Which Type of Chemical Peel is Right For You?

by Justin DiMateo

Posted on Wednesday 15th of October 2008

If you are considering cosmetic surgery to treat surface blemishes or discolorations on your skin, you will be happy to know that there are many treatments to choose from today. So how do you know which one is right for you? Read on for tips on how to choose a chemical peel that will leave your skin looking smoother, fresher and younger.

Chemical peel types fall into three basic categories. Superficial peels are designed to treat surface problems quickly and painlessly without the need for anesthetic or medication. However, these treatments are not the most effective option for many blemishes, especially those that go deeper than the skin's surface. Deep chemical peels will go through many layers of skin to get at the source of a problem, but they also carry a higher risk and a longer recovery time.

This is why most cosmetic surgery patients will choose a medium peel as the treatment of choice. This type of chemical peel will effectively treat fine lines, liver spots and other types of skin discoloration without a high risk of side effects and minimal discomfort. If a medium peel sounds like the best choice for your situation, the next step will be to talk to your doctor about the best kind of chemical to use to achieve the desired results.

The most common chemical used for a medium peel is trichloroacetic acid or TCA. TCA is the main solution used in these types of chemical peels because it can effectively remove the surface layer of skin without a high risk of complications. This chemical may be your doctor's first choice since it is used most often and doctors are fairly familiar with the types of results to expect.

Another chemical that is getting used more and more often in a chemical peel today is salicylic acid. This substance is found in many acne treatment formulas and also as a food preservative. However, while concentrations found in acne treatments is less than 5%, the concentration used for this type of chemical peel is as high as 20-30%. Overall, chemical peels using salicylic acid have had favorable results for patients, so this substance continues to be used for this purpose in many dermatologists' offices.

What to Expect

If you choose this type of chemical peel, treatment will actually begin a few weeks prior to your procedure. Your doctor will have you use a special moisturizer daily that will help prepare your skin for the peel. It will also be essential for you to wear sunscreen without fail in the days leading up to your chemical peel. On the day of the procedure, you may be given pain medication and a sedative to make you more comfortable during the peel. The process usually takes about 40 minutes to complete and four to seven days for the skin to heal.

This type of chemical peel can be effective for treating a range of skin imperfections and discolorations. If you are interested in learning more about this process and what it can do for you, make an appointment with a dermatologist or cosmetic surgeon to find out what your options are in chemical peels.

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