Chemical Peel and Dermabrasion — What are they?
Chemical peel (chemosurgery) and dermabrasion are two alternate methods of achieving the same desire result—restoration of wrinkled, scarred, or blemished facial skin to a more youthful appearance. One involves application of a chemical solution to, in effect, peel away the top layer of the skin; the other utilizes a mechanical procedure to abrade or sand the top layers of the skin. Both techniques lead to a new skin surface.
Does a Chemical Peel or Dermabrasion take the place of a Facelift?
Neither technique is a substitute for a facelift, but rather are complementary procedures often performed in conjunction with a facelift. Just as a facelift cannot eliminate fine vertical lines near the upper and lower lips, or “crow’s feet” around the eyes, neither can chemical or dermabrasion eliminate loose, sagging or excess skin.
How Is A Chemical Peel Performed?
After appropriate sedation to minimize discomfort, a liquid chemical solution is applied to the area to be treated, or to the entire face. The face may then be left undressed or covered with a “mask” made with layers of adhesive tape with openings for the eyes and mouth. The chemical “burns” off the upper layer of the skin that is then replaced during the healing process with new, younger looking skin.
If a mask is used the tape is carefully removed after a day or two. Gentle cleansing with soap and water and the application of mild facial cream or moisturizer will hasten the healing process.
How Is Dermabrasion Performed?
The area to be treated is temporary numbed with a spray. The same effect can also be accomplished with a local anesthetic. In the case of the full face abrasion, general anesthesia may be administered.
A high-speed electrical device, rotating a diamond abrasion sander, is used to remove the upper layer of skin.
Depending on the extent of treatment, the face may be left uncovered or a gauze dressing may be applied that, within a few days, will separate from the newly forming skin. A medicated ointment may be applied to enhance the healing process.
Will It Hurt?
A burning sensation may be experienced when the solution is applied during the chemical peel. This should quickly pass as the chemical itself acts as a local anesthetic. The mild burning or warm sensation may return to some extent and linger throughout the time the face is taped. Momentary pain may also occur when the tape is removed.
Discomfort may exist for a day or two following dermabrasion. After both procedures a tingling sensation is often experienced as the skin heals. Itching may also be experienced during this time. All of the conditions described can be alleviated with pain-relieving medication.
Where Will The Procedure Be Performed?
Depending on the extent of the procedure, chemical peel or dermabrasion may be carried out in an ambulatory surgical facility where you will be seen as an “outpatient” – or may be admitted to a hospital.
Are There Any Side Effects I Should Be Aware Of?
In the initial stages following either procedure, there will be some swelling. The skin may take on a deep red color, not unlike a severe sunburn. This will eventually change to a pinkish hue, and when the skin has been completely regenerated, the new skin will gradually appear lighter than it did before the procedure.
Exposure to direct or indirect sunlight should be avoided for a period of several months following the procedure to prevent a splotchy appearance. The use of sun screening lotion is important. Tiny whiteheads (milia) may appear. If they persist they can be wash away with a soaped washcloth. Stubborn cases can be quickly treated by the surgeon.
Rhinoplasty (Nose Surgery) – This operation is designed to correct deformities of the nose. It is the most common operation in facial surgery throughout the world.
Eyelid Surgery (Blepharoplasty) and Eyebrows & Forehead – Brow and forehead lifts do a great deal to alleviate drooping eyebrows and wrinkling of the forehead and improve the quality of eyelid surgery results.