The term “chemical peel” can be a bit intimidating, and you might be wondering what to expect. While it’s easy to get anxious about trying something new, it’s not a bad idea to prepare yourself for what’s to come from your first chemical peel.
Chemical peels are a very effective way to reduce the effects of many cosmetic and medical skin conditions. A chemical peel, as you may have guessed, uses chemicals to remove the superficial layers of your skin. A chemical peel most often uses either salicylic or glycolic acid depending on your skin type and the condition in question. Acids like these are irritants, which are used to damage the topmost layers of your skin. Once skin is damaged and some days have passed, skin will begin to flake and peel, giving this procedure its name.
Sometimes a facial just isn’t strong enough for a cosmetic condition like acne or rosacea. Many times, a chemical peel is the best way to supplement a lot of skin care treatments that your dermatologist recommends. Salicylic acid peels are most often used to treat acne. While there are many ways to treat acne, a salicylic acid peel is often used because it delivers extraordinary results quickly when compared to other treatments and medications. Most often, chemical peels are applied in addition to other, long-term treatments like isotretinoin or antibiotics. When acne is severe, chemical peels can be a real game changer. Salicylic acid works best for acne because it’s anti-inflammatory and helps to clear up oily skin. In addition to acne, acne scars caused by severe acne can benefit from chemical peels as well. When the old skin peels off, fresh and healthy skin grows in its place, helping to smooth out the indentations and discoloration of acne scars.
Sometimes, the many visible symptoms of rosacea can be cleared up by chemical peels. Rosacea is characterized by a reddening of the face around the cheeks and nose, but can cause other problems as well. Acne-like lesions and extreme build-up of skin around the nose are two other, less-common rosacea symptoms. All of these cosmetic issues can benefit from the rejeuvenating effects of a chemical peel. On the purely cosmetic side of things, wrinkles and fine lines like crow’s feet, laugh lines, and other signs of aging all benefit from a chemical peel. When new skin grows in dead skin’s place, that skin often has more collagen and other necessary proteins for eliminating wrinkles and fading lines.
Now that you’re more familiar with how a chemical peel works, you might be a bit less anxious to try it yourself. Preparing for and experiencing your first chemical peel is not difficult. The process is similar to a facial. Your dermatologist will apply a solution to your skin, leaving it for a predetermined amount of time. Sometimes, your doctor may give you a solution to apply at home the night before your chemical peel. This can help the peel work more effectively the following day. Once in the office, your doctor will cleanse your skin of dirt and oils. Once clean, it’s time to apply the chemical solution. There is not often any discomfort from the application, but sometimes you may feel a slight burning sensation. After a set amount of time, your dermatologist will apply a new solution to neutralize the acid and then remove both solutions. Often, they will then apply cool compresses to your face to help soothe any burning you may feel. The process is not meant to be painful or uncomfortable at all, but since these substances are somewhat harsh, some discomfort is possible. Most chemical peels take less than a half hour from start to finish, and like facials, they can be quite relaxing.
Chemical peels sound daunting, but in reality they’re a quick and easy treatment for many skin conditions, big and small. If you’re interested in resolving a cosmetic or medical skin issue, reach out to the doctors you can trust at Northeast Dermatology Associates.
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