Most brown marks, freckles & pigmentation can be removed or lessened, especially age & liver spots (lenigines). However, pigment changes can be caused by a peel in people prone to this complication due to their skin type. Scaly patches and rough skin (keratoses) can be removed but very thick keratoses may need additional treatment for complete removal. Skin that is thin & fragile such as sun-damaged skin & bald scalp skin can be significantly rejuvenated.
Scarring can occur with strong acids but it is unusual with weaker ones. The most common causes of scarring are infection & pulling off the skin before it is ready to peel both which are avoidable. Chemical peeling is not a substitute for a facelift, it doesn’t tighten sagging skin, stimulate collagen production or remove broken capillaries. Chemical peeling is not appropriate for people who continue to have excessive sun exposure. Cold sores can be activated in those who are prone to this condition but may be prevented with anti-viral medication. Increased pigmentation may occur but resolves with time & can usually be prevented by diligent use of a sunscreen for 3 months after the peel.
Depending on the type of peel used the skin will go pink or swollen over the next 24-hrs. Once the initial burning has worn off it feels tight but isn’t painful. Over the next few days the skin dries & may look slightly discoloured. Although water will do no harm, soap should be avoided.
The skin will begin to flake 3-7 days later & must be left to come off at its own pace. Once the skin has healed, make-up may be applied over the new skin. Sometimes a secondary peel occurs during the second week in the form of dry, scaling skin. Sunscreen SPF 30 is mandatory for at least 3 months & moisturisers are also helpful. Chemical peeling can be repeated to achieve the desired result between 2-4 weeks. It can be repeated at any time therefter in the future & will not harm the skin.
The habitual use of sunscreen will prevent further sun damage & maintain the improved skin quality. The use of vitamin creams, AHA creams or enzyme creams can also help improve the texture & reverse some of the effects caused by years of sun exposure.