Superficial chemical peels are performed using glycolic or salicylic acids (agents derived from fruit acids), and are designed to remove the upper layers of dead skin cells. Peels are generally done once a month, in a series of six peels, and then once a season for ongoing maintenance. The strength of the acid used is determined individually at the time of your visit, and is dependent on the characteristics of your skin (sensitive, oily, combination, etc.). After a peel, your skin will be pink for a day or two, and you will need to use a gentle cleanser, and moisturizer/sunscreen for this period. Makeup can be applied immediately if desired. Since the skin on the surface is very fresh after a peel, photoprotection is especially important. Peels improve texture and color, leaving your skin with with a smoother, clearer surface. The appearance of pores is generally diminished after several peels. Chemical peels are helpful in the treatment of sun damage, fine lines and wrinkles, and discolorations and melasma. They can also be performed on the neck, upper chest, arms and hands with the goal of improving color and texture.
Because peels are exceptionally helpful in unblocking and cleaning out pores, and because both glycolic and salicylic acids have some anti-bacterial properties, they can be a very helpful adjunct treatment for acne in both teens and adults. They can also help areas of stubborn “ingrown hairs”.
Peels can be combined with gentle microdermabrasion (see the section entitled “dermasweep”), especially in individuals with sensitive skin who cannot tolerate stronger levels of acids. This combination further enhances the effectivenss of the peel without causing undue irritation.
The ongoing use of products at home which contain glycolic and/or salicylic acids can help to maintain the effects of the peels in between treatments. These are available in our office in a wide variety of cleansers and moisturizers. We will be happy to design a skin care regimen that is specific to the needs of your skin.