Chemical peels remain the second most common nonsurgical facial rejuvenation treatment, trailing Botox ® in popularity among consumers. Despite this most folks have the impression that either they are so painful that anesthesia is needed or that they will have an extended period of downtime. This was typical of procedures performed in the 1980s and 1990s. Recent advances in formulations to make them virtually pain free, obviate the need for anesthesia and shorten the peeling period to a couple days has led to resurgence in their use. There are many chemicals that can be used for peels; the basic idea is that the outer skin layers where most of the problems are removed leaving the skin revitalized. The peeling process also stimulates the body to make collagen, which eliminates wrinkles and restores the firmness and elasticity of the skin. There are formulations that now allow for a medium depth peel without much pain at all and only 3-4 days of downtime.
Ryan C. Case, MD is a Board Certified Otolaryngologist and Member of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. He practices in Brookhaven, where he resides with his family.