Chemical Peels in New York

Frequently Asked Questions

Will a chemical peel cause my skin to appear whiter than the rest of my face?

Chemical peels treat the superficial layers of the skin and cause the skin to reorganize the collagen to a more youthful state. This in turn can cause many of the fine lines to soften and flatten out. The deeper the peel the more effective it is to improve the lines. But, the deeper the peel the more likely the face will stay red like a sunburn. The longer it stays red the more likely it will get whiter too when it is completely healed. This has been the result with many of the deeper peels like Phenol. Intermediate peels using Trichloracetic acid (TCA) are not as effective with line treatment for each individual treatment but can be repeated several times to get the desired effect without causing the skin to become hypopigmented (or white).

What types of chemical peels are there?

There are many forms of chemical peels. Some can be done by an aesthetician and some are deeper and need to be performed by a medical professional. More superficial peels are “fruit peels.” Deeper peels include salicylic acid, trichloracetic acid (TCA), and croton oil peels. In my practice, lasers really have taken over most skin peeling that I perform. I find that lasers do not require the skin to be pre-treated because one is not relying on penetration of chemicals in the skin. Furthermore, I find that lasers are more precise with the level of penetration and it is a more even penetration as well.

Do I need to pre-treat my skin before a chemical peel?

If I am performing a chemical peel, pretreatment is absolutely necessary for about 4-6 weeks prior to the procedure. This usually includes a combination of hydroquinone and retinoic acid to even the ability for the skin to allow adequate penetration of the chemicals and in effect cause a precise more even peel.

Are lasers better than chemical peels?

I think that you can get some very nice results with either a laser or chemical peel treatment. In my office, I prefer to use laser systems like the Erbium to provide precise peeling depths on all levels. I can perform microlaser peels on select areas or perform medium depth peels for full face treatment.  

What is the post-op care like after chemical peels?

The recovery will vary depending upon the depth of the peel. For most superficial peels, patients will heal within two to three days with a proper skin care regimen. For deeper peels, patients may take five to seven days to heal. For some of the chemical peels like TCA, the post care regimen may require absolutely nothing special in terms of immediate use of creams. Commonly the skin will develop a whitish glaze and then will turn brown. In a few days it gently peels away. As for the lasers, I will often have patients take antibiotics and an antiviral medication both pre- and post-procedure. They will also have to lather their face in a semi-occlusive cream like Aquaphor. Depending upon the depth of the peel, the skin may take on a reddish hue initially as if they had a slight sunburn, but usually within a short time the color improves.


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