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Chemical Peels

Chemical peels are an effective way to improve the appearance of skin on the face, neck, and hands. They can be used to improve specific skin concerns as well as provide overall rejuvenation. Chemical peels can be used to:

  • Brighten dull or lifeless skin
  • Improve skin texture
  • Smooth out fine lines around the eyes
  • Minimize wrinkles and lines around the lips
  • Improve the appearance of mild scarring
  • Lighten freckles, age spots, and other areas of dark pigmentation

How Chemical Peels Work

Chemical peels work by removing superficial layers of skin to allow new layers of skin to grow in their place. After the skin is cleansed, Dr. Westreich will apply a chemical solution to the targeted area or to specific smaller areas for spot treatment. During the peel, you’ll experience a burning sensation, followed by a stinging sensation. This indicates that the chemical is penetrating the skin and working to remove the targeted layers of skin. Pain medications or cold compresses may be used to manage pain during and after the chemical peel but are not usually required. Once the skin is removed, the body will repair the “wound” using its natural regenerative processes. Over the coming days and weeks, new skin will grow, resulting in a fresher, healthier appearance and a reduction in lines, dark spots, and/or scarring.

Types of Chemical Peels

Dr. Westreich offers different types of chemical peels, each designed to treat skin concerns at varying depths in the skin. Examples of commonly performed peels are Glycolic acid and Trichloracetic acid (TCA) peels.

Glycolic acid peels consist of a naturally derived alpha hydroxyl acid (AHA) and are used to remove only the very top layers of the skin. After the treatment, patients can resume normal activities immediately. They may experience some minor redness after the treatment and see some flaking as the outer layers peel away. To achieve optimal results, Dr. Westreich usually recommends that patients have these peels done every 6 weeks for 3 – 6 months.

Trichloracetic acid (TCA) is used for medium depth peels. This type of peel provides more dramatic results, but requires 5 – 10 days of downtime afterwards to allow your skin to heal. TCA peels can be given in varying strengths (20-35%), depending on the depth of treatment required. With lighter peels, multiple treatments (commonly 2-3) are typically necessary. With stronger TCA peels, one treatment is usually sufficient but longer healing is required.

Caring for Skin After a Chemical Peel

After your peel, your skin may appear sunburned. It may be slightly pink or red and may feel tender to the touch. With deeper layer peels, the reaction is more pronounced. Peeling of the old skin typically starts 2-3 days after the peel and continues for several days, depending on peel strength. Dr. Westreich will provide you with guidelines on how to care for your skin based upon the type of peel you receive. For all chemical peels, it is crucial that you protect your skin from the sun after a peel, as the new skin will be more susceptible to sun damage as it is growing. The best approach is to avoid prolonged sun exposure completely for at least 2 months following the peel. When sun exposure is unavoidable, be sure to apply sunscreen with SPF 30 or above and wear a hat to protect your skin.


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