Chemical Peels

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The physicians at Einstein's Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery are highly experienced in performing chemical peels, one of the least invasive ways to improve skin's appearance related to:

  • Acne or acne scars
  • Fine lines and wrinkles
  • Age spots and irregular pigmentation
  • Rough or scaly patches
  • Scars or sun damage

How Do Chemical Peels Work?

The doctor applies a chemical solution - such as glycolic, trichloroacetic salicylic, lacticor carbolic acid - to small areas of your skin. This causes a controlled wound, or blister, to form and then peeling of the damaged outer layers. When scaling and peeling is complete, which can take from a few days to two weeks, a smooth new layer of skin will be revealed.

What Can I Expect During and After the Procedure?

Your physician will provide you with detailed information about your procedure, but in general:

  • Most people feel a burning sensation after the chemical solution is applied that lasts several minutes, followed by stinging. Cool compresses may help, and you may need pain medication during or after a deeper peel.
  • After the peel, most people experience a reaction similar to sunburn - with redness and scaling that lasts up to a week for mild-to-moderate depth peels or swelling and blisters that can last up to two weeks for deeper peels.
  • After your chemical peel, you may require bandages on treated skin, and you'll need to avoid the sun for several months because the new layer of skin will be very fragile.

Some people - including those with certain skin types, medical conditions, family history or prescribed medications - may be more vulnerable to discoloration or scarring following a peel. Talk to your physician about your likelihood of experiencing this, and possible treatments should it occur.

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