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Chemical Peels FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

Chemical peels, also known a chemexfoliation or derma-peeling, is a technique which uses an exfoliating chemical solution to remove damaged or old layers of skin. This prompts the body to generate a new layer of skin cells that is smoother and younger-looking. A chemical peel can reduce or eliminate fine lines and wrinkles, correct uneven skin coloring, treat scars caused by acne, and even remove pre-cancerous skin growths.

If you’re considering a chemical peel, you may have a lot of questions. Of course, many of the topics you’re wondering about are probably the same questions patients ask us practically every day. To provide you with an overview about the treatment, we’ve put together our answers to the most commonly-asked questions we’re asked about chemical peels:

Q. What skin conditions can be treated with chemical peels?

Chemical peels can be used to treat a variety of conditions, including acne scars and other blemishes; age spots, freckles, melasma and other hyperpigmentation issues; crow’s feet; sun-damaged skin; wrinkles and fine lines; and sagging skin.

Q. Who is a good candidate for a chemical peel?

The peels we use are safe and effective for all skin types (Fitzpatrick Skin Types I-VI)

Q: How is a chemical peel performed?

A. A light or medium peel can be performed on outpatient basis, in our medical office. No anesthesia is required. Deeper peels, especially if done in conjunction with another facial rejuvenation procedure like a facelift, are often done in a hospital setting with anesthesia. Before any type of chemical peel, your skin will first be cleansed and toned to remove natural surface oils. The chosen chemical will then be applied gently to your skin in one or more layers. After a specified length of time, the acidic solution will be neutralized and removed from your skin, which is then wiped clean and treated with a moisturizer or antibacterial ointment.

Q. How long does the procedure usually take?

A. Light peels can be completed in about 15 minutes, while deeper peels may require 45 minutes to one hour.

Q: What should I expect immediately after the procedure?

A. After a light or medium peel your skin may feel tight and look extremely red, as it does after a sunburn. This will be followed by a period of flaking and peeling. After a deep peel, expect several days of discomfort and tenderness as your skin becomes crusted and weeps clear fluid. It may be a few weeks until you see pink, new skin, which must be protected from the sun just as you would with an infant’s skin. You will be given detailed instructions for post-procedure recovery at home.

Q: Do chemical peels hurt?

A: Mild peels may sting briefly during or immediately following the treatment, while medium or deep peels may require medication to make relieve discomfort after the procedure.

Q: How long is the recovery period after a chemical peel?

A. Patients who opt for a light peel can usually return to their normal activities immediately. Medium or deep peels may require a few days or up to two weeks of recuperation. Complete healing may take several months.

Q: What are the risks?

A. Risks during a chemical peel are rare. Deep chemical peels have more risks than a mild peel. The risks include allergic reaction to the ingredients, crusting of the skin, increased risk of sunburn, infection, organ failure, redness, scarring, skin discoloration and swelling.

Q: How many treatments will be needed?

A. This depends on the quality of the skin, the amount of skin damage, the skin type and depth of pigment, and the cosmetic goals of the patient. In general, light peels may require 4 to 6 treatments every 1 to 3 weeks to achieve the desired look, followed by monthly or bi-monthly treatments to maintain their results. Medium peels may need to be repeated every 6 to 12 months to maintain optimal results. A deep peel is normally a one-time procedure.

Q: Are chemical peels covered by health insurance?

A. Like most cosmetic procedures, a chemical peel is not usually covered by health insurance, except where it is deemed a medical necessity. Ask to talk with a financial representative from the Atlanta Institute for Facial Aesthetic Surgery who can explain costs of the procedure and determine if insurance coverage is an option for you.

Have more questions? One of the best ways to get additional information, and to learn about what type of chemical peel treatment is best for you, is to come in for a complimentary consultation. To book your appointment, please fill out the online contact form or call the Atlanta Institute for Facial Aesthetic Surgery at (404) 256-5428.

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