Watch out for these complications when opting for chemical peels skin treatment | Health

5 min read

ByZarafshan Shiraz, New Delhi

The world of aesthetic is evolving with modern facial treatments such as chemical peels, lasers and fillers, fast gaining a lot of popularity because of their fast and successful results. Chemical peels are highly popular skin rejuvenation procedures because of their minimally invasive nature and ability to target various skin problems in one go.

Anti-ageing precautions: Watch out for these complications when opting for chemical peels skin treatment (Photo by Twitter/NydiaCarefskin)

They have also become affordable and it sometimes becomes difficult to know which procedure is suitable for you or not but the guaranteed way of getting excellent results from any cosmetic treatment is to choose a qualified dermatologist always as a dermatologist is an expert doctor who can evaluate your skin and work with you to treat the root cause of the skin issues.

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Rinky Kapoor, Consultant Dermatologist, Cosmetic Dermatologist and Dermato-Surgeon at The Esthetic Clinics, revealed that treatments like chemical peels involve the use of harsh chemicals on the skin which causes the skin to exfoliate and peel off. Thus, they need to be done precisely and in a controlled manner, otherwise, there can be complications such as –

  • Mild stinging, swelling and redness immediately post-treatment. The intensity varies with the strength of the chemical peel. Deeper peels can cause more redness as they are aggressive and this can last for weeks or months. A good dermatologist will know how to design the perfect peel for the ski type to avoid such side effects.
  • Changes or variations in skin colour: Chemical peels can sometimes cause the skin to become darker or lighter (hyper and hypopigmentation), especially in people with darker skin. Hyperpigmentation is common with incorrectly done light chemical peels and hypopigmentation is common with deep peels and can sometimes be permanent.
  • Crusting: Scab formation is caused because of injury to the skin because of the chemical solution. Sometimes crusting is also caused because of exfoliation from medium peels. Expert dermatologists will guide you on how to handle crusting because of chemical peels such as cleaning instructions and regular use of sunscreen.
  • Increased sensitivity to light: Chemical peels can increase the skin’s sensitivity to sun rays and hence it is important that you avoid sun for months after the procedure. Your dermatologist will prescribe the right broad-spectrum sunscreen to use post-chemical peels.
  • Scaring that can be permanent: Scaring in the lower face area because of deep peels can sometimes be a side effect of chemical peels. It can also in rare cases cause fungal and bacterial infections. Experts use antibiotics and steroid medications to curb the scarring.
  • Heart, kidney, or liver problems: Deep chemical peels use phenol which can sometimes damage the heart muscle and even affect the kidneys and liver. This is the reason why expert dermatologists limit the exposure to deep chemical peels and do it in 10-20 minute intervals.

Managing and preventing complications

Dr Rinky Kapoor said, “The first step to preventing complications from chemical peel treatments or any other cosmetic treatments is to identify the patients who are at risk. This greatly reduces the chances of complications and risks can be prevented or if they occur, be treated as early as possible.” Chemical peels are done to treat –

  • Wrinkles and fine lines
  • Acne scars
  • Pigmentation on the skin
  • Sun damage
  • Melasma
  • Redness on skin
  • Uneven skin tone and texture

Dr Rinky Kapoor shared, “Peels are an outpatient procedure and are done in a dermatologist’s clinic. The skin specialist will clean your face and make you wear eye protection. Then the doctor will numb the area and use the chemical peel solution on the skin.” The process is simple and in order to prevent any complications, Dr Rinky Kapoor suggested it is better to prepare your skin before the treatment by talking to your skin specialist and:

  • Avoid any retinol on the skin for at least 48 hours.
  • Don’t use Accutane for at least six months post the procedure
  • Use the prescribed skincare that your doctor has given
  • Stop hair removal procedures a week before peel procedures
  • Avoid using facial scrubs and exfoliants for a week before the peel
  • Avoid hair bleaching

Before recommending chemical peels, the expert dermatologists will first –

  • Review your medical history and get complete information about the current and past medications.
  • Do a physical exam of the treatment area and understand the tone and thickness of the skin that might affect the results.
  • Talk to you about your expectations and explain the risks, healing time, and expected results.
  • During the recovery period, it is important that you follow the dermatologist’s instructions to the letter.
  • Wash and moisturize the skin as instructed
  • Use the special skincare products as instructed
  • Avoid sunlight till the time skin heals
  • Avoid using makeup and cosmetics until the doctor okays it.
  • You can use ice packs on the skin to cool the skin and reduce discomfort.

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