Medical questions & health advice by licensed doctors
"What are the long term effects of chemical peels?"
I like getting chemical peels because it keeps me looking young. I am 40. So far I've seen no effects but sometimes I think about it. Can I damage my face this way?
Chemical peels have been around in some form similar to how we now understand them for nearly 100 years. They are especially effective at removing the fine lines and wrinkles that form on the face and other body parts, and are most effective when used on thin, fair skin. The major risks of long term use include the possibility of developing a local reaction that can leave the skin darker than the surrounding skin.
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There is also a small risk of absorbing too much of the peeling agent and potentially causing a heart arrhythmia, but this is not a risk that should persist after the immediate period. Other long term risks appear to be minimal at this time, and so they are preferred by many patients who seek a quick, effective, rejuvenation procedure. It is important to note that you should not have a peel if you have skin cancer currently, or are concerned that you might have it. As with all medical procedures, it is best to speak with your provider (usually a dermatologist in this case) about the risks and benefits before you proceed. He or she might be able to offer other options as well.
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