What you need to know before getting a skin peel

February 20, 2013 2:36:28 PM PST
A month before her brother's wedding, Paula Arcabascio went to a spa for a chemical peel.

"I didn't want to go out in public. I was really embarrassed," Paula Arcabascio said.

She was hoping for an extra glow, but ended up burned

"It was just raw. It was oozing. I had blisters. It was swollen," Arcabascio said.

A year later, under the makeup she still has brown discolored cheeks and white scars. A chemical peel is supposed to remove the top layer of the skin and when used correctly it can leave you with brighter skin, fewer wrinkles. It can even help prevent skin cancer. But if you over do it, you can definitely do some damage.

"You can go the other extreme and therefore cause scarring and discoloration," Dr. Ariel Ostad said.

Dr. Ostad is a Manhattan dermatologist. He's helping Paula repair the damage and often sees patients just like her.

"I have, unfortunately, over the last 5 years seen more and more complications from peels done in a spa setting or by a non-trained professional," Ostad said. "They were traumatized. These are individuals who basically went in for a procedure hoping they're skin was going to get better. They walk out with these non-healing sores."

To get the best results from a chemical peel, don't get one more than once a month. Don't get a peel at all if you have a tan - wait until it fades. And, Dr. Ostad say,s people with naturally dark skin tones need to be especially careful.

"Whether they're African-American , Mediterranean, Hispanics - you can potentially cause further discoloration on their skin," Ostad said.

Make sure the persons who doing your peel is qualified. You technically don't have to be a doctor to do it so that means you have to ask questions. As doctors, we recommend you only see a doctor, a dermatologist or plastic surgeon who's trained in doing chemical peels.

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