Chemical peels remove the outer layer of the skin using chemical solutions, like glycolic acid and phenol. Although most commonly performed on the face, this non-surgical procedure may be done on the neck and hands as well. Chemical peels can treat the following:
- Age spots
- Fine lines and wrinkles
- Rough skin
- Sun-damaged skin
During the peel, the area to be treated is cleaned thoroughly, and the chemical solution is applied on the skin for several minutes, which produces a stinging sensation. A neutralizing agent is then used, and the stinging sensation gradually goes away. For more intense peels, a cool compress may be placed on the area to relieve any stinging or burning, or the solution may be applied in intervals to limit exposure to the strong chemicals.
Following a light peel, there will be redness and swelling, which typically fade in a few days. Swelling after a moderate or deep peel may last for a week, and mild redness may continue for a few weeks. To help improve the final results of a peel, treated areas must be kept cool, moisturized, and protected from sunlight.