A peel or chemical peeling is a technique that can be used
in addition to a facial treatment. This is done by applying
a chemical solution that peels off dead skin, allowing new
skin to regenerate, improving facial skin appearance.
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The chemical peeling is done by thoroughly cleansing the
face with an agent that removes excess oils, followed by one
or more chemical solutions like glycolic acid,
trichloroacetic acid, salicylic acid, lactic acid or phenol
acid. These chemicals help in peeling off layers of skin to
allow new skin to regenerate. A warm to hot sensation may
be felt during the procedure lasting from five to ten
minutes, and then followed with a stinging sensation. A
deeper peeling process may be more painful and might require
medication during or after the procedure.
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The peel is best for people with severely damaged skin. Patients who wish to undergo phenol peels must be in good
health since phenols can cause arrhythmias. Also, good
kidney and liver functions are necessary for the excretion
and detoxification. Please be reminded that peels can
damage excellent facial skin so check with the dermatologist
before undergoing such treatment.
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Before the consultation, get a screening blood chemistry
that includes blood urea nitrogen, creatinine and liver
function. Also, during the peeling process, ECG monitoring
Instructions on stopping certain medications and preparing
the facial skin with pre-conditioning creams before the
treatment will be given. The peeling procedure is usually
done in the dermatologist’s office. And the dermatologist
will be the one to suggest what peeling you need to get your
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In chemical peeling for some skin types, there is a risk of
developing a temporary or permanent color change in the
facial skin. The development of abnormal pigmentation can
also increase after peeling with the use of birth control
pills, during pregnancy, or if there is a history of
brownish discoloration on the face. There is also the risk
of scarring after having chemical peels, although it can
usually be treated with good results. There is also a small
risk of reactivating cold sores or herpes simplex infection
for those who have a history of fever blisters. This is
the reason why it is important to inform the dermatologist
of all past medical histories so that necessary precautions
can be taken before going through with the treatment.
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A peeling treatment usually involves a burning sensation
and redness followed by scaling for about three to five
days. The medium and deep peeling can sometimes have
swelling and blisters that may break, crust, turn brown and
then peel off in a period of a week or two weeks. Even some
peels may require surgical tape to be placed on treated
skin. It is best to avoid overexposure to the sun after the
chemical peel since the new facial skin is delicate and more
sensitive. The dermatologist will be the one to instruct
the follow-up care needed to heal after the chemical peel.
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does a chemical peel do?
Chemical peeling is a treatment used to eliminate fine
lines or wrinkles caused by sun damage, aging, and
hereditary factors. Peeling can also be used to treat mild
scarring and some types of acne. Also, chemical peeling can
help treat pigmentation of the skin like sun spots, age
spots, liver spots, freckles, blotchiness from taking birth
control pills, sun-damaged skin, scaling patches, and
improve dull skin. It is best to use sunscreens to help
lessen the chances of having these pigmentations in the
are the types of peels?
There are three main types of peels: the light peels using
alpha hydroxyacids, which are naturally occurring acids
found in fruits and other foods; the medium peels using
trichloroacetic acid; and the deep peels using stronger
Light peels are used to treat acne, dry skin, liver spots,
wrinkles, decrease pore size and improving skin texture.
Light peels are usually done in a series of six to eight
peels, with each peel spaced two or three weeks apart.
Light peels leave a red glow on the facial skin that lasts
for only a day or two.
Medium peels have the same benefits of light peels although
it can remove larger wrinkles and precancerous skin lesions
due to deeper penetration. The problem with medium peels is
that it makes the facial skin look like severe sunburn for a
week. Medium peel patients should stay inside for a week
to heal. Medium peels are also better than liquid nitrogen
in treating very small precancers.
The deep peels are done to treat large wrinkles and the
results can be almost like a Facelift. This deep peel
recovery time is quite longer, taking around one to two
months. Deep peel is now being replaced by laser
are the limitations of chemical peels?
Even if chemical peels remove most of the lines and can
smooth the face, it cannot remove loose or sagging skin.
Also, chemical peeling cannot remove deep scars, a
grafting, elevation or resurfacing procedure may be needed
to handle these concerns. Although be advised that while a
chemical peeling cannot change pore size or remove broken
blood vessels on the face, it can improve the appearance of
are Alpha hydroxyacids?
The Alpha Hydroxyacid is known for its anti-aging effects
and the fact that it is not toxic to skin. The AHA acids
are derived from fruits and flowers that help in making skin
smoother and look healthier. Alpha hydroxyacids are
naturally occurring acids like lactic acid from sour milk;
citric acid from citrus fruits like oranges and lemons; and
glycolic acid from sugar cane. Alpha hydroxyacids are used
in low concentrations in most over-the-counter cosmetics, in
medium concentrations available in doctor’s offices, and in
high concentrations in acid peels in the form of gylocic
peels applied by a professional at intervals of three to six
are Trichloroacetic Acid Peels?
Trichloroacetic acid or TCA is used as an intermediate to
deep peeling agents in concentrations ranging from 20-50%.
The depth of penetration is increased as the concentration
increases, with 50% of TCA penetrating into the reticular
dermis. Concentrations more than 35% are not recommended due
to the high risk of scarring.
are Phenol peels?
Phenol is the strongest of all chemical solutions,
producing a deep skin peel. Current research says that the
active component, croton oil, is just carried by phenol and
is the one responsible to producing a deep skin peel. The
truth is phenol only produces a light peel which cannot
remove wrinkles. Phenol/croton peels’ effects are long
lasting and can still be manifested up to 20 years.
Improvements in the facial skin can be quite dramatic after
the phenol/croton peel, and usually a single treatment is
enough to reach the desired results.