A Chemical Peel is a cosmetic treatment where a chemical solution is used to improve the texture of the skin by removing its damaged outer layers. It helps improve the appearance of scars, facial blemishes, wrinkles, uneven skin pigmentation and age spots.
Chemical peel treatment doesn't require anesthesia and a full face peel usually takes no more than 20 minutes. The chemical solution is applied to the surface of the skin which leads to the careful removal of its outer layers.
Compared to other forms of cosmetic treatment, the side effects of facial peels are relatively mild. The most common issues after a chemical peel are dryness, redness and flaky skin. A facial peel essentially burns the top layer of skin from your face, so a little skin irritation is to be expected.
The true nature of your condition after a facial peel will be determined by the level of chemical peel you have. The deeper the peel, the more skin that will be removed, and the greater the side effects will be afterwards.
Superficial facial peels are the lightest form of chemical peel you can have. Side effects are fairly mild and irritation will be on the low side. Most patients can resume their daily activities immediately after the procedure. However, exposure to the sun should be avoided to allow the skin to heal.
Medium peels will produce considerably more redness as well as patches of flaky skin. This deeper form of facial peel requires a longer time to recover from. Sun exposure should be avoided for at least eight week after the procedure.
And finally, deep peels are the strongest form of facial peel available. They typically produce considerable dryness, redness, and often swelling of the face. Patients may also experience seepage from the skin as it crusts over. After a deep peel your skin will be sensitive for at least six weeks. Redness may continue for many weeks after that. Sun exposure should be avoided for several months to give your face the best chance to heal properly.
Cost and prices
The price of a chemical peel in the UK range from approximately £60 per session for mild glycolic peels, up to £600 upwards for a course of Trichloroacetic acids (TCA) peels. For some of the most advanced chemical peels available, expect to pay in the region of £2,000.
NHS, private or abroad
Chemical peels are a purely cosmetic treatment and therefore unavailable on the NHS. However the treatment is widely available at most private cosmetic surgery clinics in the UK and abroad.
Risks and side effects
Most chemical peel patients experience few, if any, side effects from their treatment. Mild redness and dryness of the skin is common but usually fades very quickly.
However, deep facial peels will cause considerably greater levels of redness and irritation. Many deep facial patients may find that their face forms a crust with large areas of flaky, or even, oozing skin.
A small percentage of facial peel patients an adverse reaction to the treatment. In such instances, considerable swelling can ease to reveal permanent discoloration or blotchiness of the skin. This can be very difficult to rectify, even with further cosmetic procedures.
Although these side effects are often unforeseen and unavoidable reactions to the chemicals used, they are sometimes caused by poor treatment. This is why it's essential to find the best clinic or surgeon that you can afford. The more skill and experience a chemical peel practitioner has, the less likely you will be left with an unsatisfactory result.
If you are thinking about having a facial peel, you need to decide if you are willing to take the extra risk, and endure the extra irritation and recovery time, for a more effective, longer lasting result. Deeper peels mean better results but at the cost of more downtime and an increased risk of complications. Superficial peels are safer and less intense but may not be as effective. The choice is yours.
Although chemical peels are most commonly used as an anti-aging treatment, they are also useful for dealing with facial acne. When performed properly, peels can significantly improve the facial appearance of an acne sufferers. The procedure effectively removes the acne damaged top layer of skin to reveal a blemish free layer below.
There are a number of types of chemical peel used in the treatment of acne. Lighter peels can be used to successfully treat minor acne damage. Such procedures cause little skin irritation, and recovery times are very short.
Stronger peels such as trichloroacetic acid can produce deeper, longer lasting results but recovery will be longer. Although it's tempting to opt for as strong a peel as possible in order to achieve the best results, it's worth remembering that a chemical peel essentially burns the skin from your face. There may be few known side effects of such treatment, but do you really want to remove any more skin than you need to?
Chemical peels are by no means a solution for all types of acne. It should be treated very much in a case by case manner. Severe or active cases of acne may not be suitable for a facial peel. Such treatment works best on mild or dormant cases of the condition. Your medical practitioner should first examine your skin to assess whether a chemical peel will help.
Although most clinics can be trusted to tell you the truth, some will undoubtedly recommend a chemical peel when in fact the procedure will make very little difference to your acne. This is why ist's so important to obtain opinions from at least three clinics or skin specialists. This helps avoid spending your money on unsuitable treatment.
In many cases, a clinic may suggest combining a chemical peel with another procedure to address an acne problem. Whilst microdermabrasion, laser resurfacing, or dermal fillers may help in some cases, always think carefully before agreeing to extra treatment. More procedures don't just mean more money, they also mean a greater chance of complications.
Questions to ask
As with all forms of cosmetic treatment, a chemical peel is not a risk-free procedure. The treatment can have bad results as well as good.
It's easy to think that because a chemical peel is a non-surgical procedure, you don't need to worry about it so much. Whilst it's true that chemical peel complications are relatively minor compared to a face lift or tummy tuck, things can still go wrong. It's therefore vital to choose a good clinic to reduce the chances of this happening to you.
Use the internet to identify three or four of the best clinics in your area. Make appointments with each of these specialists to find out what they have to offer. Most clinics offer free initial consultations so it wont' cost you a penny.
These consultations are the perfect time to ask all the questions you may have about the procedure, the surgeon, the aftercare and so on. There are many sensible questions to ask, but perhaps the most important are as follows:
What is your experience in performing chemical peels?
How many procedures did you carry out last year?
What training have you had for performing facial peels?
What are the risks involved in this procedure?
How long will the procedure take?
What will my recovery period be from a facial peel?
What happens if I an unhappy with the results, or there is a problem with my treatment?
have you received any formal complaints from dissatisfied patients?
What is the rate of complications that you experience with facial peels?
Can I see written testimonials from satisfied facial peel patients?
Can I see before and after photographs of your patients?
Is medical treatment abroad a good idea or is it less safe than in the UK?