Chemical Peeling is a technique used to freshen facial skin in a controlled way.
Mr Matthews uses the TCA (Tri-Chloracetic Acid) Blue Peel devised by the celebrated Professor Zein Obagi, whom Mr Matthews hosted for Professor Obagi’s first ever UK Blue Peel seminar, in Coventry in the early ‘90’s.
The beauty of this method is that, unlike phenol peels (Mr Matthews does not favour fruit acid peels as they are generally very superficial and transient), it is possible to ‘read’ the changing appearance of the skin whilst doing the Peel on account of the Blue dye mixed in with the TCA. This allows the skilled Peeler to take the Peel down to the optimal level in the skin to produce the desired effect and also to avoid going too deep with the attendant risk of scarring.
The Peel, which is carried out on an outpatient basis, may therefore be tailored to a patient’s skin type and condition, sometimes also being used for end-stage acne scarring (although the results for this are less predictable).
The skin is best prepared by a graduated course of topical skin preparations (Nuderm) with the support and guidance of Mr Matthews’ specially trained aesthetic nurse. Two to three courses of Nuderm (approximately 6 weeks each) get the skin into the best possible condition and receptive state for the Peel. Sometimes the Nuderm is so effective that the Peel itself is rendered unnecessary.
However, when a Blue Peel is to be carried out, a course of antiviral tablets (Zovirax) is commenced before treatment and continued afterwards to avoid the virus that causes cold sores affecting the healing process after the Peel. On the day of treatment, an oral sedative and a pain-relieving tablet are given approximately an hour beforehand.
The treatment itself involves careful application of 3 or 4 coats of the Blue Peel to the whole face except the upper eyelids. The patient lies comfortably on a couch and the aesthetic nurse is in attendance. Each coat causes an increasingly hot feeling in the treated areas, lasting for about 2 minutes: a cooling fan is used to offset this. The procedure is stopped when the desired level has been reached and post-treatment instructions are given by the nurse.
It is necessary to be driven home and to be patient whilst surface crusts come away over the next 10 days or so. This leaves a fresh layer of rejuvenated pink skin which takes a further 3 weeks to settle. Aftercare, including sunblock use, will be advised by the nurse: longer-term maintenance Nuderm (relatively cheap and easy) helps to preserve the result. Downtime following the Blue Peel tends to be significantly shorter than for laser techniques and the cost is also competitive.