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Non-invasive Skin Treatments


Undergoing a Chemical Peel of the face can restore a healthy, youthful glow that cannot be achieved with a Facelift or similar surgical procedures. While a Facelift is performed to improve skin and soft tissue sagging, Chemical peels are aimed towards improving skin texture and color tones.

What can a Chemical peel do for my skin?

A Chemical Peel can help improve:

  • Blotchiness and freckles due to sun exposure
  • Fine wrinkles or coarse wrinkles depending on type of peel used
  • brown patches on the face from pregnancy, hormone replacement therapy, or oral contraceptives (melasma)

Type of Chemical Peels

TCA Peels

TCA stands for Trichloroacetic Acid. This is a chemical peel that is used in various concentration strengths for progressively stronger effects. The most commonly used strength is 35%.

TCA strengths and typical applications

TCA strength Typical uses
Removes sun spots/freckles, improves skin tone, textures
Removes darker sun spots/freckles, age spots, improves texture, smoothness skin tone, and fine wrinkles
For deeper lines, should be used cautiously, can bleach the skin

Dr. Lawrence Tong most commonly uses 35% TCA which will improve the overall skin tone uniformity, remove solar dyschromias (sun spots/freckles), and get rid of fine lines. It can be used on the entire face or applied in select areas such as the crows feet or lower eyelids.

Phenol Peels

Phenol peels are much stronger than 35% TCA. Results can often be quite dramatic and permanent. It has the main effect of being able to significantly reduce coarse facial lines, and improve skin colour uniformity. Before the advent of laser skin resurfacing, Phenol peels were the gold standard in terms of improvement. Many plastic surgeons still feel that no laser can match the degree of enhancement or longevity of result than can be afforded by a Phenol Peel. Due to its potency, a it can have the side effect of mild bleaching of the skin, and is not suitable for dark skinned patients. Phenol peels must be done under monitored IV sedation.

Chemical Peel Procedure Details

Prior to undergoing a chemical peel, you may need your skin prepared to accept the peel. This generally consists of pre-treating the skin for a number of weeks with Retin A or AHA creams. Pre-treatment helps to optimize the beneficial effects of the peel.

Chemical peels may be applied without anesthetic, when treating small areas of the face (e.g. lower lids, upper lip, etc…). There is a mild burning sensation with the lighter strength peels (i.e. up to 35% TCA peels). For a full facial resurfacing, you will need sedation in order to minimize discomfort. Phenol peels are performed with cardiac monitoring as rapid application of Phenol carries a risk of inducing heart rhythm irregularities.

Once you are sedated (as necessary), Dr. Tong will cleanse your skin. The chemical is then applied with a cotton tipped applicator. The depth of a TCA peel can be varied by mechanically rubbing the chemical into the skin. Phenol will affect the skin to a consistent depth and is not affected by mechanical modification.

After the peel is completed, the skin will look white, and subsequently turn a pink or red colour in a few hours. Dr. Tong applies ointment at the end of the procedure to minimize discomfort and keep the areas from drying out. You will be instructed to keep the areas constantly applied with ointment during your first 1-2 weeks.

Recovery from a Chemical Peel

If you have undergone a full facial peel, you will likely want to stay away from social situations for at least 7-10 days. The areas will ooze and crust during this time. Dr. Tong will instruct you on daily washing and care to the areas. Sun avoidance is critical during the early healing phase. Any significant sun exposure may cause a severe sun burn to the sensitive, healing skin. We caution patients not to go tanning for at least 6 months following any type of full facial peel.

As with any procedure, there are risks involved with undergoing a chemical peel. At the time of your consultation, Dr. Tong will go over the potential risks and complications associated with a particular type of chemical peel.

Get Educated about Chemical Peels

Chemical Peels are powerful procedures to help resurface the skin’s texture. It is important to find out about the various options, and their pros and cons. Our first goal is to educate you. Dr. Tong will take the time to explain all aspects of the chemical peel process. He will answer all of your questions and never pressure you to make a decision about having a procedure performed. We know that an educated patient will make the right choices about their surgery, and surgeon.

To learn more about how Dr. Tong can help you improve the appearance and texture of your skin, set up a Chemical Peel consultation by giving us a call at (416) 972-0999. No physician’s referral is needed. You can also let us give you a call; just fill out our contact form and we will call you on the same or the next business day.

Chemical Peels at a Glance

What the procedure does
Improves skin texture (lines and wrinkles), and colour uniformity (sun spots, melasma)
Duration of the result
Years to permanent
Length of time to perform the procedure
Depends on area(s); usually 15 minutes to 1 hour (for full face)
Type of anesthetic most commonly used
IV sedation or general anesthesia, local anesthesia for smaller areas
Length of time off of work
7-10 days
Time to get back to exercise
2 weeks heavy exercise
Pitfalls your Plastic Surgeon should avoid
  • Scarring
  • Bleaching of the skin (when used in inappropriate patients)

Dr. Lawrence Tong has either authored or reviewed and approved this content.