What is Peeling?
The term ‘peeling’ refers to the removal of the skin’s surface layers. This procedure aims to aid in the production of new, more smoothly textured skin. In addition, it serves to stimulate the production of collagen and elastin.
The peeling procedure has been in use for several centuries. We may even say it has its roots in antiquity. As such, it is a tried and tested procedure whose results are well known. In recent years, of course, technological developments have equipped the plastic surgeon with new tools which have rendered this procedure even more effective and secure than it was in the past.
When is Peeling used?
Peeling can achieve the following:
• Improving skin texture, i.e. making it smoother and brighter.
• Erasing shallow wrinkles.
• Correcting discolorations of the skin, i.e. age spots, freckles, etc.
• Improving scars and acne marks.
• Correcting dilated pores and general irregularities in the skin.
• Preventing the degeneration of the skin’s elasticity, as it stimulates the production of collagen.
What Types of Peeling exist?
Peelings can be divided into 3 categories, depending on the manner of their application, as well as a further 3 categories depending on the depth to which they are applied.
In regards to the manner in which they are applied, they are divided into chemical, mechanical and laser peeling.
1. CHEMICAL PEELING:
This method involves the removal of surface skin layers via a chemical method, i.e. using acids (fruit acids, T.C.A., phenol, etc.).
2. MECHANICAL PEELING:
This method involves the removal of surface skin layers via a mechanical method (dermabrasion, crystals, etc.).
3. LASER PEELING:
A laser is employed to sublimate the skin. The depth of sublimation depends upon the intensity the laser equipment is set to. This method’s main advantage is that the depth of the operation can be pre-determined exactly. It is worth noting that recent years have seen the emergence of various new methods of peeling, frequently employing a fractional laser, wherein one can achieve satisfactory penetration into the skin while requiring a much shorter recuperation period. The results in such cases are equivalent to medium-depth peeling.
In terms of depth, the general rule is that the deeper one goes, the better the results that can be achieved, but at the same time a longer recuperation period will be required. Therefore, superficial peels require no great length of time for recovery, and the patient can immediately resume their daily activities. Medium-depth peels require a longer recuperation period ranging between 7 and 10 days, whereas deeper peels require 10-20 days.
There is of course a limit to how deep we can go, beyond which it is imprudent to venture.
When it comes to peeling, the most common issue is determining the depth of penetration appropriate to each patient. This must be determined after a consultation with the surgeon, once the pros and cons of each possibility have been examined, based on the occupational and social particular of each patient. This basically comes down to whether or not the patient is prepared to disengage themselves from their daily activities or not.
The most suitable application period for deeper peels is between October and March. Shallower peels can be undergone throughout the year provided the patient does not expose their face excessively to sunlight.
Surface peels are painless, but the deeper one penetrates the more extensive the anaesthesia required. Even in deeper peels, however, localized anaesthesia is usually sufficient.
Peeling is a very old procedure held in high esteem within the field of cosmetic surgery, having long since proved its effectiveness.