Washington Univesity Facial Plastic Surgery Center
Washington Univesity Facial Plastic Surgery Center
Facial Peels
A new, nonsurgical procedure is creating increasing interest in slowing the effects of the aging process and in rejuvenation of the skin.

Chemical peeling has emerged as an exciting anti-aging procedure and may offer you the fresh look you desire.

After evaluating your skin and discussing your cosmetic goals, Dr. Branham may recommend skin laser resurfacing or other enhancements to be used in conjunction with chemical peels to provide the most dramatic look for you.

What is a Facial Peel?
Facial peels are a chemical solution that is applied to the face and/or neck and penetrates the layers of the skin. The active ingredient in the solution causes the outermost layers of skin to gently peel off, shedding dead and pigmented skin. The depth of the peel depends upon the solution’s active ingredient and its concentration, which can be glycolic acid, trichloroacetic acid or alpha hydroxy acid (over-the-counter products).

The purpose of a chemical peel is to improve and smooth the texture of the facial skin by removing its damaged outer layers. This works well for uneven skin pigmentation, facial blemishes, fine lines and some types of wrinkles. Chemical peels may also remove pre-cancerous skin growths, and soften acne facial scars.

A chemical peel uses a chemical solution to improve and smooth the texture of the facial skin by removing its damaged outer layers.

There are two main types of chemical peels available from our center depending on your specific needs or desires.

Comparing Facial Peels
The optimal peel for you will depend on your skin type, changes in skin tone and texture, in addition to appearance issues you are experiencing. At a private consultation and after a thorough examination you will be advised of the best option for your problem areas.

Light Peels have proven to be effective in treating dry skin, acne, liver or sun spots, and for diminishing fine facial wrinkles, decreasing pore size, and improving skin texture. Light peels are usually performed in a series of six to eight peels, each peel two or three weeks apart. This type of peel leaves the skin with a red glow that lasts only for a day or two.

Alpha hydroxyl acid (AHA), a naturally occurring acid fround in fruits and other foods, can be found in very low concentrations in most over-the-counter facial peels. Due to the small amount of AHA, the penetration into the skin layers from these products is topical in nature and the effects are minimal.

If your skin is just beginning to show the wear and tear of smoking, sun exposure or age, then you may want to consider using at home skin care products with higher amounts of alpha hydroxy acid that can reach the underlying skin layers. These products, including cleansers, moisturizers, creams and peels, are only available through a physician’s office and are comparable to department store prices at $25 - $115.

Glycolic acid peels are considered light peels and are performed in the physician’s office. Results depend upon the concentration of glycolic acid used, but are similar to those achieved with a prolonged use of Retin-A™, without the side-effects. While physicians use a 70-99% concentration of glycolic acid for this type of peel, aestheticians are limited to using a 40% concentration. A glycolic acid peel improves mild blotchiness, removes layers of dead skin and gives the skin a youthful radiance.

The course of four treatments at the Facial Plastic Surgery Center costs $400-$450 and the sessions are scheduled in two week to one month intervals for the best results. At first, the skin will look mildly sunburned, but there is no loss of work due to this enhancement. Glycolic peels can be used on a portion of or the entire face.

Medium peels have the same benefits as light peels, but because of deeper penetration into skin layers they can remove larger wrinkles and precancerous skin lesions. These peels most often involve the use of trichloroacetic acid, which can cause the skin to look as if it has had a severe, sunburn for approximately five-to-seven days. There is a one-week recovery time for this procedure. These peels are performed only once a year.

TCA or trichloroacetic acid peels are performed in the office. This peel is considered to be medium in intensity and is used to revive dull, weathered skin, and to even out skin tones. It can also refine skin texture, eliminate or soften fine wrinkles and improve the appearance of mild acne-scarred skin.

A single treatment is sufficient to remove fine lines and dramatically improve skin tone, color and freshness. A TCA peel can be used for the entire face or on select areas. The cost is $1,000 for a TCA peel at the Facial Plastic Surgery Center. 

In certain medically related cases, health insurance may cover the cost of the peel procedure. Please examine your policy and contact your insurance company before the procedure is performed.