A number of procedures are designed to eliminate the fine lines and wrinkles in the skin itself. Often these wrinkles occur in the corners of the eyes (laugh lines), the lip, or forehead. Such fine lines cannot be removed by classic facelift techniques or other methods of skin tightening. Virginia chemical peels, dermabrasion, and laser resurfacing are methods that specifically address these problems. Each technique uses a different method of creating a superficial burn in the face. The new skin formed by the deeper layers is tighter and has fewer wrinkles.
With a Virginia chemical peel, a special solution is used to peel away the top layers of the skin. This solution is applied to problem areas, such as the corner of the eyes or the lip. Occasionally, it may be necessary to peel the entire face. In 7-10 days, new skin regenerates from the deeper layers of skin.
There are different solutions or strengths of Virginia chemical peels. The traditional phenol peel is the most potent of the peeling agents. This acid is seldom used today. TCA peel is not as strong and is still used in various ways for removing fine lines and wrinkles. The hydroxyacid peel is even less caustic than TCA, making it a good choice for minor problems.
With all techniques of resurfacing, the immediate postoperative period is characterized by swelling of the face and treated areas. After a few days, this swelling will subside and the newly formed skin will emerge as a bright pink color, similar to intense sunburn. Your skin will remain sensitive for some time after these procedures, and you will have to wear sun block when going outdoors for several months, due to the sensitivity of the newly formed skin. Shortly after treatment you will be able to wear make-up, and within a few weeks you can engage in strenuous activity.
The choice of the Virginia chemical peel technique that is most suited for you may depend on your skin quality, tone, or color. The success of these procedures also may depend on your lifestyle and heredity. On occasion, permanent pigment changes may result from these procedures. You should discuss what technique would be best for you with Dr. Marefat.
A chemical peel is a procedure that helps counteract the effects of aging by removing the top layers of the skin of the face, thereby eliminating wrinkles, blemishes, and large facial pores. As we age, wrinkles occur in the corners of the eyes (laugh lines), the lip, or forehead. Such fine lines cannot be removed by classic facelift techniques or other methods of skin tightening. Resurfacing procedures, such as Virginia chemical peel, dermabrasion, and laser resurfacing, are methods that specifically address such problems. Each technique uses a different method of creating a superficial burn in the face. The new skin is formed by the deeper layers of the skin and will have fewer wrinkles and blemishes.
The purpose of the chemical peel procedure is to remove the signs of aging in the face by removing the top layers of the skin. The deeper layers of the skin then create new skin that has fewer wrinkles, pores, and blemishes. The beneficial effects of a Virginia chemical peel can vary, depending on the patient's anatomy and lifestyle. In addition, the depth of the wrinkles, pores, and color differences in the skin will be important in the result achieved.
In the first consultation, you will have a chance to discuss your concerns with our patient care coordinators and Dr. Marefat. We will explain what you need to know about your Virginia chemical peel procedure and help to determine what is best for you. You will receive information booklets, review before and after photographs, and receive pricing on the Virginia chemical peel procedure.
Chemical peels can be performed at the office or an outpatient facility. The skin of the face is treated with a chemical agent. The choice of agent depends on your skin and the preference of the surgeon. Phenol, TCA, and Hydroxyacid have been used for this purpose. The chemical agent produces a superficial facial burn that causes the top layers of the skin to peel off. The skin cells that are in the deeper layers of the skin will then regenerate a new skin layer that has fewer wrinkles, pores, and pigmented spots. You can think of it as a laser-induced “sunburn” that peels your skin and gives you fresh new skin. The skin of the face will be tighter, producing the effect of a facelift without the scars.
The extent of peeling will depend both on the chemical agent used and the depth of the peel. Sometimes the swelling and peeling can be quite significant. Most patients elect to take at least 1 week off from work. Usually after a week most of the peeling has occurred, however you may have some residual evidence of peeling that must be covered with makeup. Within 2 weeks all evidence of peeling is gone. The ultimate result of the chemical peel will not be evident however until at least 5 or 6 weeks have passed. You should expect a moderate degree of redness in the skin of the face during this period that will slowly resolve. This is because skin resurfacing can create new vessel growth in the skin and give a blush to the face. As this blush subsides, you will have a lighter color in the area that was treated, as compared to your natural skin color. This depigmentation results from all resurfacing procedures to one extent or another. The risk of depigmentation is directly related to the depth of the chemical peel. You will also remain very sensitive to sunlight and, therefore, we recommend using sun block to protect the skin from direct sunlight.
There are usually no sutures with a chemical peel unless it is combined with another procedure.
We like to see our patients frequently after treatment. You are seen by the doctor or nurse within 2-3 days of the procedure. Then the normal routine is 1 week, 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, and 12 months after treatment. Of course, if there is a need, you are seen as many times as necessary. We encourage our patients to come in for routine follow-up visits every 3-5 years.
You should be able to put make-up on your bruises after 1 week. However, we do not recommend putting make-up on any area of your skin that is not completely healed. This may result in tattooing from pigments in the make-up.
The ideal candidate for a Virginia chemical peel is a person with good facial skeletal structure but with facial lines and wrinkles. People who have large facial pores and pigmentation problems may also be good candidates for chemical peels. There is no definite age category when the procedure should be done. In general, the ideal candidate for Virginia plastic surgery is a self-motivated patient who has realistic expectations about the results. Generally, the younger you are the better a candidate you are for treatment. A person’s physiological age is more important than his or her chronological age. That is to say, you may be 60 years old, but your skin and general health may be better than that of most 50 year olds.
You can pay for a chemical peel by certified check, credit card, or cash. Payment for cosmetic surgery is expected prior to any procedure. If you are scheduled for treatment several weeks in advance, you may pay by personal check.
No. There are no scars with Virginia chemical peels.
Yes. However, the pain involved in Virginia chemical peel procedures is very tolerable. We have heard our patients describe it as “discomfort” or “soreness.” Many patients do not finish the pain medications prescribed to them for pain relief. Having said that, remember that pain is very subjective, and it is not easy to predict what degree of pain you will have.
If you are having a minor or moderate level chemical peel, you do not have to be sedated. Generally, topical or local anesthesia is adequate for such peels. Deeper chemical peels that involve larger segments of the face and neck need to be done under intravenous sedation or general anesthesia.
Minor or moderate chemical peels are performed in the office or outpatient facility under local or intravenous sedation. Only in rare situations, in which the patient may have medical risk factors, does Dr. Marefat suggest a hospital environment.
Yes. In all cosmetic and reconstructive cases medical photos are taken. Photographs are mandatory. This is the only way for us to compare your status before the procedure to your results. Photographs in plastic surgery serve much the same role that x-rays serve for orthopedic surgery.
Dr. Marefat and the staff at Metropolitan Plastic Surgery would be happy to help you set up a private consultation to discuss chemical peels in Virginia. Schedule an appointment online or call one of our locations, our Arlington, Virginia office at 703-516-7600 or our Woodbridge, Virginia office at 703-560-9583.
Dr. Marefat offers a number of financial assistance programs and payment programs to cover the cost of chemical peels in Virginia. Please visit the Patient Financing section of our website for more details or ask the staff at Metropolitan Plastic Surgery about these options so you can get started with chemical peels in Virginia today.