A chemical peel is a technique used to improve the appearance of the skin on the face, neck, hands or chest. A chemical solution is applied to the skin that causes it to exfoliate and eventually peel off. The new skin is usually smoother and appears less wrinkled in appearance than the older skin. The new skin may be more sun sensitive and requires a higher level of care and protection. There are three basic types of chemical peels:
- Superficial Peel. Sometimes referred to as a “lunchtime peel”, a superficial peel uses a mild acid to penetrate only the outer layer of the skin to gently exfoliate it. This type of peel is used to refresh the face, neck, chest or hands.
- Medium Peel. A medium depth peel penetrates the skin more deeply than a superficial peel and may cause a second-degree burn of the skin. It is used to improve aging skin as well as smooth rough skin and treat some precancerous skin growths.
- Deep Peel. A high concentration of Trichlororacetic Acid (TCA) or Phenol is applied to deeply penetrate several layers of the skin to removed damaged skin cells. Deep peels are used to treat severe wrinkles, long-term sun damage, pronounced pigment changes, and lesions and growths on the skin. Patients may see dramatic results in skin appearance. This procedure must be done by a Doctor, is used only on the face, and may be performed only once. Deep peels are not done on darker skin types as a bleaching of the skin occurs.
Considerations before a Peel
Chemical peels of any strength have the capability of creating permanent damage to the skin if not properly administered. A thorough consultation examining all aspects of a person’s history is required by a medical or skin care expert.
The best candidates for a peel are light hair and fair skinned people, typically referred to as a Fitzpatrick I up to a Fitzpatrick II. The more color that is in the skin, the more possibility for damage to the skin exists.
Peels are not recommended for individuals with infections, active skin diseases, cuts or broken skin, sunburns or active Herpes Simplex. Peels are contraindicated for those individuals who:
- Are pregnant or nursing
- Have taken Accutane within the last six months (minimum)
- Have psoriasis, eczema, dermatitis or Rosacea
- Have used Retin-a or other prescription skin care products within the last 48 hours
Risks and Complications
In general, as peels go deeper into the skin, the risk of side effects and complications increases. All peels carry the risk of unwanted issues. The more common side effects from chemical peels are:
- Redness and swelling. Some redness is expected after a chemical peel. With deeper peels or certain skin types, redness can be severe and last several months.
- Color changes in the skin. Areas treated by a chemical peel may be darker or lighter than the surrounding areas. This can be permanent.
- Crusting and scaling. Can lead to scarring without the proper care.
- Swelling, especially around the eyes.
- Allergic reaction to the acid chemical used.
- People who have a history of herpes outbreaks are especially prone to infection after a chemical peel.
- Increased sensitivity to sunlight.
- In rare cases, deep peels using Phenol can cause more severe complications during the procedure, including damage to the heart, liver or kidneys.
Preparing for a Peel
If you and your medical or skin care expert decide that a peel is right for you, it is important to prepare the skin for a minimum of two weeks before the peel. Four weeks before a peel is a good amount of time to improve the health of the skin before a peel. This preparation will speed healing time as well as improve the results.
NeoGenesis recommends the use of Recovery, abundant in S²RM®, twice daily after cleansing for four weeks prior to a peel. Use Recovery all over the face and neck, including the eye area and around and on the lips. Recovery is very useful if you are prone to Herpes Simplex outbreaks. After Recovery, apply our Intensive Moisturizer with its hydrating and soothing capabilities. This protocol will naturally heal and nourish the skin leading to the best possible outcome and lessen the chance of unwanted side effects.
NeoGenesis after a Peel
The skin will be in a more sensitive and fragile state after a peel and must be handled with great care for the proper healing and to lessen any chance of complications.
After gentle cleansing of the skin, use Recovery twice daily, followed by Intensive Moisturizer. Recovery may be applied more frequently on any areas more sensitive following a peel. Use Intensive Moisturizer as needed to provide the hydration and barrier protection necessary for healing.
After two weeks, if skin is returning to a normal state, Skin Serum may be applied in the AM after cleansing, followed by Intensive Moisturizer. Continue the use of Recovery after cleansing in the PM, followed by Intensive Moisturizer. If additional hydration is needed in the PM, Skin Serum may be added to the routine, after Recovery and before Intensive Moisturizer.
When the skin is completely healed, Recovery may be used once daily or 3 to 4 times per week as a boost prior to any other product. Skin Serum is used after cleansing, followed by Intensive Moisturizer, twice daily.