Chemical peels are used to improve and smooth the texture of facial skin. It is different from a facelift in that it does not remove excess skin or fat, but it can reduce the appearance of the fine wrinkles that facelifts cannot correct. These fine wrinkles result from aging and exposure to the sun as the elasticity of the skin is diminished. Chemical peels can also treat blemishes and uneven skin pigmentation, remove pre-cancerous skin growths, and soften acne scars.
There are a variety of chemical solutions used for chemical peels. The mildest peels are alphahydroxy acid peels, which need to be repeated a few times in order to achieve the desired result. However, this light peel allows you to follow your normal routine and is useful for those that cannot spare time for a longer recovery. Deeper peels, such as those using phenol, do not need to be repeated. However, because it causes the skin to blister and peel off, recovery might take up to two weeks. The chemical peel that is best for you will depend on your individual circumstances and should be discussed with your physician.
Most chemical peels can be performed in a plastic surgeon’s office or outpatient center. It is usually done under light sedation. Complete recovery time depends on the type of peel used, but it will normally take about two to four weeks.