Throughout history, mankind has used all sorts of oils, acids, and abrasives in attempts to improve skin aesthetics. These early practitioners understood that exfoliation brightened the complexion and could improve pigmentation spots and other skin conditions. Today, Dr. Pamela Carr brings current chemical peel options, with safe, effective formulations, to residents of Sugar Land, TX and surrounding areas.
What Are Chemical Peels?
Our skin is our largest organ. Unlike most of our other organs, however, the skin is constantly exposed, taking a beating from the sun, wind, and the environment. It consists of three layers: the epidermis, the dermis, and the fat layer. We are constantly shedding our skin cells — we shed our entire skin about once a month (skin cells are a major part of the dust in our homes)! The process is called exfoliation.
Chemical peels simply give the process a boost. Peels remove layers of skin so that younger, healthier skin cells can show themselves. In the process, age spots, acne scars, fine lines, dead skin cells, and other imperfections are peeled away. The purpose of a peel is to erase imperfections and improve skin tone and texture.
Who Is A Good Candidate To Have A Chemical Peel?
Whether in Sugar Land or Timbuktu, basically every one of us could use a chemical peel. By forcing our outer layer to slough off the dead skin cells, dirt, and other junk, chemical peels simply give our skin’s natural exfoliation process a boost. Chemical peels are a natural treatment, where peeling agents encourage the skin to shed old cells.
At Carr Dermatology, we only perform superficial peels and intermediate peels. We don’t perform deep phenol peels due to their potential to cause pigmentation problems and scarring.
As long as you don’t have any active skin infections or open sores, you’re a great candidate for a chemical peel with Dr. Carr and our team.
What Are The Benefits Of Chemical Peels?
Chemical peels improve the condition and appearance of the skin. It is a method of exfoliating surface layers, without the use of abrasion. Chemical peels can be used to:
- Reduce fine lines
- Improve signs of premature aging – sun damage and wrinkles
- Refine mild scars
- Treat acne on the face or back
- Even out pigmentation irregularities including freckles, melasma, and age spots
- Improve skin texture
How Do Chemical Peels Work?
First, we thoroughly clean your skin. Then we apply the peeling agent to your skin with a sponge. It is allowed to stay on the skin for a predetermined amount of time. The peeling agent penetrates the skin and breaks the bonds that hold each layer together. Some of the skin is removed immediately; more cells flake and fall off over the next few days.
What Types Of Chemical Peels Does Carr Dermatology Offer?
While superficial peels range from mild, to moderate, to strong, they affect only the top-most layers of skin. Treatment is relaxing and spa-like. There is no recovery time following a superficial peel, but please use protective sunscreen. Skin will flake lightly for a day or two, as a fresh, vibrant complexion emerges. This is a standard of care for acne, pigmentation irregularities, and rough texture. Dr. Carr selects a formulation suited to your skin type and needs. Treatment can be repeated, increasing the strength of the peel in response to your skin’s tolerance.
Intermediate or medium peels contain a higher strength acid to penetrate beneath the epidermis (surface skin) to the upper layers of the dermis (internal skin structure). Dr. Carr takes extra steps to ensure your comfort during application, and afterward. There will be redness and some swelling. The skin turns brownish in the first day, and peeling begins within three or four days. Expect a week of recovery time, and then dramatic improvement in skin condition. Dr. Carr uses intermediate peels to treat significant sun damage and actinic keratosis (pre-cancers).
Dr. Carr uses a range of products to safely and effectively treat all skin colors and types. Periodic chemical peels keep your complexion clear and bright. Peels can be used alone, or in combination with other techniques such as Botox and dermal fillers, for optimal skin rejuvenation.
How Long Do Chemical Peels Take?
The actual process of getting one of our chemical peels takes around 30 minutes. We first thoroughly clean your skin and then apply the peeling agent. This is left on for a prescribed amount of time and is then neutralized and removed. Your skin is rinsed with cool water. For most peels, a calming mask is then applied. That’s the actual treatment.
Is There Anything I Need To Do To Prepare For A Chemical Peel?
You’ll need to stop using any products or have any procedures that may increase your skin’s sensitivity leading up to your chemical peel. These would be products such as Retin-A, products with retinol, benzoyl peroxide, or alpha hydroxy acids. This also includes natural supplements that increase skin sensitivity, along with treatments such as Intense Pulsed Light. Also, don’t have any hair removal treatments, be it waxing or depilatory creams or lasers, for at least one week before your peel.
When Will I See My Results From A Chemical Peel?
Your skin will start flaking as the dead skin cells are shed. This process starts about a day after your peel with superficial peels. As you would expect, this is much more dramatic with intermediate/medium peels. After these peels, your skin first turns brown the first day after your peel. In 3 to 4 days it begins peeling. You can expect about 7-10 days of recovery and then you’ll see real improvements that will continue to build.
How Often Can You Have A Chemical Peel?
Superficial chemical peels can be done on a regular basis to keep your skin looking fresh and vibrant. There is no limit to how many superficial peels a person can have in a year.
Medium peels are a little different. Because they penetrate into the dermis and remove more skin during the actual peel, they will leave your skin red and stinging, and there will be some crusting of the skin in the following days. You can have a medium peel 3 or 4 times per year.
Are There Risks Of Using Chemical Peels?
There can be various risks with getting Chemical Peel treatments. Our light and medium-deep peels have a much more involved recovery and there can be danger of infection; that’s one reason we do not perform deep phenol peels at Carr Dermatology.
What Our Patients Have To Say
“Dr. Carr and Cassie are the best! Their attention to detail and customer service cannot be beaten. I have been a patient for 4 years and wouldn’t even consider seeing anyone else. Thank you Carr Dermatology!” -Tamara W.
What Is The Recovery Process After Getting A Chemical Peel?
You have to remember what the goal of a chemical peel is — to remove varying degrees of the outer layers of your skin. Because this exfoliation is forced to a deeper degree, there is some redness and tenderness after your treatment. Your face will feel a little dry. With a light peel, it will feel as if you have a light sunburn. With a medium peel, it will feel more like a medium sunburn.
There will be some light flaking with light peels for up to a week or so, but there isn’t wholesale peeling. Medium peels will have some crusting of the skin because more skin is removed during the actual peel, so there will be some light crusting for a few days afterward. This will be followed by more involved peeling for a week to 10 days. This can be managed with moisturizer.
How Long Will My Peel Results Last?
Everyone’s skin is different. Obviously, the exfoliated skin is gone forever. But your skin is exposed all the time, so it will become damaged again, no matter how new the cells. Plus, at Carr Dermatology our peels are only light or moderate strength and are not meant to aggressively peel your skin.
Depending on your lifestyle and goals, you may want to have a light peel done monthly to keep your skin glowing. As mentioned above, medium peels can be done quarterly. Peels are a good form of ongoing skin maintenance.
Are Chemical Peels Painful?
Superficial peels are not painful, as the peeling agents only penetrate the outer epidermis. Afterward, your skin may feel as if you have a slight sunburn, but this passes in a day or so.
Intermediate peels will involve some stinging while the trichloroacetic acid (combined with other ingredients) is applied and stays on your skin. Afterward, your skin will sting slightly and will feel tight and there will be some swelling. We’ll apply a protective ointment and you can take over-the-counter pain medication to alleviate any discomfort. Your skin will feel tight and will crust over slightly before it begins peeling. Once it begins peeling, the period of discomfort is usually over. Redness, while not painful, can linger for a couple of weeks.