Chemical Peels

Tulsa Cosmetic Surgery Facial Peels

What is a Chemical Peel?

A chemical peel is a treatment that is best performed by a medical professional such as an Aesthetician, and should never be performed at home. This treatment can be considered a “controlled injury ” to the skin. It is a technique used to improve the appearance of the skin on the face, neck or hands. Chemical peels can be used to address acne, pigmentation concerns, freckles, wrinkles, skin tone and texture. By using acid (there are different types) to break down the top layer, or layers, of skin. When applied to the skin these acids interact with proteins causing exfoliation and peeling. Chemical peels are tailored based on each patient’s skin concerns, and also how aggressive each patient’s skin can handle. Your medical Aesthetician will choose the appropriate solution for you. There are three types of chemical peels ― superficial, medium-depth and deep-depth.

Superficial Peels

Superficial peels are indicated to address minor skin concerns like acne, surface scarring, and some discoloration. These peels are known to be safe for all skin types. The most common ingredients used in these peels are Glycolic Acid, Salicylic Acid, and more gentle ones are based with fruit enzymes. The peeling agents are blended with other ingredients to create a liquid-like solution that is then applied to the skin for a period of time long enough to only penetrate the epidermis (outer layer of skin). These peels usually take only 10-15 minutes to apply making them a perfect lunch-time peel. Superficial Peels are most often self-neutralizing, meaning the physician will not cleanse the skin afterwards. After receiving a Superficial peel, you may only experience flaky-ness vs. skin peeling. It takes the skin approximately 3-5 days to heal itself after a superficial peel, which is when you will also start to notice the first signs of your results. The maximum results will be seen about 2 weeks post peel. You can expect your skin to appear smoother, brighter and radiant. Optimal results will be seen when receiving 5-6 treatments, with 3-4 week intervals. Superficial peels may be used to prepare the skin for deeper depth peels or to enhance the efficiency of other procedures being performed on the skin. These peels are also a great maintenance option for patients who don’t have any obvious skin concerns, but would like to keep a radiant, even toned complexion. While during a superficial chemical peel you may experience mild burning sensation, this type of peel requires no sedation, or pain reliever.

Medium-depth Peels

Medium-depth peels are highly effective in treating acne scars, superficial hyperpigmentation, mild photo-aging, and smoothing out texture. This is a great peel for those patients who want more dramatic results than a Superficial Peel will achieve, but would like to avoid the risk and down time associated with the Deeper Peels. These peels may be safely performed on people with olive and light brown skin; they may be also used on dark brown skin tones, but there is a slight risk of discoloration and should be discussed with your physician. The most common ingredients used in these peels are TCA (Trichloroacetic acid), Jessner’s solution and Glycolic acid. Medium-depth chemical peels aim to penetrate both the Epidermis (Outer layer of skin), and upper part of the Dermis (Middle layer of skin). These peels take only minutes to complete, but depending on how many passes your skin may require, will determine how long you will be in the office. Depending on the solution used during your Medium-depth chemical peel, it may or may – not be self neutralizing. Meaning, your Aesthetician may or may not need to cleanse and remove the solution afterwards. This will all be discussed during your consultation. With a Medium-depth peel you can expect actual skin peeling. It takes approximately three to five days post peel for the skin to start its peeling process and may last 3-5 days. This is still considered moderate downtime, and these types of peels can be applied up to four times per year. With a Medium-depth Chemical Peel you may experience an intense burning sensation during the application. Your physician may consult with you about prescribing pain medication to take prior to your treatment.

Deep-depth Peels

Deep-depth Peels are used to treat more serious skin concerns such as severely sun damaged skin, deep wrinkles, and deep acne scars. These types of peels may not be suitable for those with darker skin tones, as they could result in scarring or hypopigmentation. The most common solution used in these types of peels is Phenol. Which penetrates the skin deeper than AHA peels or TCA peels. Deep-depth Peels penetrate down to the level of the Reticular Dermis (lower layer of Dermis). A deep chemical peel usually takes from one to two hours to complete, and requires the patient to be sedated. Since a Phenol Peel uses other ingredients to treat the skin, it is only indicated for the face. After your treatment is completed, your physician will wash the solution off with water, and apply a soothing ointment to the treatment area. Compared to other levels of chemical peels, you can expect a significant amount of down time with a deep chemical peel, with skin peeling and swelling lasting up to 2 weeks and skin redness lasting up to 3 months. A Deep-depth chemical peel is so powerful it provides much more dramatic results, and only a single treatment is required. With results that will last for years.

After Care

Skin prepping and aftercare is known to be the most important aspects of any facial treatment. After care varies depending on the level of chemical peel you receive, and your physician will go over every detail on what to expect during and after your treatment at the time of your consultation, so you are prepared on exactly what to expect. You will leave our office with post-op instructions in hand to refer to at anytime, and we will always be just a phone call away. Give our office a call today to schedule your complimentary consultation so we can get you on track to beautiful skin!

A chemical peel is a treatment which is best performed by a medical professional such as Dr. Whitlock, his team at Tulsa Cosmetic Surgery or an aesthetician. The process peels off the older, wrinkled layer of skin for purposes of regeneration. After the peel is applied and removed, the skin is smoother and softer and, therefore, more youthful looking. A chemical peel, also referred to as a derma peel or chemexfoliation, is a minimally invasive way to improve your appearance. While chemexfoliation is often performed on the face, it can also be useful in improving the skin’s appearance on the hands and neck.

Chemical peels can assist in improving skin problems resulting from UV damage, scarring, irregular pigmentation, acne, liver spot, wrinkles, fine lines, and dry or rough patches. The type of chemical peel you choose depends upon the type of skin problem you are addressing. There are many different types of peels, and some of them include : A phenol peel, retinoic acid peel, or a TCA peels.

The phenol peel penetrates deeply into the skin and often provides dramatic results. Only a single treatment is needed to achieve a better appearance. A phenol peel is recommended to correct skin blotches resulting from age or UV exposure, as well as to smooth out wrinkles. Care must be taken when applying a phenol peel as some side effects may include lightening of the skin or sun sensitivity.

A retinoic acid peel is often used to remove scarring, wrinkling, or irregular pigmentation. The solution for the peel is applied in the office, and the peeling takes place a couple of days after the application. Typically, the patient will require a couple of treatments before the desired results are obtained.

TCA peels, referred to as trichloroacetic acid peels, are deep skin peels that are often suggested for patients with darker skin. The peels are used to correct irregular pigmentation, get rid of blemishes, and smooth out wrinkling. Usually the patient will need to use sunblock for several months after the peel is applied. In addition, an application of AHA cream, Retin-A, or glycolic acid is recommended before the peel is administered. Healing generally takes a little longer than other chemical peels because a TCA peel reaches farther into the skin. An Obagi Blue Peel® is an example of a TCA-type peel.

Although the team at Tulsa Cosmetic Surgery does not recommed for treating deep wrinkles with chemical peels. Acne sufferers often find relief with chemical BHA peels, or beta hydroxyl acid peels. These peels are recommended for pimples because of their ability to reach deeper inside the pores. Plus, these kinds of acne peels not only slough off dead skin cells better than AHA peels, they also control the excess formation of sebum – all which contribute to the development of blackheads and whiteheads. Salicylic acid is the primary ingredient in these acne-removing peels.

If you are going to undergo a medium or deep peel, you will need to prepare accordingly. If you smoke, you’ll need to significantly cut down on your nicotine consumption or quit smoking approximately a month before the procedure. Smoking can increase the risk of infection. In addition, you’ll need to organize your work schedule so you can take time off after the peel as healing generally takes about two weeks. So if you have scheduled your free consultaion, and you are a chronic smoker, talk with the Tulsa Cosmetic Surgery Center, and reschedule your visit. Applying either glycolic acid or Retin-A each day a week before your appointment is also beneficial. If you possess a darker skin tone, using a cream with alpha hydroxyl acids as well as a bleaching agent will keep your skin from getting blotchy after you undergo the procedure

Usually, the best recipients for a chemical peel possess lighter skin tones because darker complexions are more susceptible to pigmentation problems after the application. Also, patients who have severe wrinkling usually do not benefit from a chemical peel and must opt for another cosmetic procedure, such as facial filler or a facelift.

Usually, after a peel is performed, the skin will be red and follow-up care will be required. Dr. Whitlock and his team located at the Tulsa Cosmetic Surgery Center will provide you with care instructions in this regard. Patients are warned against smoking or UV exposure as doing so can result in infection or scarring.
Typically, superficial peels, such as those used for acne or fine wrinkles, will require that the patient visit the office about three to five times over a couple of months. Medium peels, such as retinoic peels, require a couple of visits for optimum results while you need to visit the office only once for deeper peels, such as phenol peels or TCA chemexfoliations. Usually, superficial peels will heal in one day to a week’s time while medium chemical peels, which often result in red and swollen skin, heal in a week to two weeks. Deep peels, which require the area to be bandaged, take about two to three weeks for recovery.

Superficial peels, such as AHA peels, will require that the patient apply cream after the procedure. Makeup can be worn the following day. Patients usually need to visit the office every other week for a couple of months in order to see the desired outcome.
Patients who receive medium peels will need to take an antiviral medicine for a period of about two weeks and soak the area and apply ointment daily per Dr. Whitlock’s Tulsa Cosmetic Surgery instructions. Cream and sunblock should be applied, and total avoidance of the sun is indicated until after the patient fully recovers from the procedure. A follow-up appointment is required.

Deep peels will require that the patient soak her skin about four times each day and apply ointment to the affected area for a period of about two weeks. Dr. Whitlock and his team at Tulsa Cosmetic Surgery center will also direct the patient to take an antiviral medicine for 2 weeks.

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Whitlock Cosmetic Center

8913 S Yale Ave, Suite 200
Tulsa, OK 74137
Phone: (918) 743-5438


Monday – Thursday 9am – 5pm