FOURTH QUARTER 2007, VOLUME 21, NUMBER 4

Recapture your summer glow with a peel

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Ask the Surgeon / Health Tip / What’s New

Recapture your summer glow with a peel

The summer is over; however, that does not mean that you have to say goodbye to your glowing summer skin. Keep your skin refreshed and healthy by maintaining a simple skin regime of cleansing, moisturizing, and protecting. If you are looking for a more extensive polishing of your skin, consider a chemical peel. This nonsurgical, rejuvenation procedure improves uneven texture, mild scarring, wrinkles, and discoloration spots (sun or aging). There is a range of chemicals and strengths used to meet the individual’s needs. Check with your facial plastic surgeon regarding expectations and types of peels.

How it works
A chemical solution is applied to your skin. The active ingredients and concentration of the chemical determine what layers of your skin will be stripped away. In other words, the stronger the chemical, the deeper it will permeate. The epidermis is the surface layer. The dermis is underneath and is composed of the papillary layer (upper) and the reticular layer (lower). The epidermis and the papillary layer of the dermis can heal from a chemical peel without scarring. When the reticular layer is damaged, it may cause scarring.

During the healing process, you may experience some redness, dryness, and temporary flaking. For stronger peels, a crust or scab will form on the treated area. Make sure you follow your physician’s postoperative instructions carefully to ensure the best possible results. Avoid any sun exposure during this time and adequately protect your skin after your recovery.

Types of Peels
Your physician will determine what type of chemical or combination of chemicals to apply to your skin. For a brighter, smoother looking skin, you might consider an alphahydroxy acid (AHA) peel, such as glycolic, lactic, or fruit acids. This gentle chemical peels away the epidermis and a portion of the papillary dermis. It can treat fine wrinkling, areas of dryness, uneven pigmentation, and acne. There may be some initial redness, but patients return to normal activities immediately following treatment.

A moderate peel used to treat fine lines, weathered skin, and pigment problems is trichloroacetic acid (TCA). The peel penetrates the epidermis and into the papillary dermis. There is mild discomfort and swelling for about a week. Repeated treatments may be necessary to achieve the desired results. The phenol peel is the strongest of the chemical solutions and offers more dramatic results that are longer lasting than the AHA or TCA peels. Patients who are looking to remove extensive wrinkling, marked discoloration, scarring, and pre-cancerous growths may benefit from this treatment. The formation of the new layer of skin usually takes seven to 10 days, with a full recovery taking approximately two weeks.

Recapture your glowing summer complexion with a chemical peel. From mild to strong solutions, your facial plastic surgeon will help you rejuvenate and refresh your face for the fall with the right peel for you.