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How Facial Peels are Done

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Facial Peels

The concept of a phenol peel is simple: by applying a solution containing a concentration of 55 percent phenol, the surgeon causes the epidermis, which is the top layer of skin, to gradually fall off. Since the phenol peel affects the full depth of the skin, it can erase deep wrinkles.

Phenol peels can be performed on a section of the face, such as around the lips or on the forehead, as well as on the entire face. Patients usually undergo the procedure in an outpatient setting or in the doctor's office.

Trichloracetic acid peels are administered in the same fashion as phenol peels. They are considered medium-depth because the chemical does not reach as far into the dermis and the results are more superficial. Patients can return to work within three to four days and they look like they've had a sunburn and their skin is in the process peeling. Results from TCA peels can last for years, but these peels are generally not as long lasting as phenol peels.

Still milder alternatives to the phenol and TCA peels are glycolic acid peels, which can be used to rid many patients of troublesome surface lines, wrinkles and aging spots, without resulting in the longer recovery periods of the other peels. These can be done during a lunch-hour visit to the doctor's office and the patient can put her makeup on immediately and go out into the sun. Salons and non-medical professionals can dispense these acids at lower and less effective concentrations. The higher concentration products--up to 50 percent--are found only in doctors' offices, and need to be used under a doctor's supervision.

A patient's skin type and coloring are more important factors for determining a good candidate for a chemical peel than a patient's age or sex. Men and women of all ages can benefit from facial peels. Highly pigmented skin, characteristic of Africans and Asians, is generally not good for phenol or TCA peels, as very dark skin can become lighter or blotchy after the procedure. The lighter the skin, the better. Patients with faces full of freckles might lose some of their freckles if they have a peel. Women, who tend to have thinner skin than men, usually heal faster than their male counterparts. Nevertheless, men can get very good results from peels.


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Member or the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery Located at: American Society of Plastic Surgeons, INC.

200 Glades Road - Ste. 1A
Boca Raton, FL 33432
Phone: (561) 416-1272