Chemical peel uses a chemical solution to improve and smooth the texture of the facial skin by removing its damaged outer layers. It is helpful for those individuals with facial blemishes, wrinkles and uneven skin pigmentation. Phenol, trichloroacetic acid (TCA) and alphahydroxy acids (AHAs) are commonly used for this purpose. The precise formula used may be adjusted to meet each patient’s needs.
Alphahydroxy Acids (AHAs) such as glycolic, lactic or fruit acids are the mildest of the peel formulas and produce light peels. These types of peels can provide smoother, brighter-looking skin for people who can’t spare the time to recover from a Phenol or TCA peel. AHA peels may be used to treat fine wrinkling, areas of dryness, uneven pigmentation and acne. Various concentrations of an AHA may be applied weekly or at longer intervals to obtain the best result. An alphahydroxy acid such as glycolic acid, can also be mixed with a facial wash or cream in lesser concentrations as part of a daily skin-care regimen to improve the skin’s texture.
Trichloroacetic Acid (TCA) can be used in many concentrations, but is most commonly used for medium-depth peeling. Fine surface wrinkles, superficial blemishes and pigment problems are commonly treated with TCA. The results of a TCA peel are usually less dramatic than and not as long-lasting as those of a Phenol peel. Infact, more than one TCA peel may be needed to achieve the desired result. The recovery from a TCA peel is usually shorter than a Phenol peel.
Phenol is the strongest of the chemical solutions and produces a deep peel. It is used mainly to treat customers with coarse facial wrinkles, areas of blotchy or damaged skin caused by sun exposure or pre-cancerous growths. Since Phenol sometimes lightens the treated areas, your skin pigmentation may be a determining factor as to whether or not this is an appropriate treatment for you. Phenol is primarily used on the face; scarring may result if it is applied to the neck or other body areas.