13 March, 2010

Chemical peels --harmful or not?

Chemical peels are used to treat skin problems on the face. Uneven skin tone, wrinkles, blemishes, skin pigmentation and acne are treated with chemical peels. Are these peels harmful for the skin or not? Our experts give you some insight:

Chemical peel uses a chemical solution to improve the texture of the facial skin. It removes the damaged outer layers or the top layer of the skin so that a new skin layer can regenerate. The new skin is smoother than the older one. It helps to get an even skin tone by removing scars, pigments and other skin discolouration. Chemical peels are used to achieve radiant glow and a youthful skin.

Dr. Rohini Wadhwani, Cosmetologist and Medical Director, Skin Essentials, says

Peels can be very beneficial to the skin if done correctly. We see excellent results in those suffering from acne and pigmentation and results can be seen from the very first treatment.

Some of the other benefits seen with peels include:

• Softens and smoothens the skin.

• Reduces fine lines and wrinkles as it rejuvenates the skin’s collagen.

• Re-hydrates dry / dull complexions, making skin more youthful

• Helps with acne and pigmentation because of its exfoliating properties.

A thorough consultation should be carried out with the doctor to determine the type of peel, strength, suitability and rule out any contraindications of the treatment. Hence, it is very important to see a doctor and not an aesthetician for this procedure. Peels vary in their strength and may be superficial, medium or deep.

Dr. Meha Mhatre, Tressez Trichology & Advanced Skincare Centre says,

Peels are usually beneficial but if the process is not followed properly, it can backfire.

Some of the drawbacks:

• Persistent redness may occur and can last for months. It makes the skin very sensitive and any longer duration of sun exposure may result in rashes or redness.

• If proper post care is not taken, it might result in skin infection, irritation and burning. After peel, do not use excessive hot water, soap on skin for at least 48 to 72 hrs. Do not exercise as salt in sweat might irritate the skin.

•Peeling and burning of the skin after the chemical peel may cause inconvenience if not done with proper care and understanding.

•Sunscreen needs to be applied religiously after the chemical peel as the problem may return with higher intensity. Apply sunscreen of minimum SPF 30, fifteen minutes prior to stepping out and should be re-applied every 3 to 4 hrs.

•Anybody using Vitamin A derivative cream or medication should give 6 months of gap for chemical peel after stopping the medication as peels make the skin dry and so does the medication. This might lead the skin to dry excessively.

•Open wounds have to be treated before going for a peel or it might lead to infection.

•People with Keloidal tendencies must take appropriate care.

•The results of chemical peels are temporary and do not substitute surgery. Treatments might have to be repeated.

Any procedure, if not followed properly will not yield the desired results. Do your homework well and assess all the pros and cons before resorting to the chemical peels.

Parimita Chakravorty


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