American Society of Plastic Surgeons
For Medical Professionals
 

Chemical Peel

Minimally Invasive Procedure

A chemical peel uses a chemical solution to smooth the texture of your skin by removing the damaged outer layers.

What is a medium chemical peel?

Acne scars, deeper wrinkles and uneven skin color can all be treated with a medium chemical peel.

The chemicals used for this type of peel will remove skin cells from both the outer layer of skin (epidermis) and upper part of your middle layer of skin (dermis).

Agents frequently used for medium depth chemical peeling include TCA (trichloroacetic acid), Jessner's solution and glycolic acid.

Medium chemical peel procedure steps

  • Your face will be cleansed.
  • The chemical solution is brushed onto your skin and left for just a few minutes. You may feel some burning or stinging.
  • The treated area may turn a whitish grey color.
  • The chemicals are neutralized with a cool saline compress.
  • Your skin may turn red or brown in the days just after the peel. The peeling process typically starts within 48 hours and lasts for a week. It is important to keep the skin well moisturized during the peeling process.

Medium chemical peel risks and recovery

When trichloroacetic acid is used in a medium chemical peel, you'll experience some redness, stinging and flaking of the skin. Commonly, symptoms are similar to those of a deep sunburn.

Although these chemicals won't bleach your skin, you may see some color changes. You're advised to avoid the sun and to use sunblock for several months to protect that fresh new layer of skin.

Other medium chemical peel risks include:

  • Hyperpigmentation (when too much pigment occurs, causing brown blotches) may result even if you use sunscreen.
  • Permanent scarring is another infrequent risk.
  • Redness, which occurs in everyone after the peel, may last longer than a few months for some people.


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