The art of removing the superficial layers of skin by means of chemical peeling agents for the purpose of rejuvenation has been practiced since ancient times. The Greeks, the Egyptians and later the Romans studied and performed chemical skin peels with the help of various balms and oils.
Today’s sophisticated alpha and beta hydroxy acids (lactic acid, citric acid, tartaric acid) have been used successfully for hundreds of years, initially in the form of extracts from fruits, berries and sour milk.
Starting in the late nineteen hundreds, trichloroacetic acid (TCA), hydroxy acids (i.e. salicylic acid) and phenol peels experienced periods of fluctuating popularity. The enthusiasm about carbon dioxide laser resurfacing in the 1990s led to a decrease in the number of chemical peels performed. As the limitations of laser treatments are unfolding, chemical peels for the treatment of photodamage are being commonly included in the comprehensive rejuvenation plans for our patients.
Chemical peels are attractive because of their predictability of results, their good safety record and the ability to modulate the result according to the specific needs of the patient. The resurfacing stops at a predetermined point of depth without injuring the skin layers underneath. This is in contrast to some laser treatments, where a burn injury to deeper tissues may result in extended periods of recovery.
We categorize chemical peels into superficial, medium-depth and deep depending to the depth of penetration. Glycolic and Jessner’s peels are examples of superficial chemical peels that are successfully used by well-trained estheticians.
Dr. Fechner applies medium-depth (doctor strength) chemical peels for the treatment of fine lines and wrinkles, pigmentation changes, skin scaring and to tighten and improve the overall skin quality. These peels are performed in the office (Worcester, Massachusetts) and require a recovery period ranging from a few days to one week.
Deep chemical peels are for instance the Baker-Gordon peel – a technique based on effects of phenol. Although very effective, these deep resurfacing treatments are rarely necessary in Boston and throughout New England.
Especially important for the success of chemical peels is the appropriate preparation, skilled performance and diligent aftercare in order to minimize downtime and maximize the benefits.
During the private consultation, Dr. Fechner will discuss if a chemical peel is appropriate for the specific concerns the patient may have.
For more information about the various non-surgical procedures, please follow these links: