FAC­ING YOUR AGE

Im­prove and re­new your skin with a chem­i­cal peel process

201 Health - - News - WRIT­TEN BY JENNIFER L. NEL­SON

Im­prove and re­new your skin with a chem­i­cal peel process

When it comes to cos­metic treat­ments, laser resur­fac­ing might be all the rage – but the laser’s pre­de­ces­sor, the chem­i­cal peel, might still be the way to go when it comes to eras­ing skin dam­age and im­prov­ing the over­all look and qual­ity of your skin.

Though the chem­i­cal peel has been around for three or four decades, Dr. Steve R. Fallek of Fallek Plas­tic Surgery in En­gle­wood Cliffs says the cos­metic treat­ment re­mains highly ef­fec­tive for a va­ri­ety of facial treat­ments.

The pro­ce­dure re­volves around a chem­i­cal so­lu­tion ap­plied to the skin to make it blis­ter and peel off – only to re­veal new, re­ju­ve­nated skin un­derneath that ap­pears smoother and less wrin­kled. Be­fore a chem­i­cal peel, pa­tients pre­pare the skin in ad­vance by us­ing med­i­ca­tions such as

Retin-A, Ren­ova or gly­colic acid; a doc­tor might also pre­scribe an­tibi­otics or an­tivi­ral drugs.

“Peo­ple are spend­ing a lot of money on lasers now,” Fallek says. “While there’s noth­ing sexy about a chem­i­cal peel, and it may be a lit­tle bit ‘old school,’ it’s of­ten just as ef­fec­tive and can be a bet­ter treat­ment op­tion than lasers.”

For the most part, chem­i­cal peels have proven safe for the ma­jor­ity of pa­tients; the more se­ri­ous side ef­fects can in­clude pig­men­ta­tion changes and scar­ring.

Per­formed on the face, neck or hands, chem­i­cal peels can im­prove the over­all look and feel of the skin and are used to treat ev­ery­thing from agere­lated fine lines and wrin­kles to freck­les, brown spots or other signs of skin dam­age. They can also im­prove the ap­pear­ance of mild scars, treat some forms of acne, and re­duce the ap­pear­ance of age spots and dark patches caused by preg­nancy or oral con­tra­cep­tives.

Ac­cord­ing to Fallek, one of the chem­i­cal peel’s most de­sir­able fea­tures is the fact that pa­tients can choose the level of in­ten­sity for the pro­ce­dure based on their in­di­vid­ual skin. A physi­cian can work with each pa­tient to de­ter­mine the depth of the peel needed, which de­pends on the cur­rent con­di­tion of the skin and their goals for treat­ment. A pa­tient look­ing to min­i­mize the ap­pear­ance of fine lines and min­i­mal sun dam­age might see re­sults from a grad­ual, at-home prod­uct from their doc­tor, while some­one who wants to re­duce the ap­pear­ance of deep wrin­kles or se­vere hy­per­pig­men­ta­tion might re­quire a deeper chem­i­cal peel per­formed un­der anes­the­sia while in their of­fice.

“Chem­i­cal peels,” says Dr. Frank J. Fer­raro of Plas­tic Surgery Spe­cial­ists of New Jersey in Para­mus, “are per­fect for things such as fine wrin­kles, hy­per­pig­men­ta­tion and brown spots, which we see in women of all ages be­cause of tak­ing med­i­ca­tions and oral con­tra­cep­tives or spend­ing time in a tanning bed.”

“Some­times peo­ple come in early and just need some Retin-A or to use more sun­block,” Fer­raro says, “while oth­ers might re­quire a more dras­tic pro­ce­dure like a neck or facelift to ob­tain the re­sults they want.”

Fer­raro al­ways re­minds pa­tients to main­tain re­al­is­tic goals with re­gard to how their face will look af­ter it has healed from the pro­ce­dure. And re­cov­ery time will vary de­pend­ing on the depth of the peel.

“There are al­ways go­ing to be peo­ple with un­re­al­is­tic ex­pec­ta­tions,” Fer­raro says. “A chem­i­cal peel is go­ing to im­prove your facial ap­pear­ance a great deal, but it’s not go­ing to just erase all of your wrin­kles. You also have to be pa­tient, use the right prod­ucts prior to the pro­ce­dure and give your skin plenty of time to heal.”

To en­sure long-last­ing re­sults, those who opt for a chem­i­cal peel are also urged to take the nec­es­sary steps to pre­vent fur­ther dam­age to their new layer of skin – namely, mak­ing healthy life­style choices, like re­frain­ing from smok­ing, us­ing mois­tur­izer on a reg­u­lar ba­sis and al­ways ap­ply­ing sun­screen be­fore spend­ing time out­doors.

“If a pa­tient has li­po­suc­tion but then they eat ice cream ev­ery night,” Fallek says, “the fat is go­ing to come back. And the same thing is go­ing to hap­pen with your wrin­kles when you have a chem­i­cal peel but then go out into the sun all the time.”

TO­TAL TRANS­FOR­MA­TION

In some cases, chem­i­cal peels can also be per­formed in con­junc­tion with other cos­metic treat­ments, such as face or eyelid lifts, to max­i­mize re­sults.

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