Are Chemical Peels Right for You?

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With so many beauty products, facial treatments and surgical procedures available these days, it can be overwhelming to choose a treatment that is right for you. First off, when trying any new skincare treatment or procedure, it is always important to do your research, seek out reputable sources and never be afraid to ask questions, after all, it is your face – you only have one, so treat it accordingly. Selecting the right specialist or understanding details of a surgical procedure will be time consuming, be prepared to put in the time necessary to make the best choice. Below are some tips to help you get started.

Choose carefully. The Consumer Guide to Plastic Surgery recommends you:
•    Check educational, training, background credentials and experience to ensure that he or she is well-qualified
•    Ask how many times they have performed this procedure
•    Ask to see before and after photos of patients who have had chemical peels – in some cases offices will give you contact information of previous patients as referrals.

Dermatologists, plastic surgeons, licensed estheticians and registered nurses can all perform chemical peels. However, depending on the type of peel, you might need to see a doctor. Ensure your procedure is both safe and effective.

Schedule a skin consultation. A chemical peel is an aggressive treatment, it’s important that you get an in-depth analysis of your skin beforehand. When at the consultation, make sure the specialist knows your medical history and any prescriptions you may be taking. Be prepared to ask questions, such as what is my skin type? What are my skin concerns? How can chemical peels improve my skin? What kind of peel is best for my skin type?

Become a peel expert. There are three types of chemical peels: superficial, medium and deep. In addition, they increase substantially in cost depending on the peel. The cost ranges from $150 to $300 for superficial peels; $1,000 to $2,000 for medium peels and $2,500 up to $5,000 for deep peels, according to Smart SkinCare:
Superficial: The mildest of chemical peels, superficial peels treat fine lines, discoloration, dryness, roughness and mild acne. Results are subtle and you will need regular maintenance sessions. Estheticians typically perform superficial peels. Common solutions: Alpha hydroxy acids or AHAs (e.g., glycolic acid, lactic acid), salicylic acid
Medium: These peels penetrate deeper into the skin, producing a second-degree burn. Medium peels treat wrinkles, pigmentation problems, sun damage and blemishes. You will need at least a week to recover. You’ll also need several peels to achieve desired results. Common solution: Trichloroacetic acid (TCA)
Deep: These peels target deep wrinkles, dramatic discoloration and skin lesions. Deep peels are the most effective, providing pronounced and long-lasting results. However, they are also riskier with longer recovery time—most people take two weeks off from work. A certified, experienced plastic surgeon must perform these peels. This peel is performed once. Common solution: Phenol

Consider your skin type. Be aware that a chemical peel is not always the best option for your skin type. These are several examples when a chemical peel isn’t appropriate or can be helpful. In most cases, a chemical peel should not be used on dry or sensitive skin. A peel might cause dryness, flakiness, itching and further inflammation. If you have inflammatory acne and deep cysts, you should also consult a dermatologist, as a chemical peel might not be the best treatment for those conditions.

Chemical peels are a good choice if you experience mild to moderate acne or acne scars: The acids in the peel work to both kill active blemishes on the surface and to prevent new blemishes from forming. By accelerating the exfoliation process, a chemical peel delivers clearer, healthier-looking skin.

Become an expert on your chemical peel. Before having the chemical peel, make sure you ask every question possible to ensure you are aware of the entire procedure and its potential complications.
Examples like; what strength is the peel? How many sessions will I need? What are the pros and cons? What kind of discomfort, pain and other reactions can I expect during the procedure? How should my skin react after the chemical peel?

Communication is key in making your chemical peel a safe experience. Clarify you are experiencing normal reactions or seek immediate attention if you think you are not. Remember if something doesn’t feel right, only you can speak up about it.

About two to four weeks prior to your chemical peel, the specialist will ask you to incorporate pre-care products into your daily regimen. These products are designed to thin out the skin’s surface, allowing the peel to penetrate deeper and evenly. Your medical expert might prescribe Retin-A, an AHA product or hydroquinone cream. When using these new products, you might have to discontinue your old ones. Your specialist will give you specific information about what products to use and avoid.

Depending on the type of peel, your results might be subtle or dramatic. Every skin type reacts a bit differently. Be realistic about the results and fully understand to what degree the peel will improve your skin and whether you will need additional sessions to maintain results.

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