Wednesday, January 4, 2012

All about Chemical Peels!

 Chemical peels treat a host of skin problems including acne, discolorations and fine lines and wrinkles. The treatment involves a liquid chemical formula (usually containing some sort of acid) applied to the skin, which causes the removal of the damaged outer layer of skin and leaves softer, smoother skin. These procedures take less than an hour to perform, usually with minimal discomfort during the treatment, and may require as little as a few days or up to several weeks of recovery time, depending on the strength of the peel.
There are a variety of chemical peels offered today, which allows you and your skin care specialist to partner together to find the best formula for your specific needs. Come in for a free skin care consultation with our licensed estheticians at Plush Medical Spa, and they can talk with you and evaluate your skin's individual needs. 

Plush's list of the top five chemical peels, from the lightest to the deepest peel available:

1) Alpha Hydroxy Acid Peels
Alpha hydroxy acids, also known as AHAs, are one of the most popular ingredients in a mild chemical peel. Glycolic and lactic acid are the most common AHA used for this purpose. AHA peels rarely need any sort of anesthetic to perform, and the discomfort during and after the procedure is minimal. This peel is typically used to reduce the appearance of fine lines, smooth rough skin and produce a more even skin tone. 

Glycolic acid (extracted from sugar cane)
Lactic acid (extracted from milk)
Malic acid (extracted from pears and apples)
Citric acid (extracted from oranges and lemons)
Tartaric acid (extracted from grapes)

Lighter chemical peels for acne do not require much recovery time, although it is normal for people to experience slight redness and irritation and may also experience some crusting which will eventually subside as the body adjusts to the treatment. The peeling is similar to sunburn. Most people can continue their normal activities. Make-up can be applied a few hours after the procedure. These lighter chemical peel treatments are usually repeated every six weeks and patients generally undergo five to eight light chemical peels to achieve optimal results.

2) Beta Hydroxy Acid Peels
The most common beta hydroxy acid used in chemical peels is salicylic acid. This substance is also frequently used in acne products, which is why salicylic chemical peels are often used to treat acne-prone skin. Salicylic acid is more potent than glycolic acid, so it provides a slightly deeper chemical peel with longer lasting results. Because beta hydroxy acid chemical peels are also considered mild resurfacing treatments, no anesthesia is needed and the recovery time after the procedure is relatively short. However, it may take more than one treatment session to achieve desired results, and the procedure will need to be repeated periodically to maintain softer, smoother skin.

Obagi Medical has created a new chemical peel called the Blue Peel Radiance. Often confused with Obagi's well-known Blue Peel (which is a TCA peel, see below), the Blue Peel Radiance can be used on any complexion and is suitable for most skin types, except those with severe Rosacea. Those with blemish prone skin, acne scars, wrinkles, unwanted pigmentation, scars, large pores, and sun damage are the most ideal candidates. Blue Peel Radiance fades hyperpigmentation (sun spots) well for darker complexions. As with other peels, it works by forcing dead skin cells up to the surface, then kick starting collagen production underneath. Moreover, a mixture of peel ingredients such as salicylic, glycolic, and lactic acids work to clean out pores and stimulate cell renewal.
  We at Plush love the Blue Peel Radiance and the glow it provides after just one peel. As with all light peels, there is almost no downtime and results improve with subsequent treatments. We highly recommend a series of 6 Blue Radiance peels followed the Obagi Nu-derm system with prescription-only tretinoin to maximize your skin transformation.

3) Jessner's Peel
Jessner's peel is actually a combination of ingredients mixed into a single formula. It is considered a light chemical peel that is slightly stronger than both the alpha and beta hydroxy formulas. Jessner's peel uses lactic acid, salicylic acid and resorcinol, which is also used in treating several skin conditions. It is applied to skin that is too damaged to respond well to an AHA peel, but does not require a medium to deep treatment. Jessner's peels are applied typically after the patient has used topical Retin-A cream (tretinoin) nightly for 2-3 weeks, and complete recovery after the treatment takes about a week.

4) TCA Peels
Medium chemical peels, usually trichloroacetic acid (TCA) chemical peels, provide more dramatic results than light chemical peels, and they don’t require as much extended recovery time as deep (phenol) peels. A medium chemical peel can be used to treat any area of the body and take only minutes to complete. Depending on the size of the area being treated, a medium chemical peel may take from 15 to 60 minutes to complete, though most treatments can be completed within 30 minutes.  

TCA can be used in many concentrations, but it is most commonly used for medium-depth peeling. It is ideal for the removal of acne scars, and for removing shallow tattoos and age spots. It is also recommended for large pores, but not for deep furrows. It helps remove the layers of dead skin that can cause acne infection to get blocked and releases the impurities allowing the skin to heal with a much healthier look. TCA chemical peel also helps increase the blood flow and circulation, which in turn stimulates your skin cells allowing them to rejuvenate and build up collagen and elastic fibers which strengthen the skin.
 The treatment is somewhat painful and treated areas may be swollen and red. The skin will tighten and crust, and begin to peel after several days. You must NOT pick the loose skin! It is strongly advised to wear sunscreen daily in the months following a TCA chemical peel. The results of TCA chemical peels are usually less dramatic than and not as long-lasting as those of a phenol peel. More than one TCA chemical peel may be needed to achieve the desired result.
 At Plush Medical Spa, we use at 15% TCA solution applied in layers with a purple dye, called the Plush Purple Peel.

Obagi Blue peel & Plush Purple peel
These chemical peels are TCA blended with a blue or purple dye to accurately determine where and how evenly the chemical has been applied. This chemical peel has the same benefits as any TCA chemical peel; however, it is often recommended as a treatment for skin discoloration. This peel is accompanied by home treatment with hydroquinone and tretinoin.

5) Phenol Peels
Phenol is the substance of choice for deep chemical peels that provide the most dramatic results. In addition to treating skin imperfections, this type of chemical peel may be used to remove precancerous growths or completely diminish deep wrinkles. Because the formula works more deeply than other types of chemical peels, most phenol peels require an hour or two in the doctor's office and usually involve a local anesthesia during the procedure and pain medication afterward. Phenol peels can take up to a month to recover from completely. We do not perform phenol peel at Plush Medical Spa. Please contact your dermatologist if you have had other chemical peels and are interested in a phenol peel.

After the peel...
After a superficial peel, there may be slight redness, but there are no long-term effects, other than slight peeling in some patients. Diligent sunscreen use is important after any chemical peel.

After a deep peel, the skin develops an exterior crust, which lasts for about a week. During the initial healing period vigorously moisturizing the skin helps to minimize any dryness or tightness. The skin will initially have a reddish color that may take six months to fade away completely, but the average person can start wearing makeup and return to work and his or her social life in a couple of weeks.
A deep peel can be a painful, emotionally difficult process to endure, but the end result is a remarkably smoother, relatively wrinkle- free skin that lasts for 15 years or more.

 A Plush Medical Spa esthetician performs a microdermabrasion and chemical peel. 
Dr Bell discusses the purpose and importance of these procedures.


548 Westgate Parkway
Dothan, AL 36303