Chemical peels remove damaged outer layers of skin on the face to smooth texture, reduce scarring, and remove blemishes to produce healthy, glowing skin.* There are three types of chemical peels, ranging from mild to strong—alphahydroxy acids (AHAs), trichloroacetic acid (TCA), and phenol—and formula strengths are tailored to each patient. Peels can be combined with other procedures such as facelifts for a younger look.
Anesthesia is not required because phenol and TCAs act as an anesthetic while AHAs produce only a slight stinging, though you may be given a sedative.
In an AHA peel, the skin is cleaned and the solution applied; there is no need for “after-peel” ointment or covering. During TCA and phenol peels, the skin is cleansed and a solution is applied which may cause a brief stinging sensation. Petroleum jelly or a waterproof adhesive tape may be put on the skin following a phenol treatment.
AHA peels can cause temporary stinging, redness, irritation, and flaking or crusting. Phenol and TCA peels can result in tingling or throbbing, reddened skin, a crust or scab, and significant swelling which lasts about a week, depending on the strength of the peel used. With phenol, your eyes may be swollen shut at first, and you may be put on a liquid diet and advised not to talk much. Any tape used is removed after a day or two. All procedures require adequate sun protection for your new skin.