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Blog

Peeling Away the Years

Donald Sudy, MD

Do you ever wish you could start all over and take better care of your skin? Peel away the sun damage? Chemical peels can give you that chance. Peels can reduce lines, soften wrinkles and acne scars, reduce dark spots, and smooth out the roughness caused by years of sun exposure.

A chemical peel is an acid solution applied to the face to remove the outermost layer or layers of skin. Chemical peels work because they are acidic, loosening the skin cells. The skin scales and peels over several days. The new skin that grows in its place is softer, smoother, brighter, more even colored and has fewer imperfections.

There are a wide range of chemical peels and they peel to different depths: very superficial, superficial, moderate, and deep. The depth of the peel is determined by three factors: the acidity, the strength and how long it stays on the skin.

Lighter peels exfoliate the outermost layer of skin, called the epidermis. Moderate and deep peels go deeper down into the dermis. Deeper peels involve more risk, more discomfort, and more healing time.

Medium and deep peels require more recovery time, during which you take antiviral medication and stay indoors. After a medium peel, skin will be red and swollen for several days. After deep peels, the face is bandaged and can takes up to 3 weeks to heal. Deeper peels, which can require local anesthesia and a sedative, are the purview of a physician.

The chemical peels commonly offered in a medi-spa setting are classified as "very superficial" and "superficial" peels, limited to the skin's epidermis. But just because they are "superficial" doesn't mean you won't have results. Your skin should just look smoother, softer, and brighter. Light chemical peels can provide dramatic results on middle-aged to older clients who haven't been exfoliating. They can also be good for unclogging pores and increasing cell turnover on acne prone skin. These light chemical peels are usually done in a series of four to six, a week or two apart. No matter what the depth of the chemical peel, it is important to protect your skin from the sun afterwards.

To read about which peels are offered at Evolve Medical Associates, click here.

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Meet the surgeons: Dr. Donald Sudy and Dr. Sarah Yousuff