Historically, various mixtures of chemicals were among the first agents used to rejuvenate the skin. Cleopatra and the ancient Romans used various food acids to peel their skin. In the early 1900s, non-medical peels with secret formulas (probably mild acids) were performed in salons in Europe and the United States. A major advance was the development of the phenol peel in the early 1950s. This was a very aggressive but effective peel that wiped out years of wrinkles and sun damage. However, it was followed, over about two years, by marked hypopigmentation, giving the patients a “ghost-like” look. Furthermore, there was a significant risk of scarring, occasional late increased pigmentation of some areas and even irregular heart rhythms during the procedure.

Because of these problems, the phenol peel has been, for the most part, abandoned. Milder peeling agents are used, such as trichloroacetic acid in varying concentrations, glycolic acid in varying concentrations, and varying combinations of weak acids such as Jessner’s solution.

A chemical peel works by producing a controlled injury to the skin; as the skin heals, the damaged cells are replaced by younger, healthier-appearing cells. Chemical peeling is useful for many problems that exist in the surface of the skin, but will not treat full-thickness scars, contour abnormalities, excess tissue, or any other defect that is based in the deeper tissue. Fine lines and wrinkles, surface pigmentation, and uneven skin tone can all be improved to some degree by the use of chemical peeling.

Unfortunately, one of the ongoing problems with chemical peeling has been the lack of consistent results. We have seen permanent blotchy hyperpigmentation resulting from a phenol peel, which typically produces hypopigmentation. We have also seen prolonged hyperpigmentation occurring after the last of a series of TCA peels, where the previous peels, performed in an identical fashion, were unassociated with problems.

Since we now have techniques that will produce the same or better results than most chemical peels, we now have greatly limited our use of the older chemical peels.

We do use the “Vitalize Peel” as a mild peel, and have been quite satisfied with its effectiveness and reproducible results. We also offer the Obagi Nu-Derm System, which acts as a “slow motion” chemical peel.

However, there are now available several devices, which are able to reproduce the effects of a chemical peel, but with much greater reproducibility, better results, and a higher degree of safety, especially when compared to the more aggressive chemical peels. The Microlaserpeel and Arctic Peel are highly controllable peels that produce very consistent improvement in skin discoloration and fine lines and wrinkles. The California Photofacial and Superphotofacial produce excellent improvement in skin discoloration and rough spots, and may decrease the risk of future skin cancer development. The Fraxel laser is the treatment of choice for acne scarring and pigmentary irregularities, including melasma (the mask of pregnancy) and is of benefit for fine lines and wrinkles. No chemical peel out there offers these benefits with the same favorable risk/benefit ratio.

How can you learn more about chemical and laser peels?

The best way to obtain more personalized information about any procedure for yourself is to call 209-751-4292 to make an appointment for a consultation with Dr. Bock. He will evaluate your skin and will tell you whether you are a candidate for this procedure or whether another procedure would better meet your needs. At the initial consultation, Dr. Bock will tell you what you can expect from the procedure, the cost of the procedure, and give you some idea of the risks and complications of the procedure. Should you decide to go ahead with the procedure, you will be scheduled for a photo session. At that time, a detailed health history will be obtained from you and we will go over the nature of the procedure and its benefits and potential downsides in great detail. Preliminary photographs will also be obtained at that time.

Why should you choose California Skin & Laser Center for your peel?

At California Skin & Laser Center, we want you to have an excellent outcome and to feel that your needs and concerns have been promptly addressed in a caring and sensitive fashion. We strive diligently to ensure your satisfaction, your comfort, your privacy, and your safety. All treatments are supervised or performed by a board-certified dermatologist with many years of successful experience in a large variety of cosmetic procedures. Many treatment modalities are available, and we can recommend the most suitable options that are most likely to meet your needs; we’re here to meet your needs and help you realize your aspirations. At our offices in Stockton and Lodi, CA, we serve communities throughout San Joaquin County and the Central Valley, including Sacramento, Tracy, Manteca, Modesto, Galt, and Valley Springs. Many of our patients also come from the San Francisco Bay Area.