of the Peel and their future sun exposure. Generally, the rejuvenation achieved with a Medium Peel should last for years. The more you protect your skin from sun exposure the longer that improvement will last.
To maintain your improvement for as long as possible, you must protect your new skin from exposure to the sun and ultraviolet light for at least 3 months after a Chemical Peel. This is because your new skin is initially very sensitive to the sun and ultraviolet light after growing out from the protective depths of the hair follicles.
This does not mean that you have to stay indoors but NO SUNBAKING, even with sunscreens.
Always remember that ultraviolet light, particularly Ultraviolet A, is present all year round, even on cloudy days, and can easily penetrate glass e.g. when driving a car or sitting at a window. So, do not ease up on your ultraviolet protection, even on cloudy days.
ALWAYS REMEMBER: SUN AVOIDANCE IS A SAFER POLICY THAN SUN PROTECTION!
Admittedly, nobody can totally avoid the sun and UV exposure, so the best policy is to minimise your exposure as much as you can.
Avoid unnecessary sun exposure whenever possible but when sun exposure is unavoidable, protect your new skin as follows:
Females: As most conventional sunscreens offer only partial protection against UVA, the best way to give your new skin maximum protection is to routinely apply every morning an opaque foundation. This is because opaque foundations provide a PHYSICAL barrier to UV light. Lighter ‘see-through’ foundations do not provide the same physical barrier to UV light and so are not protective enough for your new skin. As a general guide, if you can see your skin through your foundation, the UV rays can get through too!
After three months, you can change back to a ‘lighter’ foundation if you wish but preferably one also containing a chemical sunscreen.
Males, understandably, would not wish to wear a foundation and so the next best protection would be the highest SPF-rated and least visible sunscreen available, applied each morning and re-applied every 90 minutes during daylight hours, especially if working outdoors.
Males and females should continue the above UV protection measures every day for at least 3 months after the Chemical Peel. In addition, if outdoors, sit in the shade if possible.
Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.