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Chemical Peel

Medical Name: TCA Chemical Peel
Common Name: Chemical Peel
Type of Anesthesia: Local or Intravenous
Length of Procedure: 15 minutes to two hours minutes
Recovery Time: Immediate
Discomfort Level: None to mild
Procedure Location: Office

A chemical peel uses a chemical solution to improve and smooth the texture of the facial skin by removing its damaged outer layers. It is helpful for those individuals with facial blemishes, wrinkles and uneven skin pigmentation. A chemical peel may also remove pre-cancerous skin growths, soften acne facial scars and even control acne.

Different kinds of solutions can be used to accomplish good results. Commonly used solutions are made up of acids (AHAs and TCAs) or phenols.

Where will my chemical peel be done and how long does it take?

Your chemical peel can be safely performed in Dr. Bailey's office. Peels can take from 15 minutes to two hours. Dr. Bailey will explain to you the differences between the solutions and will suggest the particular peel that's right for you.

How is a chemical peel done?

The solution is applied to clean facial skin: either to the entire face or to parts of your face. When using the stronger solutions, Dr. Bailey may apply a petroleum jelly covering to your face first. During a chemical peel, you'll feel a stinging sensation as the peel solution is applied, but this feeling will quickly pass. Some peels require several treatments; the stronger ones usually do not. Sedation may be necessary with the deeper peels.

What are the risks involved?

All chemical peels carry some uncertainty and risk. Chemical peel is normally a safe procedure when it is performed by a qualified, experienced cosmetic surgeon.

Patients who have a TCA peel are advised to avoid sun exposure for several months after treatment to protect the newly formed layers of skin. Even though TCA is milder than phenol, it may also produce some unintended color changes in the skin.

With a phenol peel, the new skin frequently loses its ability to make pigment (that is, tan). This means that not only will the skin be lighter in color, but you'll always have to protect it from the sun. Phenol may pose a special risk for patients with a history of heart disease. It's important that you make your surgeon aware of any heart problems when your medical history is taken.

It is also possible that phenol will cause some undesired cosmetic results, such as uneven pigment changes. Certain modified phenol peels are gentler and may be preferred in some circumstances.