Risks of Chemical Peels

by Amy Pusey
(last updated May 18, 2016)

There are so many cosmetic techniques that are geared to improving our appearance. Chemical peels suggest the possibility of regaining a youthful look, and aim at keeping imperfections like wrinkles and age spots at a distance. Every day numerous cosmetic procedures are performed. Women and men obtaining the services of professionals to improve or alter their appearance hope they will like the changes and feel better about themselves. Chemical peel is a technique that uses specific sugar- or oil-soluble acids to essentially eliminate the top layer of skin removing dead cells to reveal a healthier, even-colored facial appearance. These peels are generally safe when administered by a qualified doctor. However, since this type of cosmetic procedure requires the use of chemical acids, it can pose serious health risks to you.

Chemical peels are like any other medical procedures, and you should do a little background research on both the process and the doctor who will perform the procedure. There are four types of chemical peels available. With each type comes with it both benefits and risks. Listed here are some specifics as to what you can gain from a particular peel, and what the possible side-effects or results you may incur.

  • Alphahydroxy Acids (AHA) Peels: A mild chemical that affects only the outer layer of the skin. They offer a quick recovery period. They are good for improving mild acne, fine lines, skin color differences, and minor scarring. The risks with this gentle peel are typically limited to: redness, irritation, excess flaking, stinging, and mild burns.
  • Betahydyroxy Acids (BHA) Peels: A second mild peel use to treat skin for conditions such as acne and dermatitis. They help to eliminate bacteria from the skin that cause facial blemishes. The risks associated with this type of peel are similar to those of the AHA peels, and may also include: flaking, soreness, scars, redness, and irritation.
  • Trichloroacetic Acids (TCA) Peels: This is a medium strength chemical peel. The results are longer lasting and penetrate more deeply, but recovery can last for several days. They improve fine lines, wrinkles, pock marks, and mild scarring. The risks can increase with this type of peel, and may include any of the symptoms identified with the mild peels, as well as: swelling, discoloration, reactivation of cold sores, infection, and fever blisters.
  • Phenol Acids Peels: Rarely performed due to the intensity and harshness of the chemicals. Many doctors neither recommend them, nor will administer them for safety concerns. They are the deepest penetrating peel with a long recovery period. The risks related to Phenol peels can be severe, which is why they are rarely used. Symptoms may include any of those previously mentioned for the other peel types, but of greater worry is the possible link to incidents of arrhythmia of the heart.

Chemical peels have much to offer, but you need to get all the facts from a medical professional before receiving a chemical peel. Inform your doctor about your medical history to learn if any pre-existing conditions could cause you negative results from a cosmetic peel. You will want to include information such as the frequency of cold sores or fever blisters, heart disease, diabetes, or your potential for scarring.

Author Bio

Amy Pusey

With over 18 years experience in operations and human-resource management, Amy Pusey uses her skills in her consulting and freelance writing activities. She is a freelance writer for Tips.net, as well as a resume writer for GreenThumbResumes.com. ...

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