- Skin Cancer
Chemical peels improve dull, weathered skin; freckling; pigmentation; sun damage; fine wrinkling and shallow acne scars.
Your skin is a living organ made up of millions of cells. Every day thousands of cells die, fall off and are replaced by new cells from below. Unfortunately, as we age, this becomes a slower and more haphazard process, making your skin unable to shed dark blotches and sun damage.
The function of a skin peel is to create an even controlled shedding of several layers of damaged cells. This exposes a new, fresh layer of skin with a more even colour and a smoother texture. In addition, the peel stimulates new cells to grow, thereby tightening the skin, which decreases wrinkling.
There are several types of peels, each using a different chemical to create its peeling effect. The chemicals used by Dr Wassall are trichloroacetic acid (TCA) and Jessner's solution. Unlike some other types of peel, these peels have the additional advantage of creating a fresh, natural appearing complexion, while preserving the normal skin colour. For this reason, they are often referred to as "freshening peels".
Although one peel can significantly improve the appearance of the skin, some skin problems are deeper than others. It is possible that you may require more than one peel to achieve good results. If you decide that you are interested in a chemical peel, you will need to have a consultation with Dr Wassall. He will examine your skin and discuss the potential benefits and risks of a peel for your particular skin type and condition. If it is determined that you are a good candidate for a peel, creams will be prescribed for you to use for a few weeks before your peel in order to prepare your skin for peeling. Good skin preparation helps ensure the peel penetrates the skin evenly and reduces the risk of complications.
A solution is applied to your skin. This is usually associated with two to three minutes of a burning sensation. This burning is so brief that most patients choose not to use any sedation or anaesthesia.
When the chemical is applied to the skin, it causes the top layers of cells to dehydrate and peel off over a period of several days. When the old skin has peeled off, it exposes a new layer of undamaged skin which has a smoother texture and a more even colour.
The depth of the peel can be customised to match your requirements with the amount of downtime you are prepared to tolerate. Deeper peels result in more downtime but achieve more dramatic results. Most people take between three days to a week to heal from a TCA or Jessner peel. During the healing process there is no pain, but the skin looks as if it has had a severe sunburn. Therefore, most patients choose to stay at home during this healing time.
Anyone who has a peel is more sensitive to sunlight for at least six to eight weeks after their peel. During this time it is very important to protect the new skin with sunscreen, hats and the avoidance of strong sunlight. However, most people are anxious to protect their new improved skin from the damage of sun exposure and they continue to wear sunscreen daily even after they have healed completely. Using glycolic acid and retinoic acid products after a peel results in enhancement of the cosmetic benefits as well as improving the longevity of the peel. These products are available from Dr Wassall.
As with any procedure, not everyone is a candidate for a peel. Unlike other peels, those done with TCA and Jessner's solution usually do not permanently lighten the skin. Therefore they can be performed on patients with darker skin types. People who are unable to resist the temptation to pick the peeling skin and those that suffer from severe cold sore outbreaks are not good candidates for peels.
Complications in this treatment are infrequent. In the worst case a permanent mark or scar can result. This is extremely rare and when it occurs is normally related to an abnormality such as people who have a disorder of healing, picking or cold sore infection.
In rare instances cold sore infection can be activated which may spread over the peeled area and in the worst case leave a scar. Peeling or picking the skin before it is ready to peel of its own accord will result in prolonged healing and possibly a permanent mark. Excessive pigmentation may occur, particularly in those who tan easily or if there is unprotected sun exposure within two months of the peel. It is virtually unknown that this does not totally respond to fading creams if treated when it appears.
There is an extra cost of around $60 for prescription strength skin care required to prepare the skin prior to chemical peeling.
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