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How Safe Is a Chemical Peel?

What Are the Side Effects of a Chemical Peel?

Though the benefits of a chemical peel outweigh the negatives for most people, chemical peeling does carry risks, as does any medical procedure. Some of the side effects of a chemical peel that you might encounter include:

  • Possible harm to organs. The deeper the peel, the more the potential for damage, so the procedure is done over small increments of time, usually less than 20 minutes. This is very unlikely, however.
  • Redness, swelling, and scabbing over the area. Since skin is being “peeled,” healing and regrowth of new skin will occur. Each person is different, and everyone will not experience all of these side effects, but it is normal if you do.
  • Possible infection. Some patients experience infection and/or a breakout of herpes after a chemical peel. If you are prone to cold sores, your chances of this are higher.

What Is a Chemical Peel?

A chemical peel is a procedure that resurfaces an area by removing skin so that healthier skin can grow back. It can be used to get rid of acne scars, reduce large keloid scars, lessen skin discoloration, and many other skin conditions. A certified dermatologist specially trained in this process will apply the solution to your skin for the prescribed period of time. Your physician will follow your care through the healing process to make sure that you do not have any complications or to treat them if necessary.

Types of Chemical Peels

Chemical peels come in different strengths for different treatments of the skin. A light, superficial chemical peel that is similar to a mild exfoliation is usually glycolic acid or salicylic acid. Salicylic acid is sometimes used to reduce some wrinkles. Trichloroacetic acid is generally used in medium chemical peels for skin discoloration or to lessen lines on your face. Phenol is frequently used for the deepest chemical peel. This requires the most lengthy prep time before surgery, has the longest recovery, and holds the most risk. You and your dermatologist will discuss all of this before your procedure so you feel comfortable.

Recovery Time After a Chemical Peel

The major portion of recovery time is usually approximately two weeks. It is possible that it could take an additional two months or so for all of the redness to go away and for the full effect of your new skin to be appreciated. Repeating the procedure might be necessary to achieve the best results, which would require another period of recovery.

If you are considering a chemical peel, call us today at The Dermatology Group to set up an appointment with one of our dermatologists. We are here to answer any questions you have about the chemical peel process. We want to help you look and feel your best.

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