What are chemical peels for (genital) skin lightening?
Chemical peels are made up of mix of different chemicals that when applied on the skin can remove the dead skin and the upper skin layer to reveal the lighter, fresh & younger looking inner skin. There are different types of chemical peels: light, medium and deep, depending on the number of layers the chemical can go into and act as required.
Self administration or application of chemical peels by an untrained person is highly dangerous. You should always consult a trained plastic surgeon or a cosmetic gynecologist or a certified dermatologist to get the chemical peeling done.
How chemical peels work?
Chemical peels fall under cosmetic treatment procedures. When a chemical peel is applied (it can be on the inner thighs, around the vagina, face, neck etc), it causes the skin to exfoliate and peel off. While this is happening, new skin forms beneath the peeling skin. Once the upper layer peels off, one can see the new, younger looking, wrinkle free, lighter skin.
Who can opt for chemical peeling of skin?
- People whose skin is highly pigmented (darker in colour) in places such as under arms, inner thighs
- People who have wrinkles or fine lines on the face or under the eyes,
- People with scars or uneven skin tone.
You can check with your doctor if chemical peel is right for you and if it can give you the desired results.
Different types of chemical peels:
- Light Chemical Peel – This works only on the top most layer of the skin (epidermis). These types of peels exfoliate the skin to reveal the underlying new skin. Light chemical peeling of skin can be done as frequently as 3 to 5 weeks. Recovery time is about 4 to 7 days.
- Medium Chemical Peel – Along with the epidermis, medium chemical peels work on the upper and middle layers of the skin. They remove the epidermis and the layer beneath it. Multiple sessions may be required to get the desired results. Recovery time is about 5 to 7 days.
- Deep Chemical Peel – Deep Chemical Peels remove the upper and middle layers of the skin. These chemicals are very strong and the subject needs to be put under local anesthesia while this surgery is performed. The effects of deep chemical peels can last for 10 years. However, the healing time of deep chemical peel is much higher, can take up to few months. IV fluids may also be given during this time.
Once deep chemical peel is done, the person should stay away from sun until he/she is completely healed. Icepacks or fan for cooling the area may be used as and when needed.
Risks and side effects of chemical peels
Burning sensation, swelling and redness of skin (in the peeled area) are very common side effects. They typically don’t last long.
Some other unwanted side effects of chemical peels include:
- Darkening or lightening of the skin – commonly seen in people with darker skin.
- Scarring of skin – in correct application or application by an untrained professional can result in permanent scarring of skin
- Infections – Bacterial and fungal infections may be seen in some people
- Damage to heart, liver or kidneys – the deep chemical peels containing phenol can damage heart muscles, kidneys and liver and can also cause irregular heart beat.
Consult your doctor before the procedure to enquire about the benefits and risks associated with the procedure and more importantly, if you can go ahead with the procedure. Once the procedure is done, be in touch with your doctor and report any unusual reactions in the peeled area.