Chemical peels and your skin
Chemical peels can improve the skin's appearance. In this treatment, a chemical solution is applied to the skin, which makes it dry and eventually it peels off. The new skin is usually smoother and less wrinkled than the old skin.
Chemical peels can be done on the face, neck, or hands. They can be used to:
- reduce fine lines under the eyes and around the mouth
- treat wrinkles caused by sun damage and ageing
- improve the appearance of mild scars
- treat certain types of acne
- reduce age spots, freckles, and dark patches (melasma) due to pregnancy or taking birth control pills
- improve the look and feel of skin
Areas of sun damage may improve after chemical peeling.
After a chemical peel, the skin is temporarily more sensitive to the sun, so wear sunscreen every day. It should say "broad-spectrum" on the label, meaning it protects against the sun's UVA and UVB rays. Also, it should be a physical sunscreen and be above SPF 30. Limit your time in the sun, especially between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., and wear a wide-brimmed hat.
Who is a good candidate for a chemical peel?
Generally, fair-skinned and light-haired patients are better candidates for chemical peels. If you have darker skin, you may also have good results, depending upon the type of problem being treated. However, you also may be more likely to have an uneven skin tone after the procedure.
Skin sags, bulges, and more severe wrinkles do not respond well to chemical peels. They may need other kinds of cosmetic surgical procedures, such as laser resurfacing, a facelift, brow lift, eyelid lift, or soft tissue filler (collagen or fat). A dermatologic surgeon can help determine the most appropriate type of treatment for you.