Chemical peels are cosmetic procedures used to rejuvenate the face and treat signs of aging. There is a large variety of chemical peels available, and results can vary widely depending on the type of peel. Most patients are familiar with superficial peels, like those offered at medspas. Aestheticians can safely perform light peels, which affect the superficial layers of the skin. These peels have quick recovery and cause minimal changes in skin quality. Medium depth or deep chemical peels, on the other hand, must be performed by licensed physicians to avoid complications. These peels affect the deeper layers of the skin and offer more dramatic and long-lasting rejuvenation. Dr. Schmidt offers a deep peel called the phenol-croton oil peel to restore smoother, healthier, and more youthful looking skin.
Phenol-croton oil peels are different than chemical peels that you might receive from an aesthetician. These medical-grade peels offer deeper exfoliation and skin resurfacing and can only be performed by physicians who have extensive knowledge about facial anatomy and wound healing. A physician will be able to minimize the risks of a deep chemical peel so that you can expect great results and a smooth recovery.
Our phenol-croton oil peel uses a blend of two potent ingredients (phenol and croton oil) to resurface the skin, revealing a new layer of healthy skin beneath the surface. The concentration of these peels is carefully measured by Dr. Schmidt at the start of each treatment. The higher the concentration of croton oil, the more the peel will penetrate into the skin. Areas with thick skin will require a higher chemical concentration than delicate areas like facial skin under the eyes.
Not everyone is a candidate for the phenol-croton oil peel. Patients with darker skin types are at risk of hyper- or hypo-pigmentation from deep peels. Those with certain skin conditions are also not safe candidates since the peel could penetrate too deeply into the skin, causing damage.
The phenol-croton oil peel requires a few steps for the best results. For 4-6 weeks prior to your chemical peel appointment, you will have to apply topical tretinoin and hydroquinone cream to prepare your skin for the deep peel. Hydroquinone prevents hyperpigmentation after a peel and tretinoin helps start the exfoliation process in preparation for a peel. Tretinoin also increases cell turnover for faster healing.
At the start of your chemical peel treatment, Dr. Schmidt will administer a nerve block to help you feel comfortable. Although a burning sensation is expected, it only lasts 10-20 seconds at the start of treatment. The local anesthetic and phenol will numb the skin for the duration of the peeling process.
Patients have the option of a full-face peel or the peel can be applied to localized areas of the face like around the mouth or under the eyes. When small areas are treated, the peel is done in our office and the procedure only takes 15-30 minutes. For full-face peels, your appointment will be scheduled at our surgical center for your comfort and safety. Although rare, phenol can cause cardiac arrhythmias so Dr. Schmidt places patients on a heart monitor. The chemical peel will be applied slowly over the course of an hour to prevent this risk and ensure your comfort during treatment.
Complete recovery from a phenol peel can take several months. However, most patients find their recovery to be minimally painful and discomfort is eased with over-the-counter pain medications like Tylenol during the first week.
The damaged surface layer of skin will peel for about 7-10 days. Once the skin has peeled, a new layer of pink skin will be revealed. It can take about 3-6 months for the skin to fully heal and develop a “normal” color. To promote healing, keep the skin moisturized with Vaseline or Aquaphor and apply as needed throughout the day. During this time, it is vital that you avoid sun exposure and use a broad-spectrum sunscreen to prevent pigmentation and damage to the healing skin. We recommend a tinted foundation with SPF to protect your skin and provide coverage. Ideal timing for a deep chemical peel is in the fall or winter.