Glycolic acid is a non toxic Alpha Hydroxy Acid derived from sugar cane. Application to the skin wick “lift away” the aging surface skin cells and allow younger, less sun damaged cells to come to the surface and “freshen” the skin.
Glycolic acid is present in many skin care products at concentration levels of 3-5%. The peels applied under the direction of a physician range from 20-70%, with the appropriate concentration chosen based on your particular skin type and degree of skin damage.
After cleansing the skin, the solution is applied and left on for 3-6 minutes during which time the skin will “tingle”. Upon completion of the appropriate application, the solution is neutralized with water.
After the “peel” your skin may become slightly pink and there may be some superficial flaking similar to an aggressive facial scrub. Your skin will instantly feel smoother and will have a healthier “glow”.
Glycolic peels can be repeated periodically. Most individuals benefit from such a treatment every 3-6 months and the concentration can be adjusted according to the skin needs at each treatment. Glycolic peels work best as a “primer”. The newer, fresher layer of skin is best maintained with proper skin care regimen as recommended by your aesthetician or physician.
Various lasers have been introduced to facial plastic surgery over the past 15 years. Some lasers are used to address pigmented lesions on the face such as surface blood vessels, birthmarks or “age spots”. Other lasers are used to vaporize the surface layer of the skin to various depths to both eliminate the aged or dry surface layer and to stimulate growth of new “fresher” skin cells. Additionally, the thermal energy or heat delivered by the laser aids in tightening the existing collagen fibers to further soften or eliminate surface wrinkles. Finally, lasers can be used as a “light scalpel” to perform certain surgical procedures, resulting in less bruising.
Carbon Dioxide and Erbium lasers are available for resurfacing and cutting while pulsed dye or V-Beam lasers are used to treat pigmented lesions.
Although lasers are much talked about in fashion journals and in the media, not all procedures can be performed with a laser. Only after a proper skin and facial analysis can the option of laser use be considered by your plastic surgeon and you.
Chemical peel techniques have been used as early as the Egyptian Pharaohs who realized rejuvenation benefits of applying fruit and sugar cane extracts to the skin. Today chemical peels range from treatment with the very weak fruit acids such as glycolic and alpha hydroxy acid, to application of more potent peeling solutions such as trichloracetic acid that will penetrate to a specific depth of dermis of the skin. The depth of penetration will determine the extent of exfoliation. Additionally, these peels stimulate growth of new skin cells in the dermis that will migrate to the skin surface and replace the older, drier skin cells that have been eliminated by the peeling solution. Overall, patients note improvement in skin texture, uniformity of color, and overall skin “health”.
Dr. Der Sarkissian will recommend the type of peel based on your skin type, skin pigment, degree of skin aging and wrinkling, and degree of sun exposure and “photo aging” of the skin. Most chemical peel procedures can be performed in the office setting, using local anesthesia “blocks” of the facial skin. Alternately, if performed at the same time as other surgical procedures, the peeling solution can be applied in the operating room under anesthesia.
Depending on the type and concentration of peeling solution used, the face will be swollen for 2-3 days. The skin may initially look somewhat blanched, followed by some redness over the first 2-4 days. During this period of time, some peeling and flaking of skin may occur as well, for which emollient ointments are recommended. After 3-5 days, the skin will appear pink but is generally well enough healed that a tinted makeup can be applied to soften the pinkness.
Once, fully healed, the skin will look and feel fresher and smoother, with less texture and pigment irregularities.