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Chemical Peels

Chemical Peels in Chicago

As the name implies it is a chemical (technically a low-level, safe acid), which is applied to the skin of the face and/or body. There are so many variations of the chemical peel that entire books have been written on the subject.

We’ll try to simplify it here. You may have seen that your local hair salon or spa offers chemical peels. These are extremely mild peels, which do serve a purpose, but the more intermediate and deep peels, which exert the best results, are usually performed by qualified, licensed and trained medical cosmetic practitioners.

What are the key benefits of chemical peels?

Chemical peels are a single, safe procedure that actually turn back the clock by peeling away the old skin to entice new, thicker and richer skin. This process promotes enhanced collagen and elastin synthesis in the dermis and epidermis where the initial aging signs are seen. The goal is to beautify the appearance, texture and homogeneity and eliminate uneven discoloration, brown spots, scars and fine wrinkles.

What conditions can chemical peels treat?

  • Signs of aging
  • Sun damage
  • Reduce acne scars
  • Shrink pores
  • Skin dryness and blotchiness
  • Gravitational changes of laxity and tightness of skin
  • Eliminate brown discolorations
  • Eliminate actinic keratosis
  • Improve melasma
  • Improve surgical or traumatic scars
  • Renew skin appearance to a healthy glow
  • Remove precancerous skin lesions

Where can the peel be applied?

Chemical peels can be applied to the entire face or segment of the face, such as under the eyes only or scars on the face, along with deep furrows or specific aging lines. Our experience has shown it is better to peel the entire face so there is homogeneous change, without any skin tone discrepancy.

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However, chemical peels are not just limited to the face and neck, although they are the most commonly peeled anatomical entities. The peel can also be applied to almost any other part of the body, most commonly the torso and anywhere stretch marks have developed.

Types of Chemical Peels

There are many types and names of chemical peels, however simply put, peels can be divided into three categories depending on the depth of penetration (depth of penetration into the dermis — skin).

  • mild
  • intermediate
  • deep

The stronger the acid, the deeper the is chemical peeling. Consequently, the deeper the acid penetrates the skin, the more intense the reaction, the longer the duration of the downtime and the more formidable the final result.

Which Peel is Best For Me?

Since there are many kinds, as well as many concentrations of chemicals utilized in chemical peels, the art and science of chemical peeling is not as simple as it seems. However, a cosmetic practitioner with years of experience should be the only one trusted to recommend a peel, or a combination of peels, that fit your needs and goals.

Below are some general guidelines:

For Active Acne – Peels that contain salicylic acid are best indicated for active acne with blackheads and whiteheads.

For Acne Scars – Depending on the skin type, glycolic acid or TCA acid peels are best for treating acne scars.

For a Healthy Skin Glow – Glycolic acid, mandelic acid, lactic acid, salicylic acid, or combination acids, such as in Jessner peel are best for that healthy skin glow. But, again, only trust experience medical professionals to come up with a combination of peels.

For Sun Damaged Skin – Glycolic acid, TCA, croton-phenol oil peel, or any combination of these are best for sun damaged skin.

For Skin Tightening – For the face, usually the deeper peels are the best, such as TCA or croton oil peels.

For Melasma – Melasma is a difficult condition to treat. Serial chemical peels with a mixture of formulas are the best, such as kojic acid, retinoic acid and glycolic acid peels.

For the Neck – The neck skin is thin, so it’s best to treat the neck with milder chemical peels. Milder and gentle appeals are preferred. Aggressive peels are contraindicated.

For the Body – There are various formulas for body peels, but the most common acid is glycolic acid.

For Feet & Hands – Signs of aging of the hands and feet can be treated by serial, gentle chemical peels with astonishing results. Keeping up with regular chemical peels can result in baby-smooth skin of the feet and hands.

What are some of the common MILD chemical peels?

Usually these are fruit/organic acids:

  • Salicylic acid, which is a beta hydroxy acid extracted from citrus fruits
  • Glycolic acid, which is an alpha hydroxy acid extracted from sugarcane
  • Lactic acid, which is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) extracted from sour milk
  • Kojic acid, which is extracted from a special Japanese mushroom
  • Azelaic acid, which is a dicarboxylic acid found in wheat
  • Mandelic acid, which is a alpha hydroxy acid extracted from bitter almonds

It is important to note that these peels come in various concentrations. The higher the concentration, the deeper the peeling. For example, a 17% glycolic acid peel will have a much milder recovery course and outcome than a 70% glycolic acid peel.

What are some of the common intermediate and deep peels?

Common intermediate chemical peels: The most common intermediate peel is the trichloroacetic acid, more commonly known as the TCA peel.

Common deep chemical peelsDeep phenol peels and croton-phenol oil peelsare the most common deep chemical peels.

What is a Phenol Peel?

Phenol peel, also known as croton oil peel. The combination of phenol and croton oil constitutes the strongest of the chemical solutions and produces a deep peel. It is used mainly to treat patients with coarse skin, advanced sun damage, skin discoloration, deep wrinkles and/or precancerous skin lesions. Even though the post peel redness usually lingers two to four weeks, the results are amazing and cannot be achieved with anything else.

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Dr. Leon Forrester Tcheupdjian

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the recommended aftercare for a face peel?

To protect, moisturise, and promote rapid healing, followed by prevention of sun damage medically known as solar elastosis, we recommend our medical grade skincare line.

Some of the products we recommend are:

Regen cleanser ™ and Toner
Solaris ™ UVA blockers
Dermabella ™
Night STEM ™
C-Zone Serum ™ or C-Bright ™
Radiant Lift ™ or Radiant Lift Max ™
Eye Zone ™ or Eye Bright Gelee ™
Derma Bright ™
Amino Lift ™

What is the cost of a chemical peel?

Chemical peels range in price from $150 to $3000 per treatment, depending on which treatment you choose and its depth.

What procedures can be done concurrently with a chemical peel?

Many patients choose to have a diamond tip microdermabrasion of the face or the body along with their chemical peel.

Chemabrasion is the name for the procedure that utilizes a combination of microdermabrasion and a chemical peel in the same session. The microdermabrasion scrapes away the dead skin cells from the surface of the skin, allowing the chemical peel to penetrate the dermis more effectively.

Do I need to take certain medication prior to or after a chemical peel?

Cold sore prevention is mandatory, hence we prescribe preventative antiviral medication. Retinoic acid creams, antibiotic and anti-inflammatory creams are also prescribed.

Is a chemical peel painful?

The mild chemical peels sting for a short period of time, usually only for a few minutes. The deeper chemical peels are usually treated in conjunction with a topical anesthetic or oral sedative pills.

My hair salon offers chemical peels. Why can’t I just get on there?

No matter how mild the chemical peel is, there is always a danger of allergic reaction, discoloration, and accidental adverse reactions. Hence, the presence of medically qualified personnel who can handle contingencies and emergencies is very important.

How many sessions do I need?

Most patients require 1 or 2 chemical peel sessions, usually 2-4 weeks apart, to achieve desired results. It really depends on the severity of the condition being treated and your treatment goals.

How soon can results be noticed or seen?

Results can be seen in about a week (normally), once the old skin has completely peeled away and the new, flawless, young, pink skin is revealed. Please note that your skin is developing new collagen and elastin in the ensuing 3-4 weeks, so the benefits are long-term.

How will I look after the chemical peel?

No matter how deep the peel is, the sequence of events on your skin is similar. Initially, there is redness, followed by darkening of the skin, cracking of the skin, separation of the dead skin cells, and mild to profuse peeling. This is followed by heating and skin rejuvenation.

The skin that replaces the old skin is pink, smooth, and perfect, but it must be protected from the sun, especially in the 2 weeks following treatment.

Normal skin color will gradually return. You will notice that new, refreshed skin has improved the texture, quality, and appearance of your skin.

Why are there so many names for chemical peels?

If the peel contains only a single acid, such as glycolic acid, then the name of the peel will be the glycolic acid peel. If the chemical peel solution is composed of multiple acids then the name may be different, and often carries the name of the inventor of the formula, such as the Jessner Peel.

Sometimes, the peel is named after the condition it treats, such as the “melasma peel”. Furthermore, any medical practitioner can create his/her own name for any procedure. Just a few things to keep in mind when deciding which peel is best for you.

How long do the results of a chemical peel last?

The results of a chemical peel in Chicago are permanent, but remember that the clock is ticking and new wrinkles, new blemishes, new changes in skin tone can appear anytime, especially with prolonged exposure to the sun.

How long does a peel take?

A chemical peel treatment usually takes 15-30 minutes.

What are the side effects?

Side effects of chemical peels are usually mild, short-lived tingling, stinging sensation, redness and skin color changes, and sun sensitivity, especially during the two weeks immediately following the procedure. A temporary acne flare up may also occur.

What are the possible complications?

Tiny whiteheads may appear temporarily, as well as infection, scarring, flare-up of skin allergies, fever blisters, cold sores, abnormal color changes (permanent), and heart irregularities (rare). Skin color lightening is another potential complication of a chemical peel.

What type of downtime should I expect when getting a chemical peel?

Mild peels are usually followed by one to two days of redness, flaking, and peeling of the skin. Intermediate peels may see 3-4 days of the redness, flaking, and peeling. Peeling of the skin may ensue for up to one week with deeper peels. In all conditions, most patients return to work after a weekend of rest and sun avoidance.

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