Medium Peel Introduction
Chemical peels are one of the most popular non-invasive cosmetic procedures performed to rejuvenate the appearance of the skin. Over time, factors such as sun damage, heredity, diet, and repetitive muscle movement contribute to the formation of lines and wrinkles in the face.
Additionally, the development of pigmentation irregularities or acne scars can cause skin to lose its smooth, youthful appearance. Often performed on the face, neck, and hands, various types of chemical peels can reduce the appearance of facial wrinkles, scars, and uneven pigmentation, as well as treat pre-cancerous skin lesions.
Medium peels generally produce more dramatic results than superficial peels, because they penetrate more deeply into the layers of the skin. Medium peels are usually performed using what is known as trichloroacetic acid, which may be used with Jessner’s solution or glycolic acid to improve treatment results.
Like superficial peels, treatment results depend on the concentration of trichloroacetic acid applied during the procedure. This is because solutions with a higher concentration penetrate more deeply into the skin. Although individuals with dark complexions are at an increased risk for skin discoloration, medium peels can be used successfully on individuals with fair and olive complexions.
One of the most common types of chemical peels, medium peels are a safe, effective method of treating fine to moderate lines, pigmentation abnormalities, acne scars, and blotchiness of the skin.
Overview of the Skin
The skin is composed of two layers known as the epidermis and dermis.
The epidermis, or outer layer of the skin, acts as the skin’s primary defense against the environment. As a result, these layers sustain the most damage.
The dermis, or innermost layer, is responsible for providing structure and support to the skin.
What Causes Skin Damage?
The dermis is comprised primarily of connective tissue, which is made mostly of collagen and elastin fibers. These fibers form a network that provides the skin with structure, support, and elasticity.
Over time, the aging process and sun damage cause a decrease in the amount of collagen and elastin fibers. As this network of fibers breaks down, the skin loses its elasticity and becomes more lax.
Together, aging, sun damage, and additional factors contribute to wrinkle formation and other changes in appearance.
How Do Medium Peels Work?
During a medium peel, a chemical solution is applied to the face. The solution causes trauma, or injury, to the skin’s layers. In general, the top layer of the epidermis, known as the stratum corneum, may be removed in addition to other portions of the epidermis. When higher concentrations of trichloroacetic acid are used, the treatment may extend into the upper regions of the dermis.
Similar to exfoliating your skin, the damaged outer layers of the epidermis will peel away. As part of the healing process, increased cell growth as well as collagen production and reorganization in the dermis will produce new, healthier skin layers, giving the face a more youthful, rejuvenated appearance.
Medium peels may last between fifteen and sixty minutes.
A few weeks before your procedure, you may be asked to use a facial product that contains trans retinoic acid. This is because trans retinoic acid is believed to prepare the outer layers of skin for treatment as well as allow the chemical peel solution to soak evenly through your skin.
Prior to the start of your procedure, the treatment areas will be cleansed, usually using an alcohol based cleaner. As you may feel a warming or burning sensation during treatment, a topical anesthetic or pain medication will be administered to help you stay comfortable and relaxed during your procedure.
Medium Peel Procedure
A sponge or a brush will be used to apply the chemical solution to individual areas over the entire face.
Medium peels primarily damage the epidermis. However, unlike superficial peels, the solution used during a medium peel may penetrate into the papillary, or upper dermis, which is why the effects of treatment are more significant with a medium peel.
Effects of a Medium Peel Procedure
Trichloroacetic acid application causes what is known as frosting of the skin, in which the treatment areas turn white. The degree of frosting will be used to assess the depth of treatment. Once the desired level of treatment has been achieved, the chemical solution will be removed or neutralized with a different substance.
The damaged layers of the epidermis will peel away over time. The healing process triggers cell growth which generates new skin layers. In addition, deep within the dermis, the healing process also stimulates collagen production and reorganization, which improves the structure of the skin’s framework.
As you heal, the new skin is revealed, giving the face a smoother, revitalized appearance.
Medium Peel Recovery
Immediately following your procedure, you may continue to experience some frosting which will fade in approximately thirty minutes, and be replaced by redness and irritation similar to sunburn.
Although bandaging is not necessary, like any wound it is important to keep the area moist and protected. Therefore, a protective ointment such as petroleum jelly may be applied to your face in the days following your procedure.
You will most likely notice the outer layers of the skin peeling away within several days following treatment. New skin will begin to appear in approximately one to two weeks. Your skin will be more sensitive to sun exposure as it heals. Therefore, it is extremely important that you protect your skin from the sun with UVA and UVB protection while you heal.
Medium Peel Results
The effects of a medium peel procedure are generally more noticeable than a superficial peel because the procedure causes more injury to the skin.
The results from a medium peel procedure may last between six and twelve months. In order to maintain the desired results, you may repeat the procedure approximately every three to six months.
It is important to realize that the appearance of your skin will continue to change and age after you have had a medium peel treatment. However, medium peels are a fast, effective method of improving the tone and texture of your skin, which will restore a more youthful appearance.