As with anything that people don’t have a clear understanding of, there are a lot of myths surrounding a chemical acid peel. This article will address a few of them, and provide factual information.
Myth: A chemical peel can completely change your appearance.
Fact: No, it can’t and it won’t. A chemical acid peel only removes dead skin cells or sometimes a layer of skin. It will improve your appearance, but you should not expect a drastic alteration.
Myth: Acid peels are dangerous.
Fact: Not if they’re done correctly. If you follow the instructions closely, and don’t skip any steps, chemical peels can be perfectly safe.
Myth: Your skin will be permanently changed as a result of a chemical peel.
Fact: The benefits and changes caused by a chemical peel treatment are only temporary. Depending on the type of peel, such as a tca chemical peel or a phenol peel, the results may last longer, but they will not be permanent.
Myth: A chemical peel is expensive, and can only be done by a dermatologist.
Fact: There are several chemical peel products on the market which can be used at home. Prices are usually moderate, and certainly cheaper than a visit to a dermatologist. Further, many insurance plans will not cover chemical peels, considering them to be a cosmetic procedure and not a medical necessity.
Myth: Your skin will be more sensitive to sunlight after acid peels.
Fact: If your skin was not overly sensitive to sunlight before a chemical peel, it will not be any more so afterward. You will still want to use sunscreen, however, just as you did (or should have been) before the treatment, simply to diminish the effects of sun exposure.
Myth: A chemical acid peel hurts.
Fact: Not usually. The most discomfort that is felt is a mild burning or stinging while the treatment is being performed, but moisturizers can help eliminate or diminish this. If you are feeling extreme pain, and your pain threshold is usually normal, you should tell your dermatologist immediately if he is performing the treatment, or you should stop if you are doing the peel yourself. If discomfort persists, and you were doing a home treatment, you should seek medical help.
Myth: A chemical peel will remove freckles and other dark spots.
Fact: Freckles are genetic, as are other pigmentation occurrences in some skin types. If hyperpigmentation (that’s the fancy word for this condition) is caused by genetics, nothing will change that. The treatment may cause a temporary lightening of the skin, but that is all.
Myth: You are more likely to get skin infections after a peel.
Fact: As long as you take care of your skin as you are instructed, the risk for skin infections will be no greater than normal.
Myth: If you don’t have skin problems, you don’t need a peel.
Fact: Not necessarily. Everyone’s skin has a build-up of dead skin cells, which can cause a dull appearance and uneven skin tone. A chemical acid peel helps remove these dead cells, exposing healthy skin and improving your appearance. And, everyone deserves a “new look”, even people with “perfect” skin.
Myth: A chemical peel can be permanent.
Fact: They are not permanent; they are only temporary. The effects may last longer if a stronger acid solution was used, but it will still fade over time.
Myth: A chemical peel can only be used on your face.
Fact: A chemical peel can actually be used on your face and neck, as long as a patch test is done first. However, about the only reason a peel would ever be used on the neck would be to remove small skin tags, which they can actually do. If you use a chemical peel for this purpose, you will want to wait until the place where the skin tag was removed has completely healed before doing a complete treatment on your face.