Chemical peeling is a broad term for the use of a variety of medical agents to remove
surface damage and irregularities from the skin. The chemical peel is one of the earliest
methods of skin resurfacing, and its value has persisted over time as new agents and
techniques have been developed that provide more choices for patients and improved
results. Many resurfacing agents are available; Dr. Barone and our clinical staff have a
long experience with their use and benefits.
Peeling agents utilized for treating sun damaged skin are selected based on their depth
of penetration and therapeutic effect.
Medium Depth Peels
These peels affect the thicker and deeper layer of the skin called the dermis. The most
commonly used agent for medium depth peeling is Trichloroacetic Acid, or TCA.
TCA and other medium‐depth agents not only improve surface damage but can help reverse
damage and premature aging changes to the deeper layer of the skin. Fine wrinkles
may also improve with the use of medium depth peels. The application of TCA can
result in increased collagen formation which will thicken aged ski n, help restore skin
tone and improve the complexion.
Medium‐depth peeling is associated with a short period of downtime, typically 4 to 7
days. There may be a period of post‐peel redness (erythema) which should be resolved
within 2 weeks and can be camouflaged with a high‐quality mineral makeup.
Deep peels affect the mid‐ to deep layers of the dermis. The agent used in deep peels is
modified phenol (with Croton Oil). This helps control the depth of phenol penetration,
so that different degrees of peeling can be obtained depending on the problem to be
Deeper peels are sometimes selected for severe problems such as acne scarring or advanced
sun damage and aging with severe loss of skin tone. Hyperpigmentation is improved
as well as both fine and deeper wrinkles, especially in the crow’s feet area and
around the mouth. Phenol can also improve pre‐cancerous sun damage called actinic
Because of the aggressiveness of this technique, pre‐treatment medical skin care is essential
to prepare the skin and a long term commitment must be made while the skin is
recovering. We use a team approach in planning and post peel care utilizing licensed
aestheticians and nurses along with Dr. Barone.
The phenol peel can be performed with intravenous medication for the comfort of the
patient. The open peeled areas typically heal within 6 to 9 days, but redness may continue
to last weeks or months post treatment. We recommend a high‐quality mineral
makeup, such as Jane Iredale for camouflage.