Facial peels use a variety of chemicals to ‘peel’ the top layers of skin in a controlled and predictable manner. this is essentially a strong exfoliation of the top skin layers which stimulates regeneration and collagen production in the skin and helps achieve a fresher and more rejuvenated appearance. Facial peels can improve skin texture, pigmentation, fine lines and overall skin appearance. Peels may also improve some types of facial scarring but may need to be used in a more targeted manner for this. They (some peels) can also be used on the decolletage and the back of hands to rejuvenate these areas too.
Facial peels can be superficial, medium depth, and deep in terms of the skin layers that they target. Deep peels target the top epidermal layer of skin and the middle and deeper dermal layers. They achieve very good rejuvenation and are usually planned as a single treatment. They can have up to two weeks of healing time but achieve long-lasting skin improvements. Examples of deeper peels include phenol and croton oil peels. Medium-depth peels target the top epidermal layer of skin and the middle dermal layer to a variable extent. They can achieve a good improvement in skin appearance with less or easier downtime compared to deep peels. An example of a medium-depth peel is trichloroacetic acid (TCA) which can be formulated into different strengths. Stronger TCA peels are single treatments while milder TCA peels are often planned as a course of treatments. Superficial peels such as glycolic acid, fruit acid, and salicylic acid target the superficial epidermal layer of the skin. They are well tolerated and have very little downtime associated with them. However, the skin effect is also milder and a course of treatments is usually recommended to achieve worthwhile improvement.
Peels are best performed when you are less tanned. Some deeper peels should be used cautiously in darker skin types. It is vital to protect your skin from the sun while healing.
Ensure you consider all aspects of a procedure. You can speak to your surgeon about these areas of the surgery in more detail during a consultation.
0.5 to 1.5 hours depending on the extent of the facial peel.
None, topical local anaesthetic, local anaesthetic, sedation depending on the depth of the peel.
Usually an office-based procedure unless combined with other procedures e.g. a facelift.
Facial peel risks include slow healing, infection of the skin while healing e.g. if a cold sore develops, over or under pigmentation of the skin, demarcation lines between treated and untreated areas, less effect than anticipated, scarring of the skin (deeper peels), skin breakouts or irritation, persistent redness of the skin, sun sensitivity, phenol peels can have heart rhythm effects and some types require a heart monitor to be worn during the treatment.
Risks can be reduced by carefully protecting your skin from the sun while healing and following your specific aftercare advice and skin care.
Your skin will feel tight and will peel to a variable extent depending on the depth and type of peel. Peeling usually starts around day 3 post-peel and can last for two weeks (sometimes three weeks with deeper peels). You may have some pinkness in your skin for a while after this. You must protect your skin from the sun while healing and you may have very specific skin care regimes prescribed for the healing period.
Results can be long-lasting depending on the type of peel chosen. Deeper peels have longer-lasting effects than milder peels. Combining peels with long-term skin care such as retinoid/retinol-based skin care, sun protection, and not smoking will help you maintain the results of a facial peel for longer.