There are many different techniques and technological devices in the plastic surgeon’s tool box, ranging from blepharoplasty procedures that remove minute amounts of tissue from the upper or lower eyelids to full reconstructive procedures that involve rebuilding damaged areas of the face. However, one of the most effective and versatile procedures doesn’t actually involve surgery at all. Over the course of the last twenty-five years, I have made extensive use of chemical peels both as a way to rejuvenate the skin’s appearance, removing wrinkles and restoring a youthful glow, and as a way to help patients who are recovering after more comprehensive plastic surgery procedures. Here is some insight into how this useful technique works and what exactly it can do for you.
Chemical peels are useful because they take advantage of the skin’s natural ability to constantly renew itself. As new skin cells are formed in the deep, underlying layers of tissue, they push older skin cells towards the skin’s surface. The oldest of these skin cells, now flattened and dead, provide a barrier that protects the living, growing skin from dirt and environmental bacteria. However, these older surface cells, because they are no longer living, are far less elastic and pliable than they once were, and so they can become creased by facial movement much more easily. This results in a multitude of fine lines and wrinkles across the face. A low strength chemical peel uses trichloroacetic acid, or TCA, to gently wash away layers of these dead skin cells, in effect ‘smoothing out’ the skin’s surface, making dynamic facial lines less noticeable, and generally giving the entire face a refreshed and rejuvenated look. TCA chemical peels can also address a variety of skin conditions, such as acne, hyperpigmentation, and rough or scaly patches, and because it is relatively mild and unlikely to negatively affect pigmentation, allows for a faster recovery time than most other chemical peels.
However, chemical peels can also do a great deal more. Removing the protective outer layers of skin in a controlled, sterile environment under a doctor’s supervision is completely safe, but it does trigger the body’s natural healing processes, increasing the production of collagen and elastin that form the basis of new skin cells. This can be particularly helpful for patients who are recovering from more invasive cosmetic plastic surgery procedures. After a facelift or brow lift, for example, a stronger chemical peel, using a higher concentration of trichloroacetic acid, can actually be used to reduce the appearance of scars caused by surgical incisions, improving overall facelift results.
Combining various plastic surgery procedures to address specific areas of concern simultaneously is one of the most efficient and effective ways to achieve the look you want with minimal post-procedure downtime. If you are interested in a chemical peel, or in any of the other cosmetic plastic surgery or facial rejuvenation procedures that I perform, please contact me, Dr. Fernando Burstein, to schedule a consultation so that we can determine what approach is right for you. Additionally, you can find out more by connecting with me on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for the latest facial plastic surgery news and updates.