Variable Depth TCA – Chemical Peels
Superficial Chemical peeling is growing in popularity for treatment of fine wrinkling, superficial facial scarring, pigmentary changes and acne. This technique offers many benefits, including visible results, minimal discomfort and little time in recovery.
Special acid (trichloracetic acid) is applied to remove the outer layers of the skin, affecting the surface appearance. Initially the face is degreased and cleansed, conditioning the skin for an even absorption of the chemical.
Depending on the skin reaction and sensitivity to the previous treatment, subsequent applications may be done with stronger concentrations. This procedure may be repeated every six weeks. The patient monitors the severity and duration of exfoliation, or peeling, and helps decide whether or not to increase applications.
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Immediately following treatment, most individuals will see a reddening of the skin, followed by a whitening that usually lasts for less than an hour, but in some instances as long as a day. The peeling is similar to a mild sunburn. Patients have also reported feeling some stinging, burning, itching and tightening of the skin for a few minutes to a few hours.
Exfoliation begins on the second day and may last for three to six days. Peeling ranges from visible to microscopic in degree. After treatment, the skin is more delicate and sensitive. Sun exposure should be avoided until the skin normalizes, in two to three weeks.
No unresolved damage has been documented in studies of superficial chemical peeling. Pigmentary changes may occur, but are uncommon and last only a few days or weeks after a chemical peeling. Darker skinned patients are prone to have more noticeable spotting, than light skinned individuals. Those with lighter skin are more likely to experience temporary redness after a peel.
Complications are rare. Should skin infections, irritation, allergic reactions or cold sores appear, medical treatment is necessary. Close adherence to instructions for skin care following a peel will help prevent problems.
For the patient with acne, peeling allows for the cleansing of clogged pores, aids in scarring prevention and improves the scarred surface. Benefits derived from treatment rival those of deeper chemical peeling and dermabrasion, with reduced pain, costs and risks. Also, many other acne therapies can be used in conjunction with peeling.
Natural pigmentary darkening or pigment changes caused by sun, masks, pregnancy and birth control pills usually respond rapidly to treatment.
For patients with moderate wrinkling or shallow scarring, the results are gratifying. Superficial peeling has only minimal effects on pits, depressed scars, furrows and folds.
Dermatologists began using chemical peeling near the turn of the century for therapeutic and cosmetic benefits. Advancements in techniques and chemical agents, have made Superficial Chemical Peeling an exciting treatment of choice for today, with more research underway.