Chemical Peels

What are chemical peels?

A chemical peel is a skin resurfacing procedure where a solution is applied to the top layer of skin. The skin that grows back is smoother. 

This treatment can diminish many signs of aging and can be performed on your face, hands, neck, or chest. Chemical peels also treat some skin conditions like acne, melasma, or discoloration. Finally, chemical peels can be used to treat pre-cancerous growths called actinic keratoses.

Why see a dermatologist for chemical peels?

The results of a chemical peel are largely dependent on the skill of the person performing the peel. By seeing a board certified dermatologist, you ensure that you get the best possible results through your treatment. At Dermatology Duluth, all aesthetic procedures are performed either by Dr. Reich or with her immediate oversight by our advanced practice esthetician. This offers our patients two advantages: professional experience AND safety.

How is a chemical peel performed?

A chemical peel is performed as an outpatient procedure in your doctor’s office.  Your skin will be thoroughly cleansed with an agent that removes excess oils, while your eyes and hair are protected. A chemical solution is then applied to your skin. Chemical solutions typically used include glycolic acid, trichloroacetic acid, salicylic acid, lactic acid or carbolic acid (phenol). The different types of chemicals cause a controlled injury, each penetrating through to a different skin depth, then peeling away to reveal a new layer of skin.

The different chemical solutions provide different results. The choice of chemical depends on your goal. You will work with your dermatologist to determine the depth of your peel.

What to expect at your appointment

Your dermatologist or esthetician will start by cleaning the skin to remove any make-up, lotion, or dirt. A second cleans is often performed to ensure that the skin is pristine and any surface oils are minimized. The chemical peel is then carefully applied to the skin in an even layer with additional layers added as needed. Your skin is carefully watched during this time to assess your response to the treatment. Upon completion of the process, the peeling agent is removed from the skin and the skin is then again gently cleansed and a cool compress is applied. Gentle moisturizers or emollients are applied to the skin and careful skincare instructions are provided for post-procedure care. 


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