Chemical peels have been around for decades with a proven track record. Depending on the depth of peel and type of chemical used, slight to significant improvements can be made to your skin tone, texture, and blemishes. The peels are classified into “deep” “medium” and “light” peels. The “deep” peel uses phenol and usually is reserved for light colored skin and mainly used to reduce severe wrinkling and sun-damaged skin. The result is usually nothing short of amazing, but the recovery process can be prolonged with down time which can last more than a few weeks and redness, which can easily be concealed can last longer than that. The physician doing this type of peel has to be extremely familiar with all the complications including infection, both viral and bacterial and chance of hypo or hyper pigmentation. Due to its labor-intensive healing process both for the patients and the physicians, it is no longer as popular as it used to be. The “Medium” peel is usually TCA or Jessener/TCA peel, and can yield nice improvements to overall skin texture/tone for light and medium colored skin, but once again the healing process from the peel can take about a week and redness can last longer than that. We recommend repeating the medium peel in three months for optimal long-term result. Dr. Kang prefers to use the Obagi blue TCA peel for its consistent result.
The hardest part is the decision that the patient has to make in terms of choosing the “medium” chemical peel versus” laser” peels which may cost more, but yield more improvement with less down time. Probably the most popular peels are the various ”light” peels using alpha hydroxy acids (Please refer to Medical Skin Clinic section for more information), mainly due to the fact that there is no down-time associated with these peels with almost no side-effect to worry about. Different formulations are offered by different offices but they all work in similar fashion in that the light peels helps to maintain the health of your skin but does very little in terms of significantly restoring or rejuvenating your skin like the deep or the medium peels. It is an excellent adjuvant to patients receiving micro-dermabrasion to maintain optimal healthiness to their skin. During Dr. Kang’s Facial Plastic Fellowship Training in Atlanta in the early 90’s, laser was not in vogue, and therefore he has had extensive training in all three different types of peels, including the after-care, which is so important with the medium and deeper peels.