Chemical Skin Peels

Dear Dr. McCollough: You did a phenol peel on my friend which was very successful. She does not have the ghostly pallor one often sees with a deep peel. She has very fair skin, as do I, so I think I could expect a similar result. Please send me more information.

Dear Reader: Superficial layers of skin can be removed by a variety of methods of skin resurfacing including chemical peeling, dermabrasion and laser resurfacing. With any of these methods, outer layers of the sun damaged, wrinkled, or scarred skin are removed. However, it is only with the deeper techniques that new collagen and elastic fibers are produced in the deeper layers of skin.

We feel that in most cases some combination of resurfacing (dermabrasion and chemical peeling) offers superior results in treating wrinkling. But every skin is different, and we will recommend which combination of procedures might be best for yours.

Some skins are more favorable than others; fair complexions tend to do better than dark ones. Thick, tough, more deeply etched or oily skins may require a two-staged approach for the best results.

Resurfacing alone is not indicated for treatment of sagging tissues; although the new skin has better elasticity, this requires surgery. Even so, we have seen additional tightening in the skin in many patients after resurfacing.

Your “new skin” will be much like the skin of a newborn baby in that it will take time for it to toughen and tolerate direct sun, wind exposure, and certain skin, care products. Because it is “new” skin the texture and color will be somewhat different from that which has not been resurfaced. Makeup can generally camouflage any contrast.

I am forwarding you a copy of my book THE IMAGE IN THE MIRROR which has an entire chapter on skin resurfacing. Please read this thoroughly prior to your consultation. It has detailed information on this and other procedures. And remember, close adherence to post operative instructions is crucial.

If you would like any more information on this or other health related topics, call the McCollough Institute for Appearance and Health at 251-967-7600, email info@mccolloughinstitute.com or visit our website www.mccolloughplasticsurgery.com

If you would like to ask Dr. McCollough a question, email him at drmccollough@mccolloughinstitute.com. All correspondence may be used in future columns; however, names and any personal information will be kept completely confidential.