Chemical Peels

Our facial peels can help treat all kinds of skin issues like acne, fine lines and wrinkles, brown spots, larger pores and uneven skin pigmentation (like melasma or sun damage). Peels can also make skin care products and your skin work better by helping them penetrate into the skin. Chemical peels work to remove the dead and damaged surface skin cells, allowing new regenerated skin to shine. The best part is that they are safe and can be customized for you!

Chemical peels in Boulder CO at Evolution Dermatology

What is a facial peel?

Chemical facial peels are when a specific strength of acid solution is placed on your face. This actually causes controlled destruction at a specific level of the skin. By removing the dead and damaged surface skin cells the new regenerated skin is allowed to shine! Your skin has improved texture, is less wrinkled, has less pigmentation and fewer acne spots than the old damaged skin. Your skin will be smoother – makeup goes on better. You will be glowing and ready to hit the town!

Why do a facial peel?

Facial peels are a way to treat all kinds of skin issues like acne, fine lines and wrinkles, brown spots, larger pores and uneven skin pigmentation (like melasma or sun damage). Peels can also make skin care products and your skin work better by helping them penetrate into the skin. The best part is that they are safe and can be customized for you!

How deep is the peel going?

There are light, medium and deep peels.

Light peels:

These are superficial and the effects are within the epidermis- removing the outer layer of damaged surface skin cells and dead skin called the stratum corneum. They are great for improving the texture and color of your skin and can also help with acne breakouts. Because they are more gentle, you can go back to daily activities right away. These are great before weddings, reunions, and big events to improve your skin texture and give you that glow.

Medium to deep peels:

These peels penetrate the skin down to deeper dermal levels (medium strength down to the papillary dermis and deep strengths to the level of the reticular dermis). TCA (trichloroacetic acid) is the most common type of medium to deeper peel. The stronger the strength of the peel solution, the greater the layer of skin is removed. These deeper types of peels do run a greater risk of complications like uneven skin pigment and scarring. And the recovery time until you can resume daily activities can be a week to 10 days, depending on the strength of the peel. For this type of peel, your provider will go into detail about what to expect and decide if this is the right treatment for you.

Facial peels at Boulder Evolution Dermatology
What you need to know about facial peels from Evolution Dermatology

What to do before a chemical peel?

About a week before your peel, stop any retinoids such as retinol, Tazorac, Retin-A (tretinoin), Renova, Differin, Veltin, Atralin or Ziana. Sometimes retinoids are hidden in over-the-counter products. So check labels carefully and call and ask us if you are not sure! If you have a history of cold sores, let your provider know. The peel could cause a cold sore (if you are prone to them) or possibly cause the cold sore to spread to other areas on your face. You will likely be prescribed an antiviral medication to take before your peel and until things are healed.

What will the peel feel like?

For light peels, the treatments will take about 20 minutes. Your skin will be cleansed with a cleanser, alcohol and maybe even acetone. This is to remove any oils that are on your skin so that the acid applied will be able to penetrate. Vaseline or a similar barrier ointment is applied to sensitive areas like around your eyes, nose and lips. Then the peel solution is applied in even strokes, usually starting with your forehead. There is a little stinging and sometimes mild itching. You will likely be given a small fan to hold for comfort. After the determined amount of time (depending on the solution and depth of peel desired), the acid is neutralized (if an alpha-hydroxy or combination solution) or simply washed off with water. Lastly, a soothing, hydrating moisturizer will be applied and a zinc based sunscreen.

What to expect after your peel?

It depends on the depth of the peel. With light peels, you will likely feel like you have a mild sunburn or windburn immediately after the peel. You will be glowing and your skin will likely be slightly pink and this may last for one to two days. If you do have any peeling or flaking it typically begins on day 2-3 and will last about 2-5 days. With deeper peels, possible reactions could be: swelling, redness, crusting, dryness, skin sensitivity, itching, and peeling which could last for 1-2 weeks. In the first few days, your skin may feel and look tight. But with deeper peels you may even have parchment-paper like changes or temporary darkening of your skin with more significant peeling over a week or two.

Aftercare regardless of which peel:

Wash your face with a gentle non-soap cleanser and liberally apply a bland moisturizer after cleansing and throughout the day as needed to prevent dryness and formation of crust (Aquaphor, Vanicream or CeraVe). Do not vigorously rub the skin and or pick at the flaking skin- it can cause scarring. You should avoid swimming in chlorinated pools for a couple of days (because chlorine is so drying), continue to stay off of topical retinoids and most anti-aging products for about a week (check with your provider on specific products), and no waxing during this first week either. Most importantly…Avoid all direct sun exposure for the week following the peel because you have these new fragile cells now exposed on the surface of your skin. You will be more sensitive to sunlight for a month or two after your peel – so daily SPF should be your new routine. Zinc based sunscreens are the best – I love the tinted ones!

How often should I have a peel?

This really depends on your skin and what you are looking to get out of the peel. The light and medium peels are typically done in a series (3-5 treatments) anywhere from 1 to 4 weeks apart. Then maintenance treatments could be done once a month to every couple of months. The deeper peels are only done once and repeated only if desired results are not achieved.

We have a variety of light to deep peels to address your needs. Best to come in and we can help you determine which peel is the best one for you.

What facial peel is right for me, ask Boulder CO Evolution Dermatology