What is a chemical peel?
A chemical peel is a minimally-invasive exfoliation procedure that uses chemical solutions to superficially resurface the skin. Skin rejuvenation with exfoliation treatments is based on the principles of wound healing. By wounding and removing superficial skin layers in a controlled manner, cell renewal is stimulated, with regeneration of a healthier epidermis and dermis.
How does a chemical peel work?
Chemical peels are a means of wounding the skin through the application of chemical compounds, such as acids and enzymes. The concentration of active ingredients, pH, time, and method of application determine the depth of skin injury and define the procedure as superficial, medium, or deep exfoliation.
What can a chemical peel do?
A chemical peel can improve:
- Acne or acne scars
- Fine lines and wrinkles
- Irregular skin pigmentation
- Rough skin and scaly patches
- Certain scars
- Sun-damaged skin
What a chemical peel cannot do.
A chemical peel cannot help:
- Treat deep facial lines or wrinkles
- Significantly tighten loose or sagging skin
- Remove deep scars
Am I a candidate for a chemical peel?
You may be a good candidate for a chemical peel if you:
- Are physically healthy
- Don’t smoke
- Have a positive outlook and realistic goals in mind for the improvement of your appearance
- Are committed to maintaining good skin health
What can I expect?
Chemical solutions are carefully applied to your skin to improve the texture by removing damaged outer layers.
The formula used by your doctor will be adjusted to meet your particular needs.
There are three types of chemical peels:
- Light chemical peel- Subtle improvements at first, but that healthy glow will increase with more treatments
- Medium chemical peel- Your skin will be noticeably smoother and fresher-looking
- Deep chemical peel- Results are dramatic, but recovery takes the longest
What is the recovery time?
The recovery time depends on whether it was a superficial, medium or deep chemical peel.
What are the alternatives?
Depending on your skin type and particular concerns, combinations of treatment can be discussed. Each is unique and is best to discuss with your doctor on the treatment option that is designed specifically for you.
How many treatments shall I get?
The number of treatments depends on whether it was a superficial, medium or deep chemical peel.
What is the risk and safety profile?
A chemical peel is a very safe procedure; however, all chemical peels carry some risks and uncertainties.
From a superficial chemical peel, you are likely to experience some redness, stinging, skin flaking and irritation. These side effects tend to subside after repeated treatments.
The side effects of a medium chemical peel are similar to deep sunburn; some redness, stinging and flaking of the skin. Although these chemicals won’t bleach your skin, you may see some colour changes. You’re advised to avoid the sun and to use sunblock for several months to protect that fresh new layer of skin.
Deep chemical facial peels will result in peeling, crusting, skin redness and discomfort for several days to weeks. Painkillers will be provided.
The content on the Nairobi ENT website is not intended nor recommended as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your own physician or other qualified health care professional regarding any medical questions or conditions.
- Small, Rebecca. “Aesthetic procedures in office practice.” Am Fam Physician 80.11 (2009): 1231-7.
- Meaike, Jesse D., et al. “Noninvasive Facial Rejuvenation. Part 3: Physician-Directed—Lasers, Chemical Peels, and Other Noninvasive Modalities.” Seminars in plastic surgery. Vol. 30. No. 03. Thieme Medical Publishers, 2016.