If you feel that you must always wear heavy makeup to cover acne or other facial scars, you may be a good candidate for a chemical peel. This procedure is also another way of handling fine to moderate lines and wrinkles, age spots and discolorations. While this is less invasive than facelift surgery, it requires expert application and monitoring to ensure the desired effect is obtained without damaging delicate layers of the skin.

If you are thinking of having a chemical peel, Dr. Bryan Correa can advise you on whether this is your best option and if so, which type of peel will best serve your needs. Chemical peels can be done on the face, hands and chest to improve the appearance of the skin in all of those areas.

Not all chemical peels are the same

Chemical peels have various uses and as such have differing degrees of strength. Using a chemical formula that is too strong can create more damage than it originally was intended to fix. This is why it is vital to trust your procedure only to a highly trained cosmetic plastic surgeon or licensed dermatologist.

There are three levels of chemical peel; mild, moderate and strong. Each procedure has a different purpose and longer recovery times as they progress in strength.

Mild peel

Mild peels are also known as lunchtime peels or superficial peels and as the name suggests, can be done easily in about an hour. At this level the acid used is mild and intended to gently exfoliate the skin. This is best used to treat mild skin discoloration and to remedy rough skin, which is not the result of a skin condition such as psoriasis.

Following a superficial chemical peel the skin will require up to a week to heal. At first the skin will look red and lotion or cream will need to be applied until healing is complete. Makeup can be applied the next day, so most patients can return to work right away.

Moderate peel

A moderate peel is used to remove damaged skin cells, to improve fine lines and wrinkles and to treat skin discolorations such as age spots and freckles. This type of peel also smoothes rough skin patches but at a deeper level. The chemical used in this procedure penetrates the outer and middle layers of the skin. This procedure requires a longer recovery time, which is about 7 to 14 days. Since the penetration is deeper, the skin will be red and there will be some swelling. Also, to prevent any infection during healing you will be given antiviral medication.

During healing the skin will peel revealing a new outer layer of skin, which must be protected from the sun until healing is complete. Ointment and lotion will be applied during this period to provide moisture and protect the new layer of skin. After about a week, makeup can be used to camouflage the redness.

Deep peel

Deep peels are used to remedy much more advanced signs of aging and more pronounced skin discolorations. In this procedure the chemical used penetrates to the middle layer of skin, removing damage skin cells. A deep peel will produce a significant and very noticeable improvement in the appearance of moderate lines, shallow scars and age spots. It can only be done once and is only done on the face.

Recovery time for a deep peel is between 14 and 21 days. Bandages will be placed on the skin and there will be a greater requirement for after care such as soaking the skin 4 to 6 times a day. Antiviral medication is taken to prevent complications. Sun must be avoided for 3 to 6 months.

What you can expect in your initial consultation:

It is very important to Dr. Correa that his patients understand all aspects of chemical peels before making the decision to move forward with surgery. It is his philosophy that his success as a plastic surgeon is dependant not only on his surgical skills, but also his ability to fully understand the needs and goals of his patients. By taking the time to understand each patient’s desires, he can ensure they get the treatment or procedure that is truly right for them.

Your initial consultation with Dr. Correa will last about an hour. During this time Dr. Correa will:
  • Perform a comprehensive examination of the issues you are seeking to remedy
  • Ensure he completely understands your goals for the procedure
  • Recommend a treatment plan that encompasses your goals
  • Explain the basis for his recommendations
  • Answer any questions you have about the procedure as well as insurance coverage or financing

You will have the opportunity to examine photographs of his other patients who have undergone chemical peels so you can see his work and know what to expect if you decide to proceed. Dr. Correa will discuss the changes that you can expect to achieve and make recommendations regarding the best surgical methods to use to achieve your goals. You are encouraged to ask many questions and also to share any anxiety you may be having. Attaining your goal is a team effort. You and Dr. Correa must agree on the aesthetics and methods of your surgery so that you can obtain a result that meets or even exceeds your expectations.

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Chemical peels require commitment

All levels of chemical peel must be monitored by Dr. Correa until they are fully healed. As patients heal at different rates, you may need several follow up visits for a deep peel.

You will need to be diligent in following instructions to ensure you obtain the result you are hoping for. Sun exposure and smoking are two of the most detrimental influences that patients might face. They can cause unwanted scarring and infection among other side effects. Even using a nicotine patch has detrimental effects since it is the nicotine that interferes with circulation and therefore the healing process.

Dr. Correa strives to provide quality chemical peels. He is laser focused on results for his patients who have entrusted their hopes for an improved appearance to him. As this is a partnership, he relies on his patients to follow post procedural instructions to avoid complications.

Not everyone is a good candidate for a chemical peel. Houston residents who wish to get a consultation only need to book an appointment at Dr. Correa’s office to find out if this is a good option.

If chemical peel is not the right option, he can provide other alternative ways to accomplish the image goals that sparked an interest in chemical peel technology. As a board certified plastic surgeon, he has a vast knowledge of surgical and other remedies that might be the best option for you.