How Do Chemical Peels Work?

A chemical solution is applied to the skin. This causes the top layers of skin to peel off, which allows new, usually smoother, healthier and less wrinkled skin to emerge.

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Who Are The Best Candidates For A Chemical Peel?

Fair-skinned people with light hair are generally the best candidates. It is not recommended for darker-skinned patients or those with infections or active skin diseases, such as psoriasis or eczema. Dr. Tanna will review your complete medical history with you to ensure that there are no contraindications.

Are There Different Types Of Chemical Peels?

The procedure is the same for all chemical peels. However, the type and concentration of the acids used will vary, depending upon the condition of the skin and the desired result.

  • Superficial Peels: The gentlest peels, these contain alpha-hydroxy or glycolic acid and penetrate only the epidermis but can give your face a fresher appearance and radiant glow in as little as one treatment.
  • Medium Peels: Trichloroacetic acid penetrates to the dermis and works well for wrinkles, pigment problems and superficial blemishes.
  • Deep Peels: Phenol can be used for full-face treatments of severe wrinkling or sun damage.

There are situations in which several gentler peels will ultimately produce the same result as one deeper peel. Since there is a recovery period for each type of chemical peel, Dr. Tanna will discuss your options and recommend the best course of action for both your desired outcome and your lifestyle.

What Is The Procedure For A Chemical Peel And What Can I Expect?

Chemical peels are done on an out-patient basis in Dr. Tanna’s discreet New York office. The selected solution is applied with a sponge, cotton pad or brush and allowed to work on the skin. The length of time can vary from thirty minutes for a gentle peel to one to two hours for a full-face deep peel. When the procedure is complete, the solution is neutralized with water. Over the course of the next hour, a crust will form over the treated area. To protect this crust, a thick layer of petroleum jelly is put on the face and left there for one to two days. In some cases, dressings may be applied. It is important to arrange for a friend or family member to take you home, rather than planning to drive yourself.

Recovery times vary greatly, depending on the type of peel and an individual patient’s sensitivities. Most commonly however, there will be puffiness, redness and swelling, similar to a sunburn, which should subside in a few days, although the skin will remain sensitive. With a deeper peel, it may take one or two weeks to be able to return to work. Additionally, a chemical peel is not a “quick fix,” as it may take months for the full results of the treatment to be evident. However, especially with the deeper treatments, the results tend to last and patients consider them to be well worth waiting for.

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