Chemical Peels, Dermabrasion, and Skin Resurfacing

Resurfacing is based on inflicting an injury of various depths to the skin; face and/or body. Our bodies respond to this injury through the steps of wound repair, including neovascularization (new), collagen reposition and reorganization, thickening of the dermis, etc. which all result in skin rejuvenation.

Whether the modality of injury is mechanical; dermabrasion, chemical peels, or concentrated stream of pulse light; laser, the induced mechanism of repair is similar. The depth of injury defines the severity of the response and in turn this determines the symptoms, length of recovery and ultimately the result. Selecting the proper depth of the injury for any given patient depends on many different factors such as, for example, the thickness and pigmentation of their skin and acceptable post treatment course. Pre treatment can condition the skin and improve the result. Too deep an intervention, however, can bring about unwanted pigmentary changes and even permanent scarring.

A Customized Skin Care Approach

As described in this chapter in “Be Your Best” by Peter Fodor, there are a large number of different modalities to choose from, allowing the patient a customized approach. Also, as described with other cosmetic procedures, a very pleasing result may be obtained by using different methods.

While the search for the laser of “all seasons” continues and as we gain a better understanding of the effects of skin resurfacing in general, many practices have witnessed a revival of methods more commonly used in the past, such as dermabrasion and chemical peels, including phenol. In general, these traditional methods are less involved, less expensive and seemingly just as effective in the long run.

In any event, preventative and maintenance skin care programs as well as skin resurfacing, by itself or in combination with aesthetic surgical procedures, are worthwhile considerations in one’s quest to “be your best.”

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