Peels (Chemical Peel)

Is a chemical peel right for me?

Chemical peels are a non-surgical, minimally invasive way to erase wrinkles and fine lines while improving skin tone. Chemical peels smooth and improve skin, turning back time on sun damage, age spots, and fine wrinkles. There is a reason that, since the 1950s, chemical peels have become the most popular cosmetic procedure in North America. They are safe, effective and can be tailored to provide each patient with the best possible result.

What does a chemical peel do?

Chemical peel is a general term used to describe a cosmetic treatment that, essentially, applies a highly specialized mixture of substances to the skin to remove a thin superficial layer of skin. When that layer grows back, it is rejuvenated, with the fine wrinkles greatly minimized or disappeared. Chemical peels serve to uncover the more youthful, wrinkle-free glow of the skin.

Can anybody get a chemical peel and is it safe?

Chemical peels can be superficial, removing just a thin layer of skin, or they can go deeper. While most patients can benefit from a superficial chemical peel, not everybody is eligible for the deeper procedures that penetrate further into the deeper layers of the skin. People with darker skin tones are not good candidates for medium-depth or deep peels as they may experience asymmetric color variations of lighter and darker patches. However, each patient’s skin is different and some patients with slightly darker tones may still benefit, especially from superficial peels. Chemical peels have been performed for decades with a well-established safety record.

What types of chemical peels are available?

There are a variety of medicated products used to perform chemical peels. By choosing the right combination of products at the right concentration (strength), the physician or nurse can tailor the desired depth of the peel to the patient’s skin type and esthetic goals. Indeed, the art is in choosing the right depth of skin peeling that will yield the desired result. Generally, chemical peels can be superficial or medium depth. While deep chemical peels do exist, Dr. Samaha does not offer this procedure as it requires a very long recovery and for that reason has generally fallen out of favour. The overwhelming majority of our patients have “superficial” peels which can also vary in that some are more superficial than others.

Superficial chemical peel

Superficial chemical peels consist of applying a peeling agent, which removes the texturing of the skin, leaving a lustrous glow. The product, most commonly glycolic acid, is applied with a small brush or cotton-tipped applicator in a treatment lasting 20 minutes or less. A series of these short treatments is generally required over weeks or months.

There is no redness, swelling, or bruising requiring recovery or downtime, allowing patients to immediately return to work and daily activities. Aside from a minor sensation of heat for a few seconds, there is no discomfort at all.

Medium-depth chemical peel

Medium-depth chemical peels target sun-damaged, aged skin at a slightly deeper level than superficial glycolic acid treatments. This procedure is used to smooth wrinkles and rejuvenate time-worn skin. It can also be used to treat acne-scarred skin, though that often requires more than one application. While it is an effective treatment, medium-depth chemical peels do require more recovery time.

A medium-depth chemical peel is a medical procedure that, in essence, burns away a layer of unwanted skin. It can leave the skin feeling raw and appear red for five to seven days as the new, revitalized epidermal layer grows back. It can be thought of as the worst sunburn one can have. This recovery is approximately a week as the redness subsides and the new layer of skin grows in. During this period, patients must apply special treatments that keep the affected area clean and lubricated to ensure maximum results. After about one week, patients can again apply makeup and resume their normal routine.