A chemical peel is a procedure, wherein a chemical solution is used to enhance the look and texture of the facial skin by sloughing off the dead skin cells. In other words, this procedure helps exfoliate the dead skin cells to reveal a softer and smoother skin with less visible blemishes, pigmentation, wrinkles, and fine lines. This skin treatment can also reduce the appearance of stubborn acne scars.
Chemical peels can be of different types, and each type can contain different chemicals. Usually, chemicals like, alpha hydroxy acids, trichloroacetic acids, (TCA) and phenols are used in various chemical peels. Depending on the type of chemical it contains, a chemical peel can be mild or strong.
Types of Chemical Peel
Basically, chemical peels can be of three types - superficial peels, medium peels, and deep peels. Superficial or light peels contain mild chemicals like alpha hydroxy acids. Glycolic acid, lactic acid, salicylic acid, and fruit acids are some alpha hydroxy acids that are used in light chemical peels. Light chemical peels are basically used to get smoother and brighter skin, and remove uneven pigmentation and fine wrinkles. One can also use a light peel for acne scar removal.
On the other hand, medium peels are used for removing mild to moderate wrinkles, blemishes, pigmentation, age spots, sun damage, and precancerous lesions. Medium peels mainly contain trichloroacetic acid (TCA). A deep peel can give more dramatic and long-lasting results with a significant reduction in severe wrinkles, skin pigmentation, skin blotches, long-term sun damage, skin lesions, and precancerous growths. It is the strongest chemical peel that requires much longer healing time. Phenol is the main chemical used in a deep chemical peel.
The side effects can vary significantly depending on the specific type of peel that is used. For example, the side effects associated with a light peel are much milder than the side effects of a deep chemical peel. Light chemical peels can cause skin irritation, mild redness of the skin, and a stinging or burning sensation. Minor peeling is another possible side effect. The side effects associated with light peels usually resolve within a few days.
A medium chemical peel that uses TCA can cause more skin redness than a light peel. Medium peels can also cause changes in skin color in some individuals. People receiving a TCA peel are usually advised to avoid sun exposure for a couple of months.
The side effects of deep chemical peels are more pronounced than the side effects of light and medium peels. Deep peels can cause more redness of the skin, along with peeling and crusting. Scarring and chemical burns are some other possible risks associated with deep peels.
Phenol peels can also cause permanent hyperpigmentation or hypopigmentation. People receiving deep chemical peels need to protect their skin from sunlight. Individuals with heart diseases can encounter some additional problems with deep peels, which is why they should talk to their physician before opting for this procedure.
Cost of Chemical Peels
On an average, it can cost somewhere around $600 to $900. However, the cost can very significantly depending on the type of chemical peel. The superficial or light peel can cost as less as $150. The average cost of light chemical peels is in the range of $150 to $300, while for medium peels, the cost can be somewhere between $1000 to $2000. Deep peels on the other hand, can cost up to $6,000.
Considering the drawbacks of chemical peels, it can be concluded that one should receive this skin treatment only from an experienced and well-trained professional or plastic surgeon. It is better to consult a physician or plastic surgeon before opting for this procedure. Some side effects of deep chemical peels are really serious. Therefore, a complete evaluation of the various pros and cons of this procedure is very important before opting for it.