Columbia Dermatology Center; Jane T. Chew, M.D., Board Certified in Dermatology, Phone 410-772-0707
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Chemical Peels

Chemical peeling is a process in which a chemical solution is applied to the skin to peel away the top cell layers of the skin. This procedure stimulates a “burst of regrowth” within your skin, bringing young healthy cells to the surface of your skin. This is the perfect treatment for mild acne, temporary reduction of large pores, minimizing fine lines, smoothing skin tone and evening out discoloration.

Chemical peels are designed to enhance skin texture and tone on women and men of all ages. Chemical peeling is available to almost everyone, but skin type and coloring are important variables. The best candidates are usually those with fair, thin skin that has fine wrinkling or scarring on the face. Deeper chemical peels are not typically recommended for highly pigmented skin, such as Asian, African0American, or Mediterranean. No procedure can prevent aging, but chemical peels can erase, fade, or reduce fine facial wrinkles and remove other surface imperfections.

The strength and depth of the chemical peel used often depends on the condition being treated, as well as the amount of improvement desired. As a general rule, the deeper the peel, the longer the recovery period. Chemical peels can be used over fine lines, and irregular pigmentation.

Before and After Chemical Peel
The milder chemical peels are often called “lunch time” peels because they literally take only minutes to perform and, typically, you can return to your normal activities without any interruption. Glycolic or salicylic acid is typically the active agents with these peels.

Glycolic acid peels are the most conservative peel which are designed to exfoliate the outermost layer of the skin. It is safe and effective for the control of certain types acne, as well as the lightening of dark patches known as melasma. Since it is a superficial peel, there is little-to-no recovery time associated with it. Sometimes the skin may appear pink for a short time after treatment, and then may be a little drier for a few days due to mild exfoliation. Since glycolic acid is a fruit acid, it is safe to undergo this type of treatment during pregnancy and lactation.

Salicylic acid peels are slightly stronger and deeper into the skin. This type of peel is good for the improvement of skin tone and texture. With this peel, there is usually minimal recovery time. When the peel is completed, the skin may appear slightly pink and feel a little tighter. A mild amount of peeling may occur a few days following your treatment. This type of peel is perfect for patients with oily or acne-prone skin.

Chemical peels are not the answer to every skin imperfection. They will not improve loose or sagging, not will they change deep furrows or scars significantly. What they will do is remove the damaged outer layer skin and allow healthy new skin to form in its own place. They leave the skin looking smoother and more uniform in color.

Chemical Peel Before and After


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