What should I expect with my chemical peel?
A chemical peel is a great way to refresh your appearance, renew your skin, reduce the appearance of fine lines, and even your skin tone, all in one go. But a chemical peel is no home remedy. Just because it sounds like an easy, nearly risk-free, non-invasive procedure doesn’t mean that you should try performing one at home. It’s important to find a skilled and experienced surgeon who has training in the performance of chemical peels. The results of a properly-performed chemical peel can be phenomenal, so choose your surgeon carefully to ensure the best possible outcome. There are significant risks associated with these procedures.
Where is Surgery Performed
Chemical peels are an in-office procedure that can be performed in a relatively short period of time. You can combine your treatment with other in-office procedures when appropriate. However, trying to perform a chemical peel on yourself is a sure way to turn a safe procedure into a disfiguring one. Chemical peels are safe and highly beneficial when performed by an experienced cosmetic surgeon. They are not appropriate as a do-it-yourself, home project to save some money.
It might be possible to obtain the agents used for a chemical peel from unscrupulous merchants from the Internet. However, if you try to perform this procedure on yourself, you can permanently alter the coloration of your face by introducing irregularities, scars, and hypopigmentation. Improperly performed, these agents can burn your skin with permanent consequences. A great deal of skill, judgment, and experience is needed to safely perform a chemical peel. A surgeon who has mastered chemical peels will also instruct you in follow-up care for your skin after the initial treatment and closely follow you. With this guidance in monitoring your progress, long-term problems that might develop can be managed, mitigated, or avoided altogether.
Types of Anesthesia
There are many different types of chemical peels. The type that is best for you depends greatly on your skin type and concerns. The issues that affect your skin determine the type of peel procedures that will provide the most benefit. Common concerns include: acne with or without scaring, dark spots that have developed over time, skin aging from sun exposure, and intrinsic skin aging including lines. As peels increase in strength, the need for anesthesia in the form of oral sedation, and local numbing of the face to make the procedure comfortable increases. Also the post-procedure skin care demands increase in complexity and length to ensure that the face heals quickly and with the best possible result. Please do not underestimate the need for expert care in this regard.
As with any cosmetic surgery procedure, invasive or non-invasive, complications can occur. Infections may occur anytime after the second or third post-operative day. The signs are prominent swelling, significant amounts of devitalized skin and redness beyond what would normally be expected, and pain. Infections are often the result of neglecting post-procedure instructions. It is for this reason that Dr. Steinsapir insists on close follow up. The procedure represents an important investment in time, energy, and expense but it is essential to proper healing. Other potential complications include: scarring, temporary or long term eyelid malposition, color and pigmentary change, persistent redness, and possible allergic reactions. There is no way you can handle these concerns on your own after try to do your own chemical peel.
Estimated Time for Recovery
Generally, the deeper facial peels produce results that rival what can be accomplished with surgery. Redness following TCA 35% can persist for 3 weeks to 6 weeks; following phenol 89%, redness can persist for 3 months to 6 months, and following a Baker’s phenol, it can persist for 5 months to 12 months. However, it will only take 9 days to 12 days to reach the point at which make-up can hide facial redness. Men tend to heal faster than women. Only a personal consultation with an experienced chemical peeler will provide a basis for estimating recovery time for your personal considerations.
About Dr. Steinsapir
Dr. Steinsapir is a board certified eye surgeon and fellowship-trained in oculoplastic surgery and cosmetic surgery in Los Angeles where he specializes in balanced facial cosmetic surgery for natural results, with an emphasis on minimally invasive techniques, fast recovery time, and leadership in medical technology. Dr. Steinsapir has a private practice and also serves as an Associate Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology at the Jules Stein Eye Institute, at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. Contact us today to learn how Dr. Steinsapir’s experience and training make him an expert in cosmetic surgery, which can be a vital part of your evidence-based treatment plan.
Services described may be “off-label” and lack FDA approval. This article is informational and does not constitute an advertisement for off-label treatment. No services should be provided without a good faith examination by a licensed physician and an informed consent with a discussion of risks, benefits, alternatives, and the likelihood of treatment success. Only you and your treating physician or surgeon can determine if a treatment is right for you.