Chemical peels, or acid treatments, offer a rejuvenating and cleansing effect that improves your skin’s look and feel. Unfortunately, chemical peel side effects include burns which can last for weeks and months after the initial procedure.
The long-lasting impacts of a chemical peel burn on your skin include:
Loss of skin pigmentation
This is the most common lasting impact of this burn on your skin. Exposure to such high concentrations of acid completely removes layers of your skin, including its pigment. This typically takes at least six weeks to recover after the initial chemical peel procedure and can take up to six months for complete recovery, depending upon how deep the damage was from the burn.
The severity of scarring depends upon several factors, including depth of injury and location of the injury on the body. These scars will be permanent but may fade over time with procedures such as dermabrasion or laser resurfacing treatments. In some cases, these scars may never go away completely, even with more advanced cosmetic surgery procedures.
Changes in skin texture
A burn will remove the outer layer of your skin, including its most superficial layers. This can cause changes in the consistency and texture of your skin that are permanent. You can detect changes in skin texture around the area where you had the burn, but these changes may vary depending upon how deep the injury was.
Changes in body temperature
The loss of pigmentation in your skin due to a burn can affect its ability to regulate temperature. This means that you may be more sensitive to the effects of heat or cold on your skin. It also means that you have an increased risk of being unable to sweat in certain situations, which puts you at risk for overheating when exercising or during warm weather. This may take up to six months for complete recovery.
Sensitivity to sunlight
After undergoing a chemical peel procedure, it is essential to protect your skin from the sun as it is much more sensitive. Sun exposure can cause a burn to become even more profound and more severe, leading to possible permanent scarring. It also means that you have an increased risk of developing a potentially painful condition known as photoallergic contact dermatitis, which occurs when certain medications or cosmetics interact with sunlight.
Increased sensitivity to skin care products
Skin care products such as moisturizers and cleansers may no longer be appropriate for you, depending upon how extensive your burn was. Skin care products should be tested on your forearm first before applying it to your face. This is because the skin on your face may be too sensitive for a new product, even if it has been tested successfully on other parts of your body. These products should only be used if recommended by a doctor who is treating your injury. Sensitivity can last anywhere from six months up to two years post-chemical peel.
Increased risk of bacterial infections
A burn makes you more susceptible to developing a bacterial infection as microbes can enter your body through the opening in damaged skin. This risk is particularly heightened if you are diabetic or have an autoimmune disease due to an increase in white blood cell count.
Changes in sensation
You may also experience changes in sensation on your face, including numbness and tingling. These changes will be permanent but can sometimes take up to six months for complete recovery.
Altered sweating pattern
Burns can also cause disruptions in your body’s ability to sweat normally, leading to an increased risk of overheating during exercise or warm weather. Sweating may not return to normal until as late as six months post-chemical peel.
The psychological implications of having had a burn can be challenging to cope with, especially if you have visible scarring. It is important to understand that the scars are permanent but may fade over time with cosmetic procedures such as dermabrasion or skin resurfacing. You should speak to your doctor about how best to minimize scarring based on your burn severity.
The visible appearance of premature aging is a significant concern for many people who have had burns, especially if their injuries were extensive or deep. Many people report that they look older than their actual age due to the damage that has been done to their skin. While visible scarring can be minimized, it is crucial to understand that certain changes may be permanent, including fine lines and wrinkles, pockmarking, texture irregularities, loss of pigmentation, dyschromia (abnormal coloring), dryness, leathery skin, and a hooded-eye appearance.
Distorted perception of facial expressions
After undergoing a chemical peel, you may find that it becomes more difficult to formulate the same facial expressions. The changes in your skin’s sensation and temperature caused by this injury can affect your ability to display emotions using facial cues properly. Your face may feel numb or lack sensation entirely, so it will be harder to create particular expressions.
Loss of facial hair
If you had a burn on your face, you might experience loss of facial hair. Facial hair loss comes two to four months after the burn has occurred. This is not considered a lasting impact of a burn but rather something that you should be aware of before undergoing the procedure. This typically takes around six months to recover.
Loss of arm or leg hair
Depending upon the severity of your burn, you may also see changes in the amount of body hair that grows back after the procedure. This includes both face and non-face areas like arms and legs. This can take up to six months for complete recovery.
Scar tissue (keloid) formation
Scar tissue is an abnormal growth of fibrous tissue that forms at injury sites, including at the site of a burn. These scars are typically thick, red, or dark in appearance and can be itchy or even painful. These typically take up to one year for complete recovery.
Although burns from chemical peels are typically quite serious, treatments are available that can speed up the healing process and reduce or eliminate any of these lasting impacts of a burn on your skin. The earlier you get treatment, the more effective it will be in limiting the potential damage from a burn of a chemical peel on your skin.