Phenol Peels

Phenol peels are the strongest type of chemical skin peel available. They penetrate deep within the skin to treat severe wrinkles, sun damage and lines and wrinkles around the lips and chin. “Even though this is a major treatment, it offers profound benefits for wrinkles and uneven pigment,” says Barrington, IL, dermatologist David Van Dam, MD.

Phenol peels offer the most dramatic results because the skin is forced into creating new, thicker collagen. But because deep peels are so strong (they are always performed with anesthesia and your doctor will prescribe pain medication to take at home after your peel), they usually are only used on the face since they can cause scarring on the neck and other parts of the body. Keep in mind that phenol peels, which are generally performed only once, can cause a demarcation line on your skin, regardless of your skin type, and require a healing time of at least two weeks.

The phenol effect is due to the croton oil agent, but croton oil is not the only phenol agent found in phenol skin peels. Effects of phenol skin peels are long lasting with patients seeing dramatic improvements.

There are some risks associated with phenol peels. Always consult with your doctor to achieve a complete understanding of any side effects or complications from its use.

What Deep Peels Treat

Phenol peels are good for treating deep wrinkles, lines and sun damage.

Whether performed by your dermatologist or plastic surgeon, a medium to deep chemical peel can literally erase away past skin damage. The acids used in chemical peels force the skin to shed the outermost damaged layers. “Chemical peels are a long-tested procedure proven to improve wrinkles,” says Miami facial plastic surgeon Julio Gallo, MD. “However, I find chemical peels to be a little less precise and variable in their results as opposed to a computer-controlled laser,” he adds. Regardless of the type of peel that you eventually decide on with your doctor, your skin may appear red and irritated for a few days after the treatment and will peel for at least one week (if not more) before fresh, new skin is revealed. Any deep peel or laser may produce permanent pigment changes in some patients. 

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