WHAT IS A GLYCOLIC ACID PEEL AND HOW CAN IT IMPROVE THE APPEARANCE OF MY SKIN?
Glycolic acid is a chemical derived from sugar cane and fruit acids such as pineapple and unripe grapes. The use of glycolic acid can correct the visible signs of photoaging by enhancing cell renewal, hydrating, and exfoliating the skin. On a more scientific level, glycolic acid has been shown to increase collagen and hyaluronic acid production. These properties have the following potential benefits to your skin:
- Improvement of fine lines or wrinkles
- The disappearance or lightening of age / sun spots
- A decrease in the appearance of larger pores
- Improvement of mottled skin
- Softening of texture of sun-damaged skin
- An increase in skin's water content and moisture
- Improvement of acne and inflammatory cysts
WHAT ARE THE POSSIBLE RISKS AND ADVERSE SIDE EFFECTS?
- Temporary skin redness
- Temporary skin peeling
- Temporary skin bubbling / small blister-like bumps
- Skin discoloration
- Possible worsening of a skin condition, like eczema
HOW DO I PREPARE FOR MY PEEL?
- If you currently use a topical retinol cream or prescription retinoid (i.e. Retina or Remova), stop applying it to your face and neck 5 days before a peel
- Do not schedule any waxing or facials one week prior to a peel or one week after
- DO wash your face and remove all makeup before coming in to the office
- DO NOT go to a tanning salon (ever). But particularly the two weeks after your glycolic acid peel.
- Let the doctor know if you have any sensitive areas of your face or have underwent any recent procedures prior to your peel
- If you have a history of cold sores, let the doctor know prior to your peel.
WHAT HAPPENS DURING THE PROCEDURE?
During the procedure, one or more coats of topical acid will be applied to your skin. This will result in a slight stinging, mild burning, or itching sensation to your skin. The peel is left on the face for 1-5 minutes depending on each individual's response. At the end of the peel, a neutralizing formula is sprayed onto the face and finally a soothing moisturizer is applied. It is advised that you wear a sun screen (SPF 15-30) on your face on a daily basis, particularly after a peel, to protect your skin from the harmful effect of UV light. Depending on your medical history, the doctors may prescribe an antiviral and/or antibacterial medication, particularly if you have a history of getting cold sores.
Your skin will look refreshed and pink, much like how your skin looks after a workout or a good run. It may remain pink with some mild flaking from 1 hour to 1 week or longer, depending on how your skin responds to the peel. Makeup such as concealer is permitted until the redness resolves. You may, or may not, also experience peeling, scaliness, blisters, erosions (with stronger strength peels) and possible scabbing over the next week, which is temporary, revealing smoother and more radiant skin. During the week following your peel, you should apply a moisturizer with a sun screen or topical medicine if prescribed.
WHAT CAN I EXPECT?
After one peel, your skin will look brighter and you may detect a healthier glow to your skin. Results may be subtle at first. However, for more significant and long-lasting effects, like lightening of sun/age spots, reduction of fine lines, improvement of tone and texture, a series of at least three peels is recommended. Monthly peels are advised for continued anti aging and skin maintenance benefits.
WHAT IS A TRICLOROACETIC ACID PEEL?
Tricloroacetic acid (TCA) is a deeper peel reserved for those patients with dermatological conditions such as melasma, deep sun/age spots, acne scarring and severe actinic, textural and pigmentary changes.
Much like glycolic acid, TCA is painted on the skin. However, TCA, unlike glycolic acid causes the skin to turn a frosty white and then a violet or brown color. This violet/brown color forms a scab or crust which eventually falls off revealing pink, new skin that is lighter in pigment. There is more down time associated with TCA contingent on the size of the area. Usually after two weeks, your skin will be healed enough for you to wear makeup. Depending on the depth of your problem and hyperpigmentation, Dr. Silbret will discuss with you if one or more treatments are necessary to achieve the end result.