When and How are chemical peels used in the face?

Chemical peels, dermabrasion and resurfacing skin lasers all work in a similar fashion by removing the outer layer of the skin to produce the end result. Chemical peels can be very gentle, medium or deep. How and when chemical peels are used depends to a significant degree on the experience of the surgeon and also on the skin type of the individual. Advice will be different for those individuals with fair skin from those with darker complexion.

Peels are available in the high street clinics and these often use glycolic acid or are called fruit acid peels; these are gentle but then make only modest and often temporary improvement. I use trichloroacetic acid which is a more powerful agent and so needs experience to be used effectively. Different strengths of peel will be used for different areas of the face and for achieving differing aims. For some people the skin will need to be prepared or primed for the peel to be optimally effective and to avoid problems with the sometimes seen side effects such as changes to the pigmentation of the skin.

Peels can be used for improving acne scars, for wrinkles, for improving the complexion, potentially to remove pigmented or age spots in the skin and they can be used outside the face in the décolletage area of the front of the chest and on the backs of the hands. Recently I have alsod use peels for deeper acne scars with a special technique called TCA CROSS and have found early results to be promising.

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