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Do Chemical Peels Hurt?

General Skincare

Do Chemical Peels Hurt?

Chemical peels can be painful. Different types of chemical peels have varying levels of discomfort, with lighter peels typically causing less pain than medium or deep peels, which penetrate deeper into the skin and may be more uncomfortable.

Generally, light and medium peels can cause some discomfort. The level of unease can range from mild to moderate, depending on the individual’s personal tolerance for discomfort.

Most people feel tingling, while some may describe it as a mild or moderate burning sensation. Once the procedure is finished, the sensory experiences slowly diminish and disappear.

Patients should only communicate any concerns related to pain with their physician and the staff members at the facility where the procedure is scheduled to take place.


What Is a Chemical Peel?

Dermatologists use chemical peels to treat the negative effects of sun exposure and harmful UV rays by applying specific products directly to the skin. This treatment is usually done on the face and neck, and sometimes on the arms, to reduce skin damage caused by the sun.

Chemical peels are customized to meet the specific needs of each patient, leading to different treatment approaches. Various techniques are used to induce different skin reactions, all with the purpose of reducing sun damage.

Chemical peel services provide three fundamental options for treatment:

  • Light peels
  • Medium peels
  • Deep peels

Light Peels

Refreshing peels, also known as light peels or superficial peels, often use alpha-hydroxy acids to help treat imperfections like blemishes, sunspots, and fine wrinkles. This leads to the development of healthy and radiant skin. Alpha-hydroxy acid is a naturally occurring substance that can be found in various food sources, including fruits, and may seem intimidating to apply.

Treatment Schedule: Individuals may choose to undergo a peeling process every two to three weeks, typically not exceeding eight treatment sessions. It is common to experience some redness after following the procedure, but it usually goes away within a few days.

Medium Peels

Trichloroacetic acid is used as the primary medium in medium peels. The application of this treatment approach effectively addresses a wider range of unfavorable skin conditions compared to a light peel, including:

  • Acne
  • Discoloration
  • Large wrinkles
  • Precancerous skin lesions

Treatment Schedule: Every other year, your skin may experience a severe sunburn-like appearance for at least one week.

Deep Peels

The use of deep peels has become less popular with the introduction of laser resurfacing, but it still remains an effective treatment option. A deep peel provides more noticeable results compared to lighter or medium peels by reaching deeper into the dermis.


Conditions That a Chemical Peel Can Treat

Dermatologists can provide assistance through the use of chemical peels for signs of aging, sun damage, or certain skin conditions. It is recommended to consult with a doctor and ask about the possibility of pursuing treatment. By choosing a chemical peel, you can effectively address these skin concerns.

  • Discoloration (including uneven skin tone)
  • Melasma
  • Certain acne types
  • Age spots
  • Freckles
  • Fine wrinkles
  • Rough skin
  • Sun damage

Some individuals may not find chemical peels to be the most effective solution. It is recommended to consult with our dermatologist in order to determine a suitable resolution for your specific condition.

How the Procedure Works

The process of receiving a chemical peel may seem intimidating to some individuals. However, seeking guidance from a qualified dermatologist guarantees a straightforward and uncomplicated process. Before the treatment, our medical professionals will give you all the necessary information and answer any questions or concerns you may have.

Get ready for a chemical peel and learn about the known aspects of this skincare technique.

Pretreating the skin: Patients may need to follow a pre-treatment skin care regimen that can last from two to four weeks, depending on their individual case. The preliminary phase, required by your dermatologist, is intended to enhance treatment results and minimize potential negative effects.

Cleansing the skin: The first step on treatment day involves using alcohol or phenol to cleanse the skin. By removing oil from the outer layer of skin, this process allows the peeling agent to penetrate the skin effectively at the desired depth and location.

Administering anesthesia: Doctors use general anesthesia to ensure your comfort during deep peels, allowing for a peaceful experience. Deep peels require a surgical environment as they target layers deep beneath the skin’s surface. On the other hand, light or medium peels generally do not require anesthesia.

Applying the peel: Dermatologist applies the peel evenly to the skin using different techniques depending on the specific area being treated, such as the face, neck, chest, arms, or other regions. Sometimes, a fan is used to cool and reduce any potential discomfort during the application of the peel.

Neutralizing or cleansing the peel: Some peels are removed to eliminate them, while others need to be purified. After a superficial or moderate peeling process, it is recommended to apply moisturizer, sunblock, or a refreshing compress to soothe the skin. In the case of a deep peel, the wound will need to be bandaged for surgical care.


Are They Safe?

One commonly asked question involves the safety of face peels. The answer to this question is yes. Chemical peels are used by cosmetic professionals to treat different skin conditions such as severe acne, acne scars, sun damage, and melasma.

Research studies have consistently found that chemical peel treatments have very few adverse effects. Medium and deeper peels may cause mild skin redness, small bumps, and potential scarring as rare side effects.

The benefits of a facial peel outweigh the occasional and minimal negative effects.

Can Procedures Get Combined?

Yes because it is common for individuals undergoing treatment to receive a chemical peel in addition to another procedure called microdermabrasion. The combination of these two techniques produces very positive results, demonstrating their effectiveness.

A time gap of four to six weeks is recommended for patients to redo this specific combination. It is important for the skincare establishment to offer the patient a wide range of options, including the opportunity to combine different procedures, during the consultation.

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