Facial Peels

Written by Serena Berger
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Facials peels are a procedure performed by a certified plastic surgeon. While they don't require incisions and stitches, many of them have significant recovery periods associated with them, and there are risks inherent in the procedure. If you have severe skin discoloration from sun damage, serious blemishes, or wrinkles that you hate (but you want to avoid a facelift), you might consider one of the three basic types of facial peels.

Types of Facial Peels

With a phenol peel (the most powerful kind), you are essentially stripping the skin off your face. You will not be able to do anything for two weeks as a protective coating of plasma and scabs forms, which is then slowly removed while new skin grows. Complete recovery can take a couple of months. Clearly, this is not a procedure to be undertaken lightly--but for people with severe sun damage or pre-cancerous growths, it is a viable and often desirable option with dramatic results.

TCA, or trichloroacetic, peels are much more common, and are the medium strength procedure. TCA will smooth out many fine or possibly moderate surface wrinkles, correct some pigment problems, and remove surface blemishes. Often, after a phenol peel, a person will never be able to produce skin pigment again. With a TCA peel, this is very unlikely--but you still have to be careful for several months not to expose the newly formed skin to the sun. Because the skin is not bleached at all, TCA peels work on anyone, including those with dark skin, and can be used anywhere on the body.

AHA, or alphahydroxy acid, peels are the most common, and the least dangerous, requiring virtually no recovery time. They can treat conditions such as rough skin, mild pigment problems, and dryness. They can also aid in controlling (though they do not cure) acne. Alphahyroxy acids are also available in milder forms in skin care products that you can get from department stores or drugstores.

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