A chemical peel is a treatment used to reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, acne scars, and sun damage or age spots. The procedure uses different chemicals to lift off the top layer of skin or the epidermis, revealing the fresh, undamaged skin below, called the dermis. Procedures can take between 15 minutes and many hours, depending on the severity of the peel and the chemical used. Prices fluctuate and start at around £32 and cost up to £3,900. In 2003 (the most recent year stats were available), the average cost of a chemical peel was £520.
There are many different types of peels and a dermatologist or aesthetician can recommend the peel that is right for your skin type. Mild or superficial chemical peels, such as glycolic, salicylic, carbonic or lactic acid peel, provide a more surface peel. These peels may be put on a patient's skin for 1 minute up to 10 minutes and can cost between £32 and £97. One should keep in mind that superficial peels will need to be repeated. Doctors recommend that a patient returns every 4 to 6 weeks for another treatment so £97 for each treatment can add up quickly.
A medium chemical peel is one to consider, as it is only performed once every few years. A medium peel, such as a trichloroacetic acid treatment, can cost between £650 to £780. This medium peel reduces greater lines and wrinkles. After this peel is performed, the skin will look sunburned and will peel for about a week. It is recommended to stay out of the sun for 6 to 8 weeks.
A deeper peel is a phenol peel, which can take up to 2 hours and could take up to 2 months for the skin to heal. This is a serious procedure that can bleach treated areas or cause blistering and can cost between £650 and £3,900. This deep peel is considered a form of plastic surgery. The results are equivalent to a face lift.
Benefits may be seen after various treatments or after 3 to 6 months. If you choose to go with a superficial or mild peel, there are also home kits that can be used in between treatments to keep the skin looking fresh and regenerate new skin cells.
Always consult a doctor or a certified aesthetician before undergoing any type of chemical peel. If you are seeking a deeper peel, such as a phenol peel, it is recommended that you consult a dermatologist. Also, be honest with your physician regarding the creams or skin treatments you've undergone in the past. These could affect the results of the peel.