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Types of Chemical Peels, How They Are Done, & What Each Can Achieve
Chemical Peels are described as Superficial, Medium or Deep according to the depth of the peel and each type delivering a predictable result.
1. Superficial Chemical Peel
This rejuvenating face peel removes only the very uppermost layers of the skin. Accordingly, it will make the skin look fresher and feel smoother but it will not remove wrinkles, freckles, sunspots or brown blotches.
This peel usually requires no anaesthesia or sedation and is carried out as a simple walk-in, walk-out procedure in the privacy of our Medispa by our Dermal Therapist.
Our Dermal Therapist will use any one of a number of Superficial Peeling Agents depending on your skin’s condition.
Superficial Peels are usually well tolerated and the skin may feel a little warm when the solution is being applied, but there should be no discomfort after the procedure.
Depending on the type and strength of the peeling agent used, you may see some micro-exfoliation or you could have visible peeling.
With visible peeling from stronger peeling agents, the skin peels over the next 3 days and healing is usually complete by about the 4th or 5th day.
Makeup can be applied once the skin has completely healed.
You only need to be off work for 4 or 5 days until the skin has finished peeling.
Superficial Peels can be repeated every 2-3 months if desired.
Complications with Superficial Peels are very uncommon.
2. Medium Chemical Peel
A Medium Chemical Face Peel removes skin to a greater depth than a Superficial Chemical Peel.
It is by far our most commonly performed Chemical Peel because of the extent to which it can dramatically rejuvenate the skin but it needs to be performed by one of our doctors.
A Medium Chemical Peel is an excellent procedure to dramatically rejuvenate facial skin by removing most signs of sun damage such as freckles, brown blemishes, blotchy pigmentation, sallowness, skin coarseness and even sunspots. It can improve or totally remove very fine wrinkles, especially around the eyes. It cannot, however, remove those wrinkles that reach deeper than the depth of the peel.
The peeling skin is actually replaced by new skin which grows out from the depths of the pores. This new skin, having been protected in the depths of the pores from exposure to the sun, is fresher and unblemished in its appearance.
A Medium Chemical Peel is best suited to individuals with fair skin. People with brown or Asian skin are generally not suitable for a Medium Peel as they have a higher risk of pigmentation complications.
A well-performed Medium Chemical Peel only needs to be done once but it can be repeated if and when new sun damage ever occurs.
You can also take comfort in the fact that after a Chemical Peel your skin will NOT end up thinner than it was before the Peel – the reason being that when healing is complete, your skin will have returned to its former thickness. This is why a Medium Chemical Peel can be safely repeated without the risk of creating thinner skin each time!
Medium Chemical Peel 'Before & Afters'
How Is A Medium Chemical Peel Done?
Although you will have no pain after the procedure, the peeling agents we use to make our Medium Chemical Peel so effective can be painful at the time of being applied.
Accordingly, in order to make your procedure comfortable and totally pain-free, we perform all Medium Chemical Peels in a Licensed Day Hospital under Intravenous Sedation administered by our Specialist Anaesthetist.
Theoretically, we could perform these peels in our clinic by using weaker peeling solutions and save you the Hospital and Anaesthetist costs but we know that you wouldn’t be happy with the poorer result.
A Medium Chemical Peel takes around 1 hour to do.
You can go home shortly after the Peel but because of the intravenous sedation medications used, you must have someone escort you home. You cannot go home alone and you should not drive for 24 hours.
Immediately after the procedure, your skin will look lightly pink, freckles and brown blotches will look darker, and the skin will feel ‘tight’ like mild sunburn but you should have no pain.
Over the next few days, your skin will become progressively darker until peeling starts on or about the 4th day. The peeling usually commences around the mouth, continues over the rest of the face and should be completed by the 7th or 8th day. As the old skin peels off, you will NOT have any ‘raw’ areas because your old skin only peels off when your new skin has already formed under it.
During the week of peeling, you will need to be off work, stay indoors and apply Vaseline regularly to all areas until they are fully peeled.
Once the skin has completely peeled, usually by the 8th day, you can resume wearing make-up, attend our Clinic for a check, and then return to work.
Potential Complications of a Medium Chemical Peel (Under Anaesthesia)
Complications with Medium Peels are very uncommon but include.
- Hyperpigmentation (more of a risk with olive, brown or Asian skin).
- Permanent scarring (rare).
- Prolonged redness of the skin. Every patient after a Medium Chemical Peel experiences a mild redness, not unlike sunburn, for around 3 weeks. However, in some patients with sensitive skin, it could take longer to settle but, in the meantime, it can be camouflaged with makeup.
- Allergic reaction to medications, dressings or antiseptic solutions.
- Although only Twilight Sedation or Light General Anaesthesia is administered for a brief period only, an adverse reaction to anaesthesia and/or medications could unexpectedly occur. This could include nausea, vomiting, and allergic reactions ranging from minor to severe. Respiratory failure, heart failure, heart attack and stroke are rare but documented risks of any general anaesthesia.
What Precautions Are Necessary After A Medium Chemical Peel?
To maintain your skin’s improvement for as long as possible, you should protect your new skin from exposure to the sun and ultraviolet light for at least 3 months after a Medium Chemical Peel. This is because your new skin is initially very sensitive to the sun and ultraviolet light.
This does not mean that you have to stay indoors but NO SUNBAKING, even with sunscreens.
Always remember that ultraviolet light, particularly Ultraviolet A, is present all year round, even on cloudy days, and can easily penetrate glass e.g. when driving a car or sitting at a window.
So, do not ease up on your UV protection, even on cloudy days.
How Long Will The Improvement Last?
3. Deep Chemical Peel
Owing to their potential complications, Deep Chemical Peels have been largely replaced by Laser Resurfacing which offers similar results but with greater control and safety – factors essential when working in the deeper layers of the skin.
Moreover, Laser Resurfacing can deliver similar results without the permanent loss of skin colour (hypopigmentation) that not uncommonly results from a Deep Chemical Peel.
For those reasons, we do not perform Deep Peels and instead offer Laser Resurfacing.
Watch our Chemical Peel Animation Video
The Cost of Chemical Face Peels
The cost of chemical peel will depend of the type of peel and these are currently as follows:
- Superficial Peel $990
- Medium Chemical Peel
Surgical Fee $1870
Hospital Theatre fee (1hr) $1420
Anaesthetist Fee (1hr) $660
- Deep Chemical Peel: We have replaced deep chemical peels with the more controlled procedure of Fraxel ‘Repair’ CO2 Laser Resurfacing
Can I Claim a Medicare Rebate?
A partial Medicare Rebate does exist for a Chemical Peel when performed in a hospital and provided the patient’s skin conditions comply with Medicare’s criteria of eligibility.
In our experience, only a minority of our patients ever qualify for the relatively small rebate of $314.55.
Nevertheless, as a compensatory measure, we have reduced our Medium Chemical Peel Fee by more than the Medicare rebate from its former $2,200 to $1,870.