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Skin peels

One of the better known facial rejuvenation treatments available, skin peel procedures use chemical solutions to remove the dry and damaged outer layers of dermis to reveal the smoother, brighter skin beneath.

Fine lines, hyper-pigmentation, blemishes and other ageing skin issues can be reduced with a carefully selected skin peel, which addresses these problems by removing the outer layer of skin; revealing younger-looking, clearer skin below. As well as shedding the superficial layers of the outer layer of the skin they also stimulate your skin to regenerate, boost collagen production, and heal more quickly.

The effectiveness of your chemical skin peels varies depending on the strength and depth of skin peel you have. The Face Surgeons offers a medium depth peel using TCA.

Different types of peels

  • SuperficialSuperficial skin peels are the lowest strength and are usually carried out in beauty salons. They can only take off the outer epidermal layer of skin but can produce a brighter complexion and fresher appearance to the skin whilst reducing facial lines the appearance of hyper pigmentation, early age spots and minor acne scarring. Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA’s) such as glycolic acid are the main ingredient of superficial skin peels.
  • Medium depthIf you’re looking for a medium strength skin peels a trichloroacetic acid peel (TCA) is effective at removing fine lines, advanced hyperpigmentation and acne scarring. Medium peels can cause some swelling, and you’ll find a crust will form on the areas of the face which have been treated. Recovering from a TCA peel characteristically takes 7-10 days although this varies patient to patient. Medium strength peels are maybe performed in combination with other facial rejuvenation procedures to address fine lines and wrinkles not corrected by the surgical procedure – especially around the delicate mouth area.
  • Deep peelsPhenol skin peels can treat deep wrinkles but unsurprisingly are also associated with increased complication risks as well as a much longer recovery time. The deeper the skin peel you choose, the more rejuvenated your skin is likely to look (with the reduction of fine lines etc) but the risks and complications need to be considered. Resurfacing skin peels can be an important addition to facial rejuvenation surgeries (like neck lifts and facelifts) as age changes in the skin cannot be altered by surgery alone. Your surgeon may recommend a deep skin peel to better the overall outcome of surgery if she believes resurfacing may improve the overall result.

Caring for skin prior to a peel

Before a peel you are advised to prepare the skin with cream containing Retin-A and hydroquinone to promote faster recovery and decreased risk of pigmentary changes after the skin peel. You should also wear a high SPF sun block and avoid sun exposure if possible.

Undergoing a TCA skin peel

Prior to a TCA skin peel the skin is cleaned before the TCA chemical is applied to the skin. This can be undertaken in the clinic or combined with surgical procedures.

  • What can I expect following a TCA skin peel?

Ice packs can be applied to help with comfort directly after the TCA skin peel, as the treated area will swell and may begin to feel tender and tight. Within 3 or 4 days the top (outer) layer of skin will form a crust and eventually peel. This process should take 7-10 days to complete fully. During the healing phase you can use aqueous cream to moisturise the area, although if a full face peel was chosen then a topical antibiotic ointment is likely to be prescribed. This should help to reduce the risk of infection and improve recovery time.

Deep skin peels can be uncomfortable. You may experience considerable swelling of the treatment area initially. This should settle in a few days Sleeping upright can help reduce the swelling. You may need some over-the-counter painkillers for the first few days skin peel such as paracetamol. After 7-10 days, fresher, brighter looking skin should be noticeable and you should be adequately healed to resume nearly all of your usual daily activities although the skin maybe slightly red initially.

It’s important you refrain from picking at or pulling off the crust during the peeling phase, as this can increase the risk of infection. You’re better off letting nature take its course during this time.

Skin will look quite pink after the skin peel initially but this should settle over a 2-4 week period and you can use makeup if needed during this time. Just remember to wear sun block for at least 3 months after the skin peel to protect the new skin.

  • What are the risks of a TCA peel?

This type of skin peel can sometimes cause unintended colour changes in the skin, either causing hypopigmentation (pale discolouration) or hyperpigmentation (dark discoloration). Avoiding exposure to the sun for several months and using a sun block to protect the newly formed layers of skin following treatment can reduce these unwanted side effects from occurring. The use of hydroquinone cream can help if this does occur. There is also a risk of infection, but following the aftercare instructions you’re given by your practitioner should ensure this isn’t an issue.

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