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Chemical Peels

Chemical Peels reduce fine lines and wrinkles, lighten skin discolorations, reduce acne, and smooth the texture of the skin by removing its damaged outer layers. According to The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery National Data Bank Statistics, 443,824 chemical peel procedures were performed in 2012. All peels are designed to accelerate the beautifying effects of your home skincare treatment. Your provider may recommend a light / superficial peel or a deeper peel depending on your individual needs.

Chemical peeling uses a solution to improve and smooth the texture of the skin by removing its damaged outer layers. Superficial peels may be performed with alphahydroxy acids (AHA), salicylic acid, or trichloroacetic acid (TCA). Deep peels may be performed with trichloroacetic acid or phenol.

Alphahydroxy acids, such as glycolic, lactic or fruit acids are the mildest of the peel formulas and produce light peels. These types of peels can provide smoother, brighter-looking skin for people who can’t spare the time to recover from a TCA or phenol peel. AHAs are used to treat fine wrinkling, areas of dryness, uneven skin pigmentation, and acne. AHAs may be applied weekly or at longer intervals to obtain the best results. These acids are also used as a part of daily skincare regimens to improve the texture of the skin. These peels are extremely popular, and there are many peel options available that provide something for everyone.

Trichloroacetic acid is most commonly used for medium-depth peeling. Fine wrinkles, superficial blemishes and pigmentation, and mild scarring are also successfully treated. More than one TCA peel may be necessary to achieve the desired results. The recovery from a TCA peel is longer than from an AHA peel.

Phenol is the strongest of the chemical solutions and produces a deep peel. It is effective for coarse facial wrinkles, areas of blotchy pigmentation due to prolonged sun damage, deeper scarring, and pre-cancerous growths. Phenol peels may cause hypopigmentation following treatment; the patient’s skin pigmentation and ethnicity will be a determining factor if this treatment is appropriate.

With the success of fractional lasers, medium-depth and deep peels are not used as frequently now. Laser resurfacing provides safe and effective options to successfully treat sun damaged skin, sometimes with less down time. You can learn more about Fraxel and Pearl Fractional laser resurfacing by clicking these links.

The best candidates for chemical peels are those individuals with facial blemishes, fine line wrinkles, uneven skin pigmentation and/or acne scarring. Some patients want to see visible peeling, while others do not. We offer chemical peels that deliver both types of results. Following a consultation with our aesthetician a decision will be made regarding which peel is most appropriate for your skin type and condition. Short descriptions of some of the peels we offer are listed below:

  • Fruit Enzymes – Enzymatic peels dissolve keratin and dead skin cells on the skin surface to help reveal smoother skin. Commonly used enzymes are Pumpkin, Papain (papaya) and Bromelain (pineapple). Fruit enzyme peels can be performed as often as once a week, but most patients add this aromatic treatment to a monthly  facial.
  • Glycolic Acid Peel – Increases exfoliation, stimulates cell growth, promotes the repair and regeneration of the skin, and improves the appearance of aging skin. Most people will notice thicker younger looking skin after a series of 6 glycolic acid peels, spaced 2-4 weeks apart.
  • Lactic Acid Peel – A well tolerated peel that offers exfoliating and moisture retention properties. Regular lactic acid peels will promote smoother and softer skin as well as improve the appearance of fine lines. Depending on the concentration most patients enjoy this peel monthly.
  • Salicylic acid  –  Specifically designed to treat active acne and acne-prone skin; 20% or 30% salicylic acid enhances exfoliation and has antibacterial properties to reduce breakouts and inflammation.  Salicylic acid peels work great for acne-prone skin of the face, chest, or back. And salicylic acid peels help minimize the breakouts associated with rosacea.  These peels produce a bit more visible ‘peeling’ compared with some others. About 36 hours after application your skin will begin to flake; this flaking may continue for a few days, and may progress to peeling depending upon the strength of the peel. Use of a gentle moisturizer will help mask the flaking skin and aid in the peeling process.
  • BioMedic MicroPeel® – A multi-step process to exfoliate and beatify the skin, this customized peel with no downtime uses physical and chemical means to increase cellular turnover and refine the epidermis. During the MicroPeel procedure removal of superficial debris will be performed by either dermaplaning or application of Pure Enzyme. An application of 20-50% AHA follows, and a CO2 cryogenic therapy mask completes the procedure.
  • Jessner Peel – A combination of 14% Lactic Acid, 14% Salicylic Acid, 14% Resorcinol in an ethanol base, the Jessner Peel is an excellent option for patients desiring moderate exfoliation.
  • Modified Jessner Peel – A combination of 17% Lactic Acid, 17% Salicylic Acid, 8% Citric acid in an ethanol base, a Modified Jessner Peel will treat less sensitive more sun-damaged skin types.
  • NEOCUTIS NEOPeel – The next generation in superficial peels. The NEOPeel combines glycolic acid with skin brightening agents to help minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, dark spots, and uneven skin tone and texture.  Excellent results are achieved when combined with NEOCUTIS products for home use. A series of 3 to 6 peels, performed every 2 weeks is recommended.
  • SkinMedica Vitalize Peel – The Vitalize Peel brings the benefit of alpha-hydroxy, salicylic, and retinoic acids together in a unique blend to create one of the strongest, safest, and most effective superficial peels. This is a great peel for all skin types.  Expect some visible peeling; about 36 hours after application your skin will begin to flake, and then peel for a few days. Use a substantial moisturizer during the peeling process will help hide some of the peeling and protect your fresh new skin.
  • Perfect 10 Peel – A combination of salicylic acid, glycolic acid, lactic acid, mandelic acid, tartaric acid, Resorcinol, pyruvic acid and amino azelaic acid. This peel is formulated for lighter-colored skin types that have experienced chemical peels and are ready to step up to this advanced peel. Patients can expect peeling within 2-3 days after the procedure; the peeling can continue for 7+ days.  Use of our Retinol Plus Smoothing Serum up to the day of the peel is what sets this peel apart. Most patients see a marked decrease in fine lines, brown spots and improved tone and texture after just two peels.

We invite you to call our office at 414-443-0033 to schedule a complimentary consultation with Karen or Deedee to discuss which kind of chemical peel is best for your individual lifestyle and skin type.

Care and Treatment

  • It is important to prepare the skin for 2-6 weeks prior to chemical peeling, in order to obtain optimal results. This will involve use of several skin care products, sunscreen, and sun avoidance.
  • Superficial or “spot” peels may be performed in the office, and require no time off work. Medium-depth peels may or may not require intravenous sedation. Deep peels are performed under intravenous conscious sedation as an outpatient procedure.
  • The treated skin will usually begin to peel 2-5 days after the procedure. Peeling will usually start around the mouth and chin, and work its way up and out – ending with forehead and hairline. Continue to wash the areas gently with a mild cleanser, and pat dry with a soft towel.
  • A moisturizer can be used to make the peeling less visible, and to help eliminate a dry or tight feeling that may accompany peeling. The moisturizer can be applied as soon as  the flaking begins. Do not pick at or peel off the loose skin; allow it to slough as you cleanse your face.
  • When peeling is complete, and the new skin is present, moisturizers can be applied as needed. Concealing makeup may be applied once peeling is complete.
  • Superficial peels can be reapplied every few weeks, and require no time off work. Deeper peels require a few days to 1-2 weeks off work.
  • It is absolutely essential that patients avoid sun exposure (before and) after peeling procedures; the depth of the peel determines the length of time. Daily use of a sunscreen (SPF 30) is recommended.
  • Once you have reached  the point where you are happy with the appearance of your skin, skin evaluation and maintenance peels four times per year is recommended.

Care and Treatment for Deeper Peels

  • If conscious sedation is used during the peeling procedure, patients must have someone drive them home and stay with them for the first night.
  • Bandages may be placed over the face following a deep peel, but generally no dressings are used and the treated area is left open to the air.
  • Patients will be required to cleanse their face twice daily with mild soap and water. Gently blot the area dry. A thin layer of antibiotic ointment is used over the treated areas of deeper peels.
  • Areas of weeping (clear, yellow drainage) may develop. It is important to avoid picking at any dry, scabbed, or open areas as this will lead to scarring and hyperpigmentation.
  • When healing is complete, moisturizing lotion can be applied as needed. Concealing makeup may be applied once peeling is complete.
  • It is absolutely essential that patients avoid sun exposure (before and) after peeling procedures. Daily use of a sunscreen (SPF 30) is recommended once healing has occurred.