Facial peels are very effective for smoothing fine lines and wrinkles, and for treating some superficial discoloration of the facial skin such as age spots. The most commonly used agent for this purpose is a medium strength solution called TCA (trichloroacetic acid).
While some people with darker skin tones may not be good candidates for this procedure, a medium chemical peel can be performed in the office on patients with most skin types. They may also be repeated every three to six months for maximal results.
In order to prepare for your chemical peel, your doctor may recommend a skin preparation regimen that includes creams such as retin-A, hydroquinone, or alpha hydroxy acid. This pre-treatment skin care is usually used for 4-6 weeks prior to the peel and helps speed recovery, lower risks of post-treatment skin discoloration, and promotes a better and longer lasting result.
Recovery consists of a 4-7 day period of painless flaking or peeling of the skin that usually starts as redness and progresses on to darkening and cracking of the treated skin prior to actual peeling. Once this process is complete, patients can start applying make-up to camouflage any residual redness in the treatment area. A bland healing ointment is usually applied to the treated area in the post- treatment period.
Most medium chemical peels last anywhere from 6 months to 2 years depending on the skin type and pre/post treatment skin regimen.
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