Chemical peels are used to improve the appearance of the skin. This type of treatment uses a chemical solution that is applied to the skin, which causes it to blister up. Eventually, this blistering peels off to reveal smoother and less wrinkled skin than the old skin. Chemical peels can be done on the face, neck, or hands. They are used to:
Chemical peels should be performed by a qualified doctor in an office or in a surgery center, though it is an outpatient procedure, which means no overnight stay is required. First, the skin is cleaned thoroughly; then one or more chemical solutions will be applied. These solutions include glycolic acid, trichloroacetic acid, salicylic acid, lactic acid, or carbolic acid. During the chemical peel, there can be a slight burning or stinging that occurs but should subside after 5 to 10 minutes. The skin will slough off, revealing younger-looking skin underneath. Peeling usually involves redness, followed by scaling that ends within three to seven days. Mild peels may be repeated at one- to four-week intervals until you get the look you’re after.
Depending upon the type of chemical peel, a reaction like a sunburn can occur following the procedure. You may require bandages for several days on the portion of the skin that was treated. After treatment, your skin will be fragile, and you’ll need to avoid the sun for several months. Peels may be repeated in 6 to 12 months, if necessary.