There are three main types of peels. Light peels are most commonly performed using alpha-hydroxy acids. These are naturally occurring acids found in fruits and other foods. Alpha-hydroxy acids have proven to be effective in treating dry skin, acne, liver or sun spots, diminishing fine facial wrinkles, decreasing pore size, and improving skin texture. Light peels are usually performed in a series of six to eight peels, each peel two or three weeks apart. This type of peel leaves the skin with a red glow that only lasts for a day or so.
Medium peels are usually performed with trichloroacetic acid. These peels are only performed once every couple of years. Medium peels have the same benefits as light peels and in addition remove larger wrinkles and precancerous skin lesions because of deeper penetration. The draw back is that a medium peel makes the skin on the face look like severe sunburn for one week. If one has multiple precancerous skin lesions this is better than using Efudex, which makes the face look sore for six to eight weeks. A person having a medium peel must stay in for one week to recover from the procedure. This type of peel is also better than liquid nitrogen because it treats small precancers that are too small to be seen with the naked eye. Like a medium peel, liquid nitrogen also takes one week of recovery time but is only good for treating larger precancerous skin lesions.
Deep peels with stronger chemicals get rid of large wrinkles and can have results as dramatic as a face-lift. This type of peel has a recovery time of 1-2 months. This peel is being done less since the introduction of laser resurfacing.
Back to Index
The medical information provided in this site is for educational purposes only and is the property of the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice and shall not create a physician - patient relationship. If you have a specific question or concern about a skin lesion or disease, please consult a dermatologist. Any use, re-creation, dissemination, forwarding or copying of this information is strictly prohibited unless expressed written permission is given by the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology.