If you want to take years off your face or make it look healthier and younger without surgery, one option you may have heard about is the chemical peel. Dr. Leo Lapuerta offers this service at his clinic in Houston, TX to help patients feel great about the way they look. Before you decide on a chemical face peel, you should learn more about what it entails and if you’re a good candidate.
A non-surgical procedure, the chemical peel uses a chemical solution applied to the skin on the face to achieve a more youthful look. The solution peels away dead skin cells or those that have been damaged, leaving skin that feels softer and smoother. The peel is used on the face and neck and has different degrees of intensity. It is often used to treat fine lines, sun spots, freckles, uneven tone, scarring from acne, and rough patches. The benefits of a chemical peel go beyond the face. A body chemical peel can also help with stretch marks and other flaws.
Chemical peels can be used to treat several skin conditions. In some cases, the type of peel chosen for a patient will depend on the condition they wish to treat. This is something that will be discussed in a consultation with Dr. Lapuerta. Below are a few common skin issues chemical peels can be used for.
In some cases, light chemical peels can be used as a treatment for acne. These treatments help to unclog pores, which can prevent breakouts. However, we recommend that patients also develop and follow a daily skincare treatment plan alongside their chemical peel.
Maybe your acne days are behind you, but have left some marks. Chemical peels are a popular treatment for scars, particularly acne scars. This procedure can restore a smoother skin texture, a brighter tone, and a reduced appearance of hyperpigmentation brought on by acne.
Though most chemical peel patients treat facial conditions, benefits are certainly not limited to above the neck. An increasing number of patients seek a chemical peel for other areas of the body as stretch mark treatment. A light chemical peel includes an ingredient called glycolic acid, which is shown to promote collagen production. Over time, stretch marks fade to a white color — at this point, the collagen produced by a light chemical peel can diminish its appearance further. If your stretch marks are at this point, you may be a candidate for a chemical peel.
Wrinkles are one of the most popular conditions to be treated by chemical peels. Patients with fine wrinkles can often opt for a superficial peel, though those with moderate or severe cases will fare better with a medium-depth peel. In some cases, a chemical peel will not be enough to tackle wrinkles. In those cases, we usually recommend Botox® instead.
This condition, which refers to dark spots on the skin, can be caused by acne scarring, hormonal changes, or sun damage. Though there are many ways to treat hyperpigmentation, chemical peels are a popular choice for their effectiveness and easy recovery.
There are several types of chemical peels that work well for varying, specific use cases. Dr. Lapuerta will discuss your goals to determine which type of chemical peel is best for you.
Superficial or light peels work to exfoliate the top layer of the skin, called the epidermis..The superficial peel is the mildest peel option, as well as the least expensive. During a superficial peel, diluted glycolic acid is left on the skin for several minutes. The doctor will then neutralize the acid to keep the peel at a mild level.
The peels contain either alpha hydroxy or beta hydroxy acid to peel away the dead skin cells. The peeling process takes about three or four days. This is the mildest form of a chemical peel, and during the treatment the product is only left on the skin for a few minutes. You can expect some slight redness but no downtime and little discomfort. Sometimes, several treatments are needed to get the desired results.
This treatment is often called a “lunchtime peel” due to its quick application and easy recovery. Though there will be slight redness after the treatment, there is typically no downtime following a superficial chemical peel. On average, patients will peel for about 3-5 days with this treatment. Sometimes, patients may need several treatments to achieve the look they desire.
A medium chemical peel treats more than just the top layer of skin — it penetrates deeper. It is used to treat moderate to severe wrinkles and skin irregularities.
A medium-depth peel uses a stronger solution called Trichloroacetic Acid (TCA). The acid will be applied in a controlled condition to manage and limit penetration. Then, the acid will be neutralized to stop the effects of the peel up to a certain point.
The recovery time following a medium peel is about 10 days. This peel costs more than the superficial one but produces more dramatic results.
This is the most aggressive of the three types of chemical peels. It is considered a more invasive procedure and in some cases, patients will need general anesthesia. The substance normally used is called phenol and it aims to treat severe skin wrinkling, deep scars, and facial irregularities.
Once a patient undergoes a deep peel, it is not advised to have another one. The recovery period may take up to 14 days and the area treated will be bandaged, as the wounds are comparable to second-degree burns. Though there is downtime and it’s a more expensive option, deep chemical peel results are usually excellent.
Whether a patient is undergoing a superficial, medium, or a deep chemical peel, process-wise, they can expect the same procedure. The only difference will be the type of acid solution used, the amount applied, and the time that it is left on the skin. Once the chemical reaches the target skin layers, a neutralizer will be applied to immediately stop the effects of the acid.
Following treatment, the patient must allow the peeling process to occur naturally and do not assist in peeling or pulling at the skin. It is also extremely important to avoid sun exposure for a while after the treatment. Downtime after the procedure depends on the type of peel. There is no downtime for mild peels but for deep peels, the patient will be in a healing process for up to 14 days.
The harsher the chemical peel, the more expensive the treatment will be, typically. Fees can range from $125 for mild peels to $6,000 for a deep peel. Although the milder chemical peels cost less, the number of sessions needed to maintain results can increase the long-term price.
It is best to consult with your doctor to understand what peel will garner the best results and then decide if the price and downtime are acceptable. For those in the greater Houston area, Dr. Lapuerta is a fantastic option. With over 20 years of experience and 20,000 surgeries to his name, Dr. Lapuerta will ensure a perfect chemical peel with no fuss.
Book a free consultation today to learn more!
As with any medical or cosmetic procedure, you want to consider the risks and how to minimize them. The potential side effects of chemical peels include the following:
You also need to mention any medications you have taken recently along with your medical and family history. This information can help your doctor determine if you are a good candidate for a chemical peel.
The doctor will discuss avoiding sun exposure before and after your treatment. They will also want you to avoid cosmetic treatments that involve dye, such as hair coloring as well as facial masks and scrubs for a week before your appointment.
The results for a chemical peel are only temporary. While a deep chemical peel provides more dramatic results, new damage from the sun and the aging process can bring new lines and changes to skin tone. However, many individuals consider a chemical peel as a less invasive skincare procedure that improves the youthfulness of their skin without surgery.
If you are interested in learning more about facial peels, schedule a free consultation with Dr. Lapuerta. He will answer your questions about peels in general or specific types, such as croton oil peels. Dr. Lapuerta is a triple-board-certified plastic surgeon with more than 20 years of experience. He has performed countless cosmetic facial procedures and is dedicated to helping patients look and feel their best. He will sit down with you and discuss your goals and determine if a chemical peel is right for you. Contact us today to set up your appointment.