Anti-aging Treatment: Chemical Peels
Chemical peel uses a chemical solution to improve and smooth the texture of the facial skin by removing its damaged outer layers. It is helpful for those individuals with facial blemishes, wrinkles and uneven skin pigmentation. Phenol, trichloroacetic acid (TCA) and alphahydroxy acids (AHAs) are used for this purpose. The precise formula used may be adjusted to meet each patient’s needs.
These types of peels can provide smoother, brighter-looking skin for people who can’t spare the time to recover from a phenol or TCA peel. AHA peels may be used to treat fine wrinkling, areas of dryness, uneven pigmentation and acne. Various concentrations of an AHA may be applied weekly or at longer intervals to obtain the best result.
Peels are not instantaneous results, and there is a healing period and facial peel ing and redness for up to two weeks after the procedure. So be prepared and do not schedule this too close to a major life event.
Three Types of Peel Formulas at a Glance
Alphahydroxy acids (AHAs)
- Smooths rough, dry skin
- Improves texture of sun-damaged skin
- Aids in control of acne
- Can be mixed with bleaching agent to correct pigment problems
- Can be used as TCA pre-treatment
- A series of peels may be needed
- As with most peel treatments, sunblock use is recommended
Trichloroacetic acid (TCA)
- Smooths out fine surface wrinkles
- Removes superficial blemishes
- Corrects pigment problems
- Can be used on neck or other body areas
- May require pre-treatment with Retin-A or AHA creams
- Treatment takes only 10-15 minutes
- Preferred for darker-skinned patients
- Peel depth can be adjusted
- Repeat treatment may be needed to maintain results
- Sunblock must be used for several months
- Healing is usually quick, much quicker than with a phenol peel
- Corrects blotches caused by: sun exposure, birth-control pills, aging
- Smooths out coarse wrinkles
- Removes pre-cancerous growths
- Used on the face only
- Not recommended for dark-skinned individuals
- Procedure may pose risk for patients with heart problems
- Full-face treatment may take one hour or more
- Recovery may be slow – Complete healing may take several months
- May permanently remove facial freckles
- Sun protection, including sunblock, must always be used
- Results are dramatic and long-lasting
- Permanent skin lightening and lines of demarcation may occur
The cost of chemical peels is largely determined by the type of chemical peel that is administered. There are several types of chemical peels which fall into three broad categories based on the depth of the peel. Mild chemical peels, such as alphahydroxy acid, and PCA peel formulations provide more superficial treatment of skin imperfections. The cost of chemical peels of this nature average $150 to $300 per treatment. When considering the cost of chemical peels, it is important to keep in mind that achieving optimal results generally requires repeat treatments about every six weeks for light chemical peels.
The cost of chemical peels increases with deeper peel treatments. A full face medium-depth chemical peel, such as a TCA (trichloroacetic acid) treatment, costs an average of $1,000 to $1,200. Multiple treatment sessions are often required for these moderate peels which should be considered when determining the total cost of chemical peels. As a general rule, moderate chemical peels should be repeated every two to three months to achieve the optimal results.
Deeper peels, such as phenol formulations, are often the most expensive chemical peel options. The cost of chemical peels of this nature runs an average of $2,500 to $6,500 per treatment. Deep peels generally only require one treatment in order to achieve the desired results. These chemical peels can treat coarse facial wrinkles, extensive sun damage, and can even remove pre-cancerous growths on the face.