How Long Do Chemical Peels Last?

Have you tried every prescription cream for your acne to no avail? Are you plagued by wrinkles caused by age or sun damage, acne scars, or trauma scars? Are you sick and tired of over-the-counter products doing nothing but costing you money? If so, you may benefit greatly from a chemical peel at the Dermatology Center of Acadiana in Lafayette, LA. To find out how long chemical peels last, keep reading below!

How Long Do Chemical Peels Last? 

The results of chemical peels can last anywhere from one month to the rest of your life. The longevity of a chemical peel’s results depends on several factors, but the most significant factor is the strength of the peel.

A light, or superficial, peel produces results that usually last between one and two months. A medium peel’s results will last between two and six months, and the results of a deep peel last forever.

What Results Can I Expect From a Light Peel? 

A superficial chemical peel is designed to result in the peeling of the epidermis, the outer layer of your skin. This results in the temporary treatment of acne, rosacea, dry skin, and wrinkles.

Although the results of treatment usually last between one and two months after your skin is done peeling, you may need treatment as regularly as biweekly if you have frequent acne breakouts or chronically dry skin.

What Results Can I Expect From a Medium Peel? 

From a medium peel, you can expect results that are far more dramatic than the results provided by a superficial peel. The acids used in this peel remove skin cells from the epidermis, just like the much milder acids used in light chemical peels.

However, the acids used for this treatment are so strong that skin cells from the upper portion of the middle layer of your skin, also known as your dermis, are removed. This powerful, convenient treatment results in the removal of acne scars, moderate wrinkles, and moderate-to-severe hyperpigmentation.

After several sessions, once the acne scars are removed completely, the results are permanent. However, you may need follow-up sessions two to six times annually to maintain a smooth, wrinkle-free complexion.

What Results Can I Expect From a Deep Peel? 

Deep peels are used to address such serious cosmetic and medical concerns as precancerous growths, several types of scars, and severe wrinkles. Again, the treatment of wrinkles isn’t permanent. Eventually, you will need further treatment for deep wrinkles, such as Juvederm. However, once scars are removed, they will not come back.

Keep in mind, due to the intense nature of the chemicals used for a deep peel, you can only receive one session in your life. If you develop cosmetic concerns in the future, you will need to come back for a light or medium peel or alternative treatment.

Also, note that no treatment yet exists for boxcar scars. However, we can remove virtually every other type of scar, including surgical scars and scars resulting from a traumatic injury.

What Can I Expect During the Treatment? 

Your experience during your treatment session depends primarily on the strength of the peel you need to achieve your desired results.

What to Expect During a Superficial Peel

By far, the superficial peel is the easiest peel to receive due to the gentle nature of the acids used. During a superficial chemical peel, the chemical solution, comprising both glycolic acid and salicylic acid, is applied to your skin using a cotton ball.

At this point, the treated skin begins to whiten. You will feel the acid start to “burn” your skin, but you will not experience pain. Afterward, we will wash the chemical solution from your skin with a neutralizing solution.

What to Expect During a Medium Peel

A medium peel is very similar to a superficial peel. The most significant difference between these two treatments is the acids used in the chemical solution. While a superficial peel uses a combination of glycolic and salicylic acids, a medium peel is performed with a solution that marries the benefits of glycolic acid and trichloroacetic acid.

As with the superficial peel, the treated area will begin to whiten immediately and you will feel the solution affecting your skin. A few minutes after your treatment starts, a cool compress will be applied to your skin to ensure that you experience no pain or discomfort during your session. You may also request to use a hand-held fan, but most of our clients find this to be unnecessary.

Since there is no need for sedation or anesthesia, you can tell us at any point if you need a break and a cold compress. Your skin will feel warm for up to 20 minutes after your session, but it will not be painful.

What to Expect During a Deep Peel

Since the acids used to perform a deep chemical peel are so intense, and they affect the skin so deeply, a deep chemical peel is pretty different from a superficial or medium chemical peel. You can expect to take several breaks during your treatment session.

During these times, your skin will be cooled with a small fan directed at the treatment area. You will also be given intravenous fluids and we will monitor your pulse closely throughout your treatment. A cotton-tipped applicator is used to apply phenol, also known as carbolic acid, to the targeted areas.

While most people’s skin turns white, it’s not unusual for the skin to turn gray. This treatment is performed in 15-minute intervals with periods of cooling and soothing the skin. If you are targeting your entire face, you can expect your treatment session to last around 90 minutes.

How Long Does the Peeling Process Last? 

The peeling process typically starts within two to three days of your peel. At that point, it can last anywhere from two to five days. Therefore, you can expect to see the results of your treatment somewhere between four and eight days after you received your chemical peel.

However, we’d like to reiterate that individual results vary based on a number of factors, including how well you follow post-treatment instructions.

Why You Shouldn’t Pick at Peeling Skin

One of the most frequently asked questions we get regarding a chemical peel is will picking at my peeling skin help me see results faster. The answer is a resounding no. Picking at your peeling skin will not speed up your skin’s natural peeling process, and it is very risky.

It is so risky, in fact, that we encourage each of our clients to do their utmost to not touch their face with their fingers until the peeling process is complete. There are several things that can happen if you pick at peeling facial skin. The most common result of such an action is severe acne breakouts.

Even if you wash your hands regularly, the skin on your hands has oil that can trigger severe acne breakouts. Furthermore, there is a chance that your fingertips will transfer an irritant that will trigger a painful infection. Do yourself a favor and make a conscious effort to not touch your face with your bare hands.

What You Should Do After Treatment

After your chemical peel, it is crucial that you keep your skin hydrated without moisturizing excessively. If you have dry skin, it’s okay to moisturize twice daily. Most people with dry skin who receive a chemical peel choose to moisturize their facial skin right before work and shortly before bed.

If your skin is defined as normal or oily, you should only moisturize your skin once daily. During your initial consultation, we will provide you with a comprehensive list of what to do and what to avoid after your treatment if we determine that you are a good candidate.

However, we will touch on another important post-treatment care step now. Apply a broad-spectrum SPF 30+ sunscreen to your face every four hours after washing your hands very thoroughly. This is the only time you should touch your face with your fingertips.

What You Should Avoid After Treatment

When you are moisturizing your skin, it is crucial to avoid any moisturizer that can irritate your skin. Even if you are only mildly allergic to an ingredient in a moisturizer, you may experience discomfort if you use a harsh or irritating moisturizer in the days leading up to and during the skin peeling process. Avoid scented moisturizers, and opt for something gentle and hypoallergenic, like Aquaphor or Vaseline.

When you wash your face after treatment, make sure you’re using cool water. You should wash with cool water until your skin is done peeling, as your skin may be slightly sensitive to cold or hot water.

Again, make sure you’re not using any face soap with unnecessary chemicals, such as aromas. Instead, opt for a plain, unscented face soap. If you’re not sure if you’re allergic or sensitive to a chemical, ask your dermatologist for advice. You may need to take an allergy test.

Am I a Good Candidate for This Treatment? 

You may be a good candidate for this treatment if you are dissatisfied with the appearance of surgical or trauma scars, wrinkles, acne, acne scars, or severe skin discoloration. However, this type of treatment isn’t for everyone, so it’s important that you come in for an initial consultation to discuss your aesthetic goals and medical history.

This treatment is not appropriate for anyone who is pregnant, may be pregnant or planning to become pregnant before the treatment session. It is not appropriate for anyone who has taken isotretinoin under any brand name, including Myorisan and Claravis, within the past six months.

If you’d like to prevent or treat acne outbreaks before your treatment, ask your primary care physician for an alternative that will not cause any contraindications. Other things to consider include:

  • The frequency and severity, if applicable, of cold sore outbreaks
  • A personal history of keloid scarring
  • A family history of keloid scarring

Learn More About Peels Today

If you’re sick and tired of over-the-counter or prescription products that just don’t work, you need professional help. For many, the solution to their cosmetic concerns is a series of light or medium chemical peels. However, for more significant concerns, like deep scars, a deep chemical peel is more appropriate.

To discover which, if any, chemical peel strength is appropriate for you, schedule your initial consultation at Dermatology Center of Acadiana in Lafayette, LA now. We can’t wait to help you on your journey to unimaginable confidence. If you’re a poor candidate for a chemical peel, we offer a cosmetic solution for you. Start your journey to smooth, radiant, flawless skin today.