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What a Chemical Peel Can Do for Your Skin

More than a million chemical peels are performed on average every year in the United States, making these in-office treatments one of the most popular minimally invasive cosmetic treatments. 

Chemical peels are popular for good reason: They’re one of the most effective treatments for a wide array of cosmetic concerns, and they can be performed right in your dermatologist’s office.

At Metroderm DC: Medical, Laser, and Aesthetic Dermatology Center, our team offers an array of chemical peels, which means we can tailor each treatment to your unique needs and goals. If you’ve been wondering whether a chemical peel might be right for you, here’s a quick review of the benefits.

Chemical peels 101

Chemical peels work by gently sloughing off the uppermost layers of skin, revealing fresher, healthier tissue below. The strength of the peel and the length of time we leave it on your skin determine how much skin we remove. 

We use stronger peels for more significant types of skin damage, while milder peels help with lighter, more superficial issues.

Chemical peels can treat an array of skin issues, including:

We can apply peels to your face, chest, neck, arms, hands, or legs — wherever you have a  cosmetic issue you’d like to correct. Some peels can even remove precancerous lesions.

Three types of peels

Our team at Metroderm DC offers three different peel strengths.

Light peels

Light chemical peels use glycolic acid or salicylic acid to remove the outermost layer of your skin. 

These peels are ideal for treating fine lines and wrinkles, including wrinkles around your mouth and eyes. They’re also useful for evening out skin tone and for treating acne, especially when used in combination with other acne treatments.

Medium peels

These peels use stronger acid solutions to gently and evenly exfoliate the upper layer of your skin, as well as the upper part of the deeper dermal layer. 

Because it penetrates more deeply, a medium peel can soften the appearance of acne scars, reduce deeper lines and wrinkles, and restore sun-damaged skin.

Deep peels

Deep chemical peels use the strongest acid solutions. These peels reach into the deeper dermal layers of your skin, reducing the look of deep lines and wrinkles. These peels can also treat some types of precancerous lesions.

The peel process, during and after

The peel process starts with a thorough cleaning of your skin using an antibacterial agent to get rid of germs, oils, and dirt. If you’re having a medium or deep peel, we apply a topical anesthetic gel to your skin to numb it.

Once your skin is numb, we apply the peel solution evenly to your skin and allow it to remain on your skin for a set period of time. Then we neutralize the solution and remove it from your skin.

After your peel, you can expect your skin to look red and mildly swollen for a few days. The actual peeling process begins a few days to a week or so afterward. 

Lighter peels typically involve minor flaking, while a deeper peel can cause crusting or scabbing. That’s all part of the natural healing process, and it’s important to leave your scabs alone to enable your skin to heal properly.

We give you a complete set of instructions about how to care for your skin while it heals. Follow your instructions closely, including guidance on how to clean your skin while it heals and avoid direct sun during the healing phase. 

Complete healing can take about two weeks for a deep peel (less time for a medium or light peel). After the healing process is complete, you’ll see smoother, fresher-looking skin and improvements in both texture and tone.

Enjoy smoother, more youthful skin

Chemical peels are popular because they work and because they’re so versatile. If you’d like to learn more about chemical peels and how they can help you reveal more beautiful skin, call our office in downtown Washington, DC, or book a consultation online.

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