Chemical peel frequently asked questions

  1. Benefits of Glycolic Acid (NeoStrata) Peels
  2. Side Effects
  3. Who Should Not Have a Peel
  4. What to Do Before Your Peel
  5. How the Peel is Performed
  6. What to Do After the Peel

1.Benefits of Glycolic Acid (NeoStrata) Peels

Chemical peels with alpha-hydroxyacids are helpful in treating a variety of skin ailments. The alpha-hydroxyacid used most commonly for peels is glycolic acid. Unlike other chemical peels, alpha-hydroxyacids are not toxic to the skin.

These acids have been shown to increase skin thickness up to 15% in patients with sun damaged thin skin. This occurs through the stimulation of collagen production, the skins natural support protein. Alpha-hydroxyacids also work by loosening and removing dead skin cells. Alpha hydroxyacids can be used in low concentrations as found in many cosmetics available over the counter, in medium concentrations which are available in doctor’s offices, and in high concentrations. When used in high concentrations, they are best applied by a professional at intervals of three to six weeks. This is known as a series of acid peels.

2.Side Effects

The procedure may cause swelling and redness of the skin and peeling like sunburn.

During and after the procedure, the following may be experienced: stinging, itching, burning, tightness, peeling and scabbing of the superficial layers of the skin. These sensations will gradually diminish over the course of a week as the skin returns to its normal appearance.

However, when a deeper peel is done, the skin may turn very red, blister, swell, and later scab and crust. The skin may be uncomfortable and look like a very bad sunburn. The peeling usually lasts about three to seven days, although it may last longer. This deeper peel is only done for certain indications after a decision was made by the patient and the doctor.

There is very small risk of developing a temporary or permanent pigment change in the skin.This side effect usually occurs only in those who have had sun exposure after a peel.

There is a small incidence of the reactivation of cold sores in patients with prior history of this.

There is also a small incidence of a flare of acne-like lesions after the peel.

There is a rare incidence of scarring and infection.

3.Who Should Not Have a Peel?

If you have any of the following problems, a peel should not be done at this time and you need to let us know immediately:

  • Isotretinoin (e.g. Roaccutane) use within the past six (6) months
  • Active cold sores
  • Facial Warts
  • If you are now pregnant
  • If you form keloid or hypertrophic scars
  • If you have a history of sun allergies
  • Previous bad reaction to a peel
  • Recent radiation treatment for cancer
  • Sun burn or significant sun exposure in the last two days
  • Surgery or cryosurgery within the last month to the area that you plan to have peeled, including freezing of warts.

4.What to Do Before Your Peel:

Two weeks before your peel, begin your Neostrata regimen, recommended by your aesthetician.

At least three to four weeks before your first peel, stop using topical retinoids/retinol/Vitamin A and exfoliation methods e.g. scrubs and sponges.

All forms of hair removal should be stopped at least three to four weeks before your peel.

Come to the office with a fully cleansed face. If possible, no cologne or after shave should be applied.

Males should not shave the day of the peel.

In order to prevent an unanticipated deepening of your peel, please inform your aesthetician if you have accidentally used one of the restricted products.

5.How the Peel is Performed

First, the aesthetician will review the possible side effects of a peel with you and give you a consent form to sign. Next, your skin will be cleansed thoroughly with Neostrata PrePeel cleanser.

Petroleum jelly will be applied to the corners of the eyes, nose, and mouth. Glycolic acid will then be applied to one area of the face at a time.

The glycolic acid will then be left on the skin for several minutes. The skin will burn and tingle. When the skin becomes uncomfortable, let the aesthetician know and she will neutralize the peel. After the peel has been neutralized, the face is rinsed. Post-peel cream and sunscreen are then applied.

6.What to Do After the Peel

For 2 – 4 days after the peel, apply the NeoStrata Bionic Face cream or other recommended cream twice daily until the skin returns to its normal appearance. Then restart your maintenance regimen of NeoStrata products.

You must use a sunscreen of SPF 25 or higher every morning before going out. Sunlight on the skin after a peel can cause brown discoloration of the skin. Apply the sunscreen over the Bionic Face Cream. A good sunscreen to use is Heliocare Oil-Free Gel SPF 50.

You may start wearing make-up the day after your peel, provided you do not have any crusting or tenderness. A specific breathable camouflage foundation called Lycogel is available which can be applied directly after the peel.

To avoid the possibility of scarring, please do not peel, pick, scrape, or scratch the skin.

Avoid the use of abrasive or exfoliating sponges and scrubs. If you have persistent redness in an area, let your aesthetician know right away. Persistent redness of the skin can lead to brown discoloration of the red area if it is not treated promptly.

Do not use Retin-A or other topical retinoids during your peel sessions and for one month after the last peel. Avoid products containing alpha-hydroxyacids (AHAs) until the skin returns to its normal condition. Also avoid using toners containing alcohol.

During your series of peels, and for at least one month after the last peel, you should not have hair removed by any technique because it can cause severe irritation of the skin. Also, you should avoid intense sunlight because you are sensitive to the sun as well.

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