Chemical peels or facial peels have been used since the time of the ancient Egyptians. They used raw apples, spoiled milk and other fruit acids to rejuvenate the skin. A chemical peel is a treatment that chemically exfoliates the top layers of the skin to reveal a smoother texture and healthier skin. Chemical peels are used to treat a number of skin conditions. These include, fine lines, hyper-pigmentation, environmental damage and acne conditions. If performed properly, healing time is minimal.
There are many different types of peels ranging from very superficial peels to deep peels. The main goal of a chemical peel is exfoliation of dead skin cells so that there is rapid turnover of the cells. This results in new collagen formation. Many practices and spas give their peels names such as, “relaxation peel,” “signature facial,” and “oxygen facial.” The problem is that they never tell you what is in these peels. Many times, there are no pharmaceutical grade products that actually act on the skin. They are nothing more than glorified face creams and facial massages.
Basically, moderate to deep peels are the only ones that truly treat the skin. Absorption into the skin is pH – dependent. Therefore, the peeling agent, an acid, will sting and sometimes burn when applied. For this reason, Dr. Mueller performs these peels with IV sedation in most cases. Once the peeling agent is neutralized, the patient is awakened and the stinging / burning is not realized. Healing is pain-free at home from that point. Mild to moderate peels can be performed without IV sedation, but most mild peels need to performed in multiple sessions (every 3 – 4 weeks for about 6 – 9 months). Moderate and deep peels only require one to three treatments to obtain a more desirable result.
Dr. Mueller uses TCA, Obagi Blue Peel (A type of TCA peel), Jessner’s, Glycolic (alpha-hydroxy) acid, Flower and Salicylic (beta-hydroxy) acids for his medium and deep peels. Following a TCA peel procedure, the patient feels as if they have a sun burn for about a day. The other types of peels have warmth feeling for about one day. The skin turns from pink to light brown (in the case of a TCA peel) and peels in 5 – 7 days. Once the peeling is complete, the new, younger skin is visible and the brown spots are typically gone or much lighter. Makeup can be applied on day 7.
Dr. Mueller is a huge proponent of the use of sunscreen. He even recommends the use of SPF make-ups. These are very important, especially following chemical peels, as the new skin is very sensitive and vulnerable to sunlight. In order to maintain healthy skin following your peel, Dr. Mueller recommends that you maintain, or begin, your home skin-care regimen.