Looking for clearer, smoother skin? Your answer might be a chemical peel. Houston surgeon Dr. Leo Lapuerta offers local patients these customized facial treatments to improve the appearance of blemishes, hyperpigmentation, fine wrinkles, and acne scars.
A chemical peel is performed using a caustic solution to improve skin texture. After application, the top layer of skin sloughs or “peels” away, leaving a new, fresh face. At Look Younger, we offer several types of chemical peel, including Obagi Blue and Vitalize.
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.
The superficial peel is the mildest peel option, as well as the least expensive. It targets the upper layer of skin, called the epidermis. 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.
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 and the Look Younger team are 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.