Many skin conditions can be safely and effectively treated with chemical peel. New Jersey plastic surgeon Dr. Sean Bidic, Dr. Vinay S. Gundlapalli and Dr. Casey Gene Sheck offer chemical peel treatments at American Surgical Arts in South Jersey.
During the process, a chemical solution is gently applied to improve and smooth the texture of the skin. This procedure is most beneficial for those individuals with facial blemishes, wrinkles and uneven skin pigmentation. However, chemical peel may also remove pre-cancerous skin growths, soften acne facial scars and even control acne. Although chemical peels are not a substitute for plastic surgery, nor can they prevent or slow down the aging process, they can result in smoother skin and a more youthful appearance. One of our skin care specialists will be happy to discuss whether chemical peel treatment is right for you.
What Are Chemical Peels?
Our skin is the largest organ of the human, consisting of three layers: the epidermis, the dermis, and the fat layer. Unlike most of our other organs, our skin is constantly exposed to the environment, damaged by New Jersey’s sun, wind, and other environmental factors such as pollution and personal choices such as smoking. To overcome the damage, our skin is constantly shedding cells, with our entire epidermis replacing itself about once every month.
Chemical peels simply give this exfoliation a little help to accelerate the process. By applying a chemical to the face that makes the outer layers peel, younger, healthier skin cells replace the older, damaged skin. In the process, age spots, acne scars, fine lines, dead skin cells, and other skin imperfections are peeled away.
What Skin Issues Can Be Improved with A Chemical Peel?
Chemical peels vary by the peeling agent. At American Surgical Arts, we offer light and medium peels. These are skin conditions we address:
- Sun damage
- Skin texture problems
- Fine lines and wrinkles
- Acne scars
- Scaly patches
- Uneven pigmentation
- Age spots
Am I a Good Candidate for A Chemical Peel?
Chemical peels have been around forever, so they have a long history of happy peel recipients. Cleopatra was one of the early proponents. The Egyptian pharaoh bathed in sour milk to rejuvenate her skin — the lactic acid in the sour milk was the active ingredient and is still used in peels today.
Really anyone could benefit from the forced exfoliation delivered by a chemical peel. This is especially true when you consider the different peel types and strengths we offer at American Surgical Arts.
The only person who would not be a good candidate for a chemical peel with us would be someone with an active skin condition, such as dermatitis or a flare-up of eczema. But when the flare-up or reaction calms, you could have a peel.
How Are Chemical Peels Done?
At American Surgery Arts, one of our medical aestheticians, Sharon DiGerolamo, handles our chemical peels. First, she thoroughly cleans your skin. Then Sharon applies 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. Our peels do not feature aggressive peeling or crusting, however, so there isn’t an involved recovery period.
What Are the Types of Chemical Peels?
Chemical peels are divided into three categories, based on their depth. There are light/superficial, medium, and deep peels. At American Surgical Arts, we do not perform deep peels.
- Light chemical peels
Light chemical peels are excellent for exfoliating the outermost layer of the epidermis, removing dead and damaged skin cells, and returning a glow to the skin. For these chemical peels, the peeling agents are natural in origin. These acids are in the alpha-hydroxy family: glycolic acid, lactic acid, and salicylic acid. These acids come from sources such as sugar cane, citrus, grapes, or sugar beets for glycolic acid; sour milk for lactic acid; or other plants for salicylic acid. At American Surgical Arts, we generally prefer to use glycolic acid as the peeling agent.
After your first few light peels, your skin may have some redness and irritation, but as your skin becomes more exfoliated this will pass and your skin will simply glow after your peel. Because light peels are superficial in their penetration, they can be done on a regular basis to keep your skin looking its best; there is no limit to how many light peels a person can have.
- Medium chemical peels
We also offer more aggressive peels that require some recovery. Medium-depth peels penetrate more deeply, into the dermis layer. We use them to treat acne scars, deeper wrinkles, and uneven pigmentation. The peeling agent with our medium peels is trichloroacetic acid.
Unlike superficial peels, which really don’t require any recovery, there will be some recovery with a medium peel. They leave the skin red and stinging, and there will be some crusting. Facial redness can linger for up to a few weeks. You can have three or four medium peels in a year. Think of it as basically one per season.
Is There Recovery After a Chemical Peel?
Chemical peels are basically forced exfoliation. Because of that, your skin will have some redness and be somewhat tender after your peel. The degree depends on how aggressive the peel was. With a light peel, your face will feel a little dry, as if you have a light sunburn. With a medium peel, it will feel more like a medium sunburn. You will only have light flaking in the days following a glycolic peel. With a medium peel, you will have flaking and some crusting as the skin recovers. There aren’t any side effects with either peel; both are considered very safe.
Can I Combine a Chemical Peel with Other Treatments?
We can combine a chemical peel with another treatment to maximize your appointment at our offices on Mullica Hill Road. You wouldn’t want to have another procedure, such as microdermabrasion, that targets the same areas you are having your peel done. But otherwise, they make a great complement to many treatments.
You could combine your peel with a CoolSculpting session to remove some stubborn pockets of fat. You could have a chemical peel your face and you could then have us put our lasers to work removing a few spider veins on your calves. You could combine a peel with dermal filler or Botox injections.
If you’re interested in combining a couple treatments, let’s talk about what combinations would make sense.