What Is Chemical Peel?
A chemical peel is a procedure in which TCA, a caustic chemical is actually applied to the face. The dilution or the mix of the chemical allows it to cause a chemical reaction with the top layers of the skin and cause the upper layers that have skin damage to slough off. This allows us to effectively remove the top dry layers of the face skin and allows for the underlying healthier and younger skin to come forth. A similar result can also be obtained from lasers. However, many lasers cannot penetrate this deeply and so may not have as good a result.
How Painful Is the Procedure?
Like any surgical procedure, there is pain involved. Most patients comment that they have a moderate amount of pain. They note their pain is actually due to the burning sensation they feel during the initial part of the procedure. As the chemical is applied, it takes a few minutes to work. As it is working, it starts to burn. After two minutes the chemical reaction is neutralized and the burning sensation subsides. Following the procedure, patients note that the pain that they perceive is usually due to the skin sloughing and redness that they have after the procedure. Most often this burning feeling is much less and subsides over the next several days.
How Long Do I Have to Take Off From Work?
Great question. Most often I suggest to patients that they consider taking about 2 to 3 weeks off from work so that all the redness subsides. Mind you that you can return to work within a day. However, most patient faces are red and somewhat raw. This is because the younger tissue is still fairly fresh and has not become acclimated to the environment. We recommend patients start applying Neosporin to their faces right away and be diligent with it throughout. Also, we recommend patients do their best to stay out of the sun. Each patient is different but in my experience, I have seen most patients be active and up to most of their usual tasks by 3 weeks after surgery. Again each person and each body is different.
Can I Combine This Procedure With Any Other Procedure?
Yes. A chemical peel can be and is often routinely combined with some other surgical procedures. This is because in this way the initial burning feeling that patients complain of occurs during anesthesia. We routinely combine this with a breast augmentation, or a facelift or for that matter, an abdominoplasty.
What Are the Possible Complications?
Another good question. Like any procedure, a chemical peel can have complications. The complications routinely seen with chemical peel are hypersensitivity reactions, burns, skin sloughing, and overexposure. Most of these cannot really be predicted. We do our best to gauge the quality and type of skin of each individual. We also tend to tailor that to what we think the patient may need. If these two are a good match, then we offer the patient the procedure. In some cases, patients may have a bad reaction or may receive a deeper burn than what we would like. To minimize this, we keep a very strict treatment time of two minutes. This is an established protocol. With this exposure time, the chances for a deep burn are minimal. Also as long as the patient follows his or her directions and applies the Neosporin cream diligently and stays out of the sun as much as possible, the chances for a bad result are minimized.
Am I a Good Candidate?
Plastic surgery is not for everyone. It involves certain risks like any operative procedure. As long as you are aware of this fact, you can be considered for the procedure. However, in every case, the patient is best served by a thorough evaluation of their history, their body, and their overall expectations. You as the patient have to be realistic and cognizant of what is possible and what is reasonable. Trust me I am from Beverly Hills and I have had the privilege of working with many of the famous groups of plastic surgeons in LA. I can simply tell you there is no magic. We offer an opportunity to help you with surgical procedures in correcting what you may think is abnormal about your body. Also please understand that for many patients no surgery is needed; just a friendly word of encouragement and confidence from the local plastic surgeon.