Chemical peeling involves applying chemicals to the skin for a short duration to remove the outer layers of skin, which in turn helps to improve its function & appearance.
It can be very superficial, medium or deep. We use several peeling agents at our centres either alone or in combination, depending on the problem and skin sensitivity.
What does chemical peeling do?
A professional chemical peeling would
- Reduce or remove red spots or blemishes;
- Rejuvenate the skin from sun damage;
- Manage acne;
- Lighten the skin tone;
- Improve collagen (a building block of skin tissues) growth;
- It removes age spots.
- Faster Recovery/Results;
- It is suitable for all skin types.
Chemical Peel Before and After
Types of chemical peeling
The most commonly used peel at our clinic is the Glycolic Acid (GA) peel, safe for all skin types. Peels are helpful to treat acne, acne scars, pigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles, besides pepping up dull looking and rough skin.
Salicylic acid peels help to reduce oily skin, acne, post-acne pigmentation and open pores. TCA or trichloroacetic acid peels are helpful to treat freckles, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and melasma.
Combination peels include:
- Arginine peels (arginine and lactic acid).
- Lactic acid and retinol.
- Pyruvic peels.
- Citric acid.
- Kojic acid.
- Modified Jessner’s peel and lactic acid and kojic peels.
These peels are performed at 10-15 days and are usually combined with microdermabrasion for better results.
How will you prepare the skin for chemical peeling?
Before getting a chemical peel, some patients need to follow a pre-peel skin care plan for 2 to 4 weeks. This plan can improve results and reduce potential side effects. Your dermatologist will advise you if this is necessary.
How is it done?
The first step is to prepare the skin for the treatment. It includes washing your skin with a gentle cleanser followed by cleaning the skin with acetone or surgical spirit. And this will be removed using a gauze soaked in normal saline.
The skin over sensitive areas like corners of the eyes, nose and mouth will be protected using Vaseline.
After you are prepped, the peel will be applied using a brush quickly and evenly. It will start from the forehead, followed by the cheeks, chin, nose and lastly around the eyes.
Your doctor will oversee your skin, making sure to remove the peel with a neutralizer or water at just the right time.
The contact time varies from peel to peel (ranges from 2 – 5 minutes usually). If you develop burning or severe stinging, your doctor will abort the procedure without delay.
After the peel comes off, your skin will be treated as needed. Patients who get a medium peel may need cool compresses followed by a lotion or cream to soothe their skin.
What to expect after the treatment
Superficial peel (mild peels)
Healing time: 1 to 7 days. During this period, you’ll notice red skin. Once the redness disappears, scaling may develop, which lasts 3 to 7 days.
At-home care: Apply lotion or cream as suggested by your doctor until the skin heals, followed by daily use of sunscreen.
When to put on makeup?: Usually immediately after the peel, but sometimes the next day.
Follow-up visit: 3 to 5 peels may be necessary to give you the desired results. These peels may be repeated every 2 to 5 weeks.
Healing time: 7 to 14 days. During this period, you’ll notice your skin to be red and swollen. And the swelling may worsen for upto 48 hours. Your eyelids may swell as well. At the same time, blisters can form and break open too. However, skin crusts and peels off in 7 to 14 days.
At-home care: Your doctor may recommend soaking the treated area daily for a specific period. Please make sure you apply ointment after each soak. You are advised to take antiviral medication for 10 to 14 days as prescribed. Apply lotion or cream as well. Until your skin heals, avoid direct sunlight or sun exposure.
When to put on makeup: You can wear camouflaging makeup after 5 to 7 days.
Follow-up visit: Please do visit your doctor after two weeks.
Use the moisturizer as directed to keep your skin moist and supple. If your skin dries and cracks, it can scar.
Rubbing or scratching skin treated with a chemical peel can cause an infection. If your skin burns, itches, or swells, contact your dermatologist.
Do not use a tanning bed or other type of indoor tanning. Otherwise, your skin will not heal properly.
Once your skin heals, make sure to apply sunscreen daily to help maintain results.
Is there social downtime?
There is no social downtime after a mild peel as there won’t be any noticeable changes on the skin. After a medium peel, you will have to rest for 5-7 days. First 1-2 days, your skin will become very dry and appear dark. After that, the skin will start peeling slowly and will be completed within 4-5 days.
When will I see the results?
The result will be seen after 3-5 sessions for a mild peel, whereas your skin will appear bright immediately after a medium depth peel.
How long will the results last?
Most results are not permanent because our skin continues to develop, pimples, pigmentation and ageing changes. However, if you continue the maintenance treatments advised by your dermatologist, you can prolong the results.
What are the possible side effects?
In the hands of a doctor who has experience with chemical peels, side effects tend to be mild.
Some patients develop persistent redness along the treated area of the skin that may last for a few months. Others may see a temporary darkening of the skin or lighter skin colour (usually for medium and deep peels). Few would notice scarring, however very rare if a dermatologist performs the procedure.
Please do follow your dermatologist’s instructions to avoid any severe side effects.
Your risk of developing an infection or scarring increase dramatically if you:
- Fail to protect your skin from the sun.
- Fail to care for your wound as instructed.
- Scratch the treated skin or pick off a scab.
- Apply makeup before your skin heals.
- Don’t heed your dermatologist’s advice and use a tanning bed or other type of indoor tanning.
When to repeat chemical peel?
To get optimum results, you can repeat mild and medium chemical peels at an interval of 2-4 weeks. Your dermatologist may advise you how often you can have maintenance sessions depending on your skin condition.