If You’re Considering Chemical Peel…
A chemical peel uses a chemical solution to improve and smooth the texture of the facial skin by removing its damaged outer layers. It is helpful for those individuals with facial blemishes, wrinkles and uneven skin pigmentation. Many peels are a mixture of acids such as Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) and alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs).
The precise formula used may be adjusted to meet each patient’s needs. Although chemical peels may be performed in conjunction with a facelift, it is not a substitute for such surgery. Once you and your Practitioner have decided on a specific peel program, be sure to ask about any details that you do not understand.
Deciding if chemical peel is right for you
A chemical peel in Annapolis, Maryland is typically performed for cosmetic reasons — to enhance your appearance and your self confidence. The procedure may also remove pre-cancerous skin growths, soften acne scars, help control acne, correct pigmentation concerns, promote overall health of the skin and youthful appearance.
Please see a listing of the Chemical Peels that we offer.
All chemical peels carry some uncertainty and risk
A chemical peel in Annapolis, Maryland is a safe procedure when it is performed by a qualified, experienced Practitioner. However, some unpredictability and risks such as infection and scarring, while infrequent, are possible.
Peel Formulas at a Glance
ZO Skin Health Acne and Oil Control Treatment
- Smooths rough, oily skin
- Improves texture from impurities of skin
- Aids in control of acne
- A series of peels may be needed
- As with most peel treatments, daily sunblock use is recommended
ZO Skin Brightening Treatment
- Smooths out skin tone and texture
- Removes superficial blemishes
- Corrects pigment problems
- Can be used on neck or other body areas
- May require pre-treatment with Retin-A or AHA creams
- Repeat treatment may be needed to maintain results
- Daily sunblock must be used
ZO Skin Health Ultra Hydration Treatment
- Corrects blotches caused by sun exposure and aging
- Smooths out coarse wrinkles
- Used on the face only
- Not recommended for dark-skinned individuals
- Procedure may pose risk for patients with heart problems
- Full-face treatment may take one hour or more
- Recovery may be slow – Complete healing may take several months
- May permanently remove facial freckles
- Sun protection, including sunblock, must always be used
- Results are dramatic and long-lasting
- Permanent skin lightening and lines of demarcation may occur
Planning for a Chemical Peel
In some states, no medical degree is required to perform a chemical peel – even the strongest phenol peels. Many states have laws that permit non-physicians to administer certain peel solutions, but regulate the strengths which they are permitted to apply.
It is very important that you find a Practitioner who has adequate training and experience in skin resurfacing. Your Practitioner may offer you a choice of peel techniques or suggest a combination of peels to obtain the best result for you.
During your initial consultation, it is important that you discuss your expectations with your Practitioner. Don’t hesitate to ask any questions or express any concerns that you may have. Expect your Practitioner to explain the planned procedure in detail, including its risks and benefits, the recovery period and the costs. If you have a history of herpes or cold sore breakouts, you should inform your physician prior to the procedure.
Preparing for a Chemical Peel
Your Practitioner will instruct you on how to prepare for your peel treatment.
Sometimes Retin-A, a prescription medication derived from Vitamin A, is used to pre-treat the skin. This thins out the skin’s surface layer, allowing the TCA solution to penetrate more deeply and evenly. If your skin won’t tolerate Retin-A pre-treatment, an AHA cream may be used instead. Hydroquinone, a bleaching agent, is sometimes used in conjunction with Retin-A or AHA pre-treatment, especially if you have blotchy skin areas or pigmentation problems. You may have to spend a month or more in the pre-treatment phase before the Practitioner will schedule your actual peel.
Where Your Peel Will Be Performed
Most chemical peels may be safely performed in a plastic surgeon’s office, office-based surgical facility or outpatient surgical center. Your Practitioner may want you to stay overnight in a facility or hospital if other cosmetic procedures are performed simultaneously.
Types of Anesthesia
Anesthesia isn’t required for phenol or TCA peels because the chemical solution acts as an anesthetic. However, sedation may be used before and during the procedure to relax you and keep you comfortable.
No anesthesia is needed for AHA peels since they cause only a slight stinging sensation during application.
How the Peel Works
AHA peels/treatments: Your doctor will apply the AHA solution to your cleansed facial skin, a process that usually takes no more than 10 minutes. No “after-peel” ointment or covering is required. Depending on the strength of the peel, periodic treatments may be necessary until the desired effects are achieved.
For some patients, the application of an AHA-based face wash or cream once or twice a day at home will be sufficient to accomplish the desired goal. Your plastic surgeon may add Retin-A or a bleaching agent to your at-home treatment schedule. After several weeks of at-home use, your doctor will examine your skin to determine if your regimen needs adjustment.
Phenol and TCA peels: Typically, the skin is first thoroughly cleansed. Then, the surgeon will carefully apply the phenol or TCA solution. You may feel a stinging sensation as the peel solution is applied, but this feeling will quickly pass.
A full-face TCA peel usually takes no more than 15 minutes. Two or more TCA peels may be needed to obtain the desired result, and those may be spaced out over several months. Mild TCA peels may be repeated as often as every month.
If phenol solution has been used, your plastic surgeon may coat the treated area with petroleum jelly or a waterproof adhesive tape. With lighter peels, no covering is necessary.
A full-face phenol peel generally takes one or two hours to perform, while a phenol peel to a smaller facial region (perhaps the skin above the upper lip) may take only 10 or 15 minutes. A single treatment usually suffices.
After Your Treatment
After an AHA peel, it is common to experience some temporary flaking or scaling, redness and dryness of the skin. However, these conditions will disappear as the skin adjusts to treatment.
After a phenol or TCA peel, your doctor may prescribe a mild pain medication to relieve any tingling or throbbing you may feel. If tape was used to cover your face, it will be removed after a day or two. A crust or scab will form on the treated area. To help your face heal properly, it is essential that you follow your doctor’s specific post-operative instructions.
A TCA peel may also cause significant swelling, depending on the strength of the peel used.
If you’ve had a phenol peel, your face may become quite swollen. Your eyes may even be swollen shut temporarily. You will need someone to help care for you for a day or two. You may also be limited to a liquid diet and advised not to talk very much during the first few days of recovery.
Getting Back to Normal
With an AHA peel, the temporary redness, flaking and dryness that you experience will not prevent you from working or engaging in your normal activities. A fresher and improved skin texture will result with continued AHA treatments. Remember, protecting your skin from the sun is also important following these mild acid peels. Ask your doctor to recommend a sunblock with adequate UVA and UVB protection and use it every day.
With a TCA peel, the moderate discomfort and mild swelling you may experience will subside within the first week. In about a week to ten days, your new skin will be apparent and you should be healed sufficiently to return to your normal activities. It is best to avoid sun exposure unless you are adequately protected.
With a phenol peel, new skin will begin to form in about seven to ten days. Your face will be very red at first, gradually fading to a pinkish color over the following weeks to months. During this time, it is especially important that you use a sunblock or blotchy, irregular skin coloring may result.
About two weeks after treatment, you may return to work and resume some of your normal activities. Your skin will be healed enough for you to wear makeup. (For makeup tips, ask your plastic surgeon for the ASPS brochure on camouflage cosmetics.)
Your New Look
Improvements from AHA peels may be very subtle at first. You may detect a healthier glow to your skin. With continued treatments, you will notice a general improvement in the texture of your skin.
The results of a TCA peel are usually not as long-lasting as those of phenol peel. However, your skin will be noticeably smoother and fresher-looking.
If you’re planning a phenol peel, you can expect dramatic improvement in the surface of your skin – fewer fine wrinkles, fewer blemishes and more even-toned skin. Your results will be long-lasting, although not immune to the effects of aging and sun exposure.