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Chemical Peels - Different Types of Chemical Peels and Their Benefits

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. Phenol, trichloroacetic acid (TCA) and alphahydroxy acids (AHAs) are used for this purpose.

Chemical peel may also remove pre-cancerous skin growths, soften acne facial scars and even control acne. In certain cases, health insurance may cover the peel procedure. Chemical peeling is a technique used to improve the appearance of the skin which is typically performed on the face, neck or hands. In this treatment, a chemical solution is applied to the skin that causes it to "blister" and eventually peel off.

Trichloracetic acid (TCA) is the most common chemical used for a medium depth peel. The treatment is painful and treated areas are swollen, red and crusted for the next week or so. It can lead to an impressive improvement in skin texture with a reduction in blotchy pigmentation, freckling and solar keratoses.

Types of Chemical Peels:

There are three main types of peels.

  • Light peels are most commonly performed using alpha hydroxyacids. These are naturally occurring acids found in fruits and other foods. It is effective in treating dry skin, acne, liver or sun spots, diminishing fine facial wrinkles, decreasing pore size, and improving skin texture.
  • Medium peels are usually performed with trichloroacetic acid. Medium peels have the same benefits as light peels and in addition remove larger wrinkles and precancerous skin lesions because of deeper penetration.
  • Liquid Nitrogen, takes one week of recovery time but is only good for treating larger precancerous skin lesions.

Chemical peels are performed on the face, neck or hands.

  • They can be used to reduce fine lines under the eyes and around the mouth.
  • It is used to treat wrinkles caused by sun damage, aging and hereditary factors.
  • It is also used to treat certain types of acne.
  • It helps in reducing age spots, freckles and dark patches due to pregnancy or taking birth control pills.
  • Improve the look and feel of skin that is dull in texture and color.

Benefits of chemical peels:

  • A chemical peel can restore a more youthful appearance to wrinkled, unevenly pigmented, sun-damaged, or blotchy skin.
  • A chemical peel cannot reverse the aging process or completely remove deep scars.
  • Wrinkled skin that is loose and sagging may also require a face-lift, laser resurfacing treatment, or combination of procedures for best results.

Substances used in chemical peels:

Phenol, Trichloroacetic acid and alphahydroxy acids are used for chemical peels. The precise formula used may be adjusted for each patient.

  • Alphahydroxy acids:
    AHA peels may be used to accomplish the following: reduce fine wrinkling, treat areas of dryness and to improve texture of sun-damaged skin.
  • Trichloracetic acid:
    Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) can be used to accomplish the following: smooth fine surface wrinkles and correct pigments problems.