Sun damage is responsible for most of the fine lines of aging found around the eyes and mouth. The appearance of these lines can be significantly improved by the removal of these damaged layers of skin. Chemical peels can also even out pigmentation changes in the skin and remove pre-cancerous lesions.
Types of Peels
- Light Peels
Light peels use alpha hydroxyacids; naturally occurring acids found in fruits and some other foods. These alpha hydroxyacids are used for treating dry skin, acne, liver or sun-damage spots. A light peel can lessen the appearance of fine facial wrinkles, reduce pore size and improve the texture of older or sun-damaged skin. Light peels are generally performed in a series of six to eight treatments done about two or three weeks apart. The effects of the peel are generally mild with redness that lasts a day or two.
- Medium Peels
These peels are generally done using trichloroacetic acid. This peel works on deeper layers of skin and is performed once every two to three years. In addition to the skin effects of light peels, a medium peel can remove deeper wrinkles and precancerous lesions. The after effects of a medium peel are more pronounced with redness (resembling a severe sunburn) that may last a week or more.
- Deep Peels
Deep peels are not done as often as the other types of peels. The most common chemical used for deeps peels is Phenol and it can cause heart rhythm problems if absorbed through the skin. As the name suggests these peels treat much deeper layers of skin and skin damage. Besides the risk of heart problems these peels must be used cautiously as they cause permanent whitening of the skin and have a much longer recovery time; as much as one to two months in some cases. They are not recommended for dark skinned individuals.
When any type of peel is done, the treated skin will require protection from the effects of the sun. Use sunscreen whenever going outside and use clothing and hats to protect the skin. Drink adequate amounts of water to keep the skin well hydrated.