Non-Surgical Treatments

Chemical peels are used to improve the colour and texture of skin and make superficial wrinkles less noticeable. As with other skin resurfacing techniques (such as lasers and dermabrasion) the deeper more aggressive the peel the more wrinkling will be reduced. On the other hand, the deeper and more aggressive the peel, the greater the risk of complications such as change in skin pigment and the longer the recovery time. There are many different types of skin peel and concentrations. The most appropriate skin peel for an individual will depend on their skin type, their aspirations in terms of outcome and their tolerance of "down time". We use chemical peels based on ascorbic acid, lactic acid and trichloroacetic acid.

Ascorbic Acid Peel
Ascorbic acid peels are suitable for almost all skin types but are perhaps most useful in unevenly pigmented and heavily pigmented skins. It is very gentle and other than a little very mild redness for a few hours generally has no down time.

Lactic Acid Peel
Lactic acid peels are suitable for all skin types but are generally most beneficial to younger patients (under 40 years) with relatively fair skin. After the peel a little shedding may be noticed and perhaps light frosting. A little redness may be noticed for 24 hours or so but this is minimal.

Trichloroacetic Acid Peel (TCA)
Trichloroacetic acid peels are commonly used for all skin types but most frequently patients over 40. They are a little stronger than either Ascorbic or Lactic Acid peels but their effect and recovery time depend very much on the strength of the peel. In general, those that are used in the office are between 2-12%. A little redness will be noticed for 24 hours or so but is relatively easy to conceal. Recovery is very speedy.

TCA peels are also used during surgery and as a treatment for specific skin wrinkles and acne scars but these are of a higher concentration (30%), cause considerably more redness and have a longer recovery time. Healing usually takes five or six days and the "new" skin tends to remain pink for eight to twelve weeks, though it can be easily covered with makeup. These more concentrated peels can also be done in the office with local anaesthetic cream so long as the area for treatment is not too large.

Office-based peels should be seen as part of a treatment programme and generally involve at least three treatments separated by a month or so. They are designed to improve skin quality generally and make pigmentation more even. The most well recognised complication of peels of all sorts is that of changing skin pigment. This is very unlikely to occur in the dilute, mild peels discussed above.

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