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All You Need to Know About Phenol Peel

One body part people always notice is your face, most especially your skin. So when you have wrinkles, sunburn, freckles, hyperpigmentation, or any blemish, it’s normal to feel insecure. It becomes worse when you try different solutions but nothing seems to work. But not to worry—this article offers a lasting solution and that’s none other than phenol peel.

picture showing an old lady's before and after using phenol peel

It is the strongest and most aggressive deep chemical peel available, perfect for treating all kinds of skin imperfections. If you’ve been contemplating giving it a try or not but need to equip yourself with adequate knowledge, this page contains the resource you need. Keep reading as we dive into everything about this chemical peel.

What is a Phenol Peel?

picture showing a young lady's before and after using phenol peel

A phenol skin peel is a type of chemical peel that penetrates deeper into the skin layers. It is more effective than other peels can such as TCA peels or AHA peels.

This peel is excellent at treating facial wrinkles, precancerous growths, acne scars, blotchiness, and other issues caused by sun exposure, aging, or birth-control pills. Compared to gentle and medium chemical peels, phenol peels achieve more vigorous and effective results. And for this reason, only an experienced dermatologist or plastic surgeon should administer this procedure. 

Most times, you may have to be sedated or given an IV anesthesia as well as an anesthetic cream to numb your face during the procedure, Though recovery may be uncomfortable and take long, the treatment is highly effective with long-lasting results.

In addition, the best part about phenol peels is that you only need a single treatment. So once you do it, you won’t need to return for multiple peels. 

The Process of Applying Phenol Peel

This treatment usually takes about one to two hours to complete. And to help you not to feel any discomfort, the doctor(s) will administer a sedative and anesthesia to numb your face. Once you’re sedated and they’ve cleansed your skin, they’ll carefully apply the chemical solution to your skin in cycles for as long as 90 minutes. Though your face will be numb, you may still feel a mild burning or tingling sensation. This mostly happens during the first application as the peel removes the epidermis, your skin’s top layer.

After applying the chemical, the skin doctor will leave it for some time before washing it off with lukewarm water. Afterward, the doctor will apply a soothing ointment on the treated area and a tape mask that will they’ll remove the following day. Then they’ll give you, the patient, careful aftercare instructions upon discharge to begin your recovery process.

But just so you know phenol peel causes redness or swelling. And because of this, your dermatologist will most likely advise you to stay at home for at least one week so you can fully recover after the phenol treatment. And while recovery is ongoing, your damaged skin will peel away to reveal new and blemish-free skin.

Does Phenol Lighten Skin?

Yes, phenol can lighten wherever part of the skin you apply it on. And because of this, skin doctors will consider your natural pigmentation before determining if a phenol peel is suitable or not. It’s why doctors mostly use the peel on the face because it may scar anywhere else.

How Long Does a Phenol Peel Procedure Take?

It usually takes one or two hours to perform. This depends on the area of administration though. For instance, if it’s on a small part like the lip, it may take 10 to 15 minutes. Furthermore, one treatment is usually enough to achieve the desired results.

Is Phenol Peeling Painful?

The phenol peel is a painful procedure because it penetrates into the inner layer of the skin. That’s why patients always get sedated so they don’t feel pain.

How Long does it Take to Heal?

Total recovery takes up to four to six weeks after a phenol peel treatment. And this is so because of the aftereffects of the treatment

For one, after the treatment, you’ll look like you have a severe sunburn but this should fade after about three months post-treatment when you begin to see the final results.

In addition, your face will also swell, ooze,  scab over, and peel before it finally reveals the new skin underneath. The good thing is the doctor will provide a prescription for the pain.

Furthermore, during the first week, you’ll have to keep your face moist by applying wet gauze pads with an ointment (Vaseline or Aquaphor can work). Your skin will also become over-sensitive, and your doctor will give you strict skincare instructions to follow like applying a high-SPF sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun every day.

What are the Negative Effects of Phenol Peel?

Phenol peels are so risky that some dermatologists do not administer them while others recommend other treatments first. So, before you go for it, consider these cons: 

  • Just like piercings, it can cause infection and scarring because the process involves removing your skin and you’ll most likely have an open wound. 
  • If performed by an experienced practitioner, it can lead to systemic risks, such as heart, kidney, and liver problems. (Per this study, 6% of deep peel patients experienced cardiac incidents).
  • It’s more expensive than gentler chemical peels. For instance, while a doctor-administered glycolic peel usually costs under $500, you’ll have to spend between $3,000 and $6,000 to get a phenol peel depending on your location and the extent of the treatment. 
  • Because these drastic peels create wounds in the skin that must heal, recovery can take up to a month with special aftercare instructions.

However, you can minimize these side effects if you only work with an experienced dermatologist or plastic surgeon.

What are the Benefits of Phenol Peel?

  • It can last a lifetime if you combine it with a good skincare and facials routine. This doesn’t mean your skin won’t age over time as you grow older.
  • These peels are effective and can transform the skin, smoothing out deep wrinkles and eliminating acne scars that other methods may fail at.
  • As Blair Murphy-Rose, New York Dermatologist, noted while speaking with Allure, this procedure helps reduce the risk of skin cancer because it can remove substantial layers of damage.

How Long do Phenol Peel Results Last?

The phenol peel offers drastic skin improvement in a single procedure by correcting even the most severe skin maladies. On average, the results can last up to ten years so long as you give your skin adequate care.

Is Phenol Peel for Everybody?

Despite its benefits, everyone shouldn’t use phenol peels. Why? Because they are so aggressive with a lengthy and uncomfortable recovery phase. Blair Murphy-Rose, MD, New York City Dermatologist, confirms in her interview with Allure:

 “A phenol peel is only recommended for those with moderate to severe acne scarring, deep wrinkles, or sun damage from chronic UV exposure who are not candidates for other types of treatments,” 

Furthermore, patients with severe medical conditions, pregnant women, and nursing mothers shouldn’t go for this chemical peel. So before you conclude it’s the right medication for your skin, consult your doctor to be sure it’s the only solution for you.

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Victoria B. Willie

Writing has always been a part of me. From writing stories as a young child to studying Communication Arts in the university, it has always been more than a medium of expression to me.

And then one day, I found myself toeing the path of an entrepreneur and becoming a fashion enthusiast. This made me develop an interest in content marketing and copywriting which I've been chasing alongside my fashion career.

That aside, when I'm not sharing style articles, selling with stories, or sketching fashion-forward pieces for Ria Kosher, you'll find me telling wild stories that always come with a twist.

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