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Chemical peels remove the top layers of the skin, creating a healthier, youthful appearance. A chemical peel reduces evidence of imperfections due to sun damage, uneven pigmentation, and fine wrinkles.
Results from chemical peels can be controlled to an extent by the amount of time and strength of the chemical peel used. For darker skinned patients, the surgeon may choose a stronger solution for the chemical peel, tricholronacetic acid (TCA). Patients with light skin or minimal skin problems, the surgeon may choose chemical peels comprised of alpha hydroxyl acids (AHA), such as lactic, glycolic, or fruit acid. Neither TCA nor AHA chemical peels have extensive recovery times, although patients who have a TCA chemical peel may be advised to avoid the sun for a few days, and neither the TCA or AHA chemical peels ordinarily require any sort of anesthesia or sedation, with only minimal tingling or stinging sensations. Chemical peels to treat patients with deep wrinkles use a chemical called phenol; phenol chemical peels use a stronger concentration than AHA/TCA and generally cause a noticeable burning sensation. These deep chemical peels also carry a higher risk for complications such as scarring, infection, and abnormal pigmentation. All chemical peels, but the phenol peels especially, require that patients wear sun block following the chemical peel procedure to protect the newly revealed skin.