Blue Peel, At A Glance
- Best Results1-3 treatments
- Treatment Recovery5-8 days
- Procedure Time25 min
- Skin SpecialistDavin Lim, Dermatologist
- Duration of ResultsYears +
- AnaestheticNumbing, Cooling
- Back to Work4-7 days
- Cost$$-$$$ (Special order)
Blue Peel by Obaji
Peels are still relevant in the day and age of technology. In fact one treatment of Blue Peel can remove more pigment than Fraxel laser, HALO laser or IPL-BBL. Peels are useful in the management of photoaging, acne & acne scarring. At Clinic Cutis we perform over a dozen types of peels ranging from AHA superficial peels to deep phenol croton oil peels.
FactsFacts on the Blue Peel
- This peel is a modified Trichloroacetic Peel, also known as a TCA peel
- The skin depth of the Blue Peel is classed as medium depth chemical peel
- Medium depth peels can treat pigmentation, sunspots, as well as wrinkles
- Recovery following this peel is around one week
- Most patients require one Blue Peel to reset the clock by 5-10 years
- I often combine Blue Peels/TCA peels with gentle laser resurfacing
- Combination treatments give the best results
- Jessner TCA peels give superior penetration compared to Blue Peel
What is the Blue Peel?
The Obagi Blue Peel is a medium depth TCA peel. This peel reaches the upper part of the dermis, known as the papillary dermis. By definition, the upper layer of skin, known as the epidermis, is fully breached by medium depth peels, hence the healing time of just over a week.
When peels reach the lower part of the skin, they can efficiently target sun damage, photoaging & most importantly stimulate collagen production. This accounts of the anti-wrinkle effect of the Blue Peel.
What conditions can a Blue Peel treat?
Medium depth TCA literally peels away skin pigmentation, & sun damage. As a guide, the Blue Peel can address-
- Fine lines & wrinkles; via collagen stimulation
- Open & enlarged pores; by supporting pores with new collagen
- Sun damage, sunspots & pigmentation: by removing the top layer of skin
- Dull skin: by removing dead skin cells
- Acne scars; by remodelling dermal collagen & elastin
How is this peel different from beauty spa peels?
Spa & shopping centre peels are superficial chemical peels. These peels are called ‘lunch time peels (as they have no downtime).’ Examples of superficial peels include lactic acid, glycolic, mandelic, citric & retinoic acid peels.
Superficial peels improve skin texture, however they have limited capacity to remodel dermal collagen, treat pigmentation & photodamage. We offer superficial peels @cliniccutis. These are done by our dermal therapists. Superficial peels require several sessions to notice improvements, nevertheless they are useful in the management of acne, congestion, oily skin & to maintain results following deeper peels or laser resurfacing.
Is the Blue Peel painful?
This peel takes 20 minutes to perform. Majority of patients will experience a burning sensation 2-3 minutes after application of the peel. This lasts for 2-4 minutes & can be alleviated with simple cooling of the skin. For anxious patients I prescribe an anxiolytic to reduce stress (& pain). Post peeling you will experience no pain.
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How many sessions will I require?
1-2 depending on the amount of wrinkling, sun damage, pigmentation & importantly your expectations. 90% of patients will require only one Blue Peel as I frequently combine gentle fractional lasers to treat deeper etched wrinkles.
How do I differ from other providers of the Blue Peel?
Without doubt this peel is great, however in my practice I do the best to enhance the effects of the Blue Peel. This is how I modify the peel to give great results with only one treatment.
Firstly, I use a primer called modified Jessner. This peel consists of lactic, glycolic acid & resorcinol. Jessner acts as a keratolytic to enable medium depth peels to work harder.
Secondly, I often combine low density lasers such as the CO2 fractional laser. This allows me to stimulate more collagen in key areas such as around the mouth (smokers lines) as well as around the eyes (bags, laxity, crow’s feet). Delivered properly, the laser areas actually heal up faster than the peel itself.
In some cases, I may suggest an even stronger solution of TCA (even stronger than the Blue Peel). I firmly believe that a range of peel concentrations are required to deliver bespoke results.
How long do the results last for?
3-7 years depending on your level of skin care post peel. Resurfacing procedures such as chemical peels & lasers gives your skin a second chance. We typically turn back the clock by 5 to 10 years, essentially resetting your time clock.
After the peel my clinical staff will prescribe you a bespoke skin care program consisting of vitamin A, B, C, antioxidants & mini treatments to keep your skin healthy, preserving your results.
Can melasma be treated with a Blue Peel?
Technically yes, however there are many safer treatments that cost a whole lot less!
TCA & medium depth peels were frequently used to treat melasma in the late 90s & early 2000s. They do give a spectacular before & after photo at week 2, however the vast majority of patients (>98%) will experience rebound melama.
Specific lasers such as Spectra & pico lasers, along with low density Thulium lasers offer a safer & cheaper alternative compared to Blue Peels. I also recommend Cosmelan & Dermamelan peels over Blue Peel in the context of melasma treatment.
How does laser resurfacing compare?
Lasers, in the correct settings will give a shorter recovery time compared to medium depth peeling. For example, hybrid lasers will typically heal within 6 days, whilst Blue peels/medium depth peels typically take an additional 48 hours to heal.
I prefer peels if there are superficial areas of pigmentation to be treated such as freckling. For deeper wrinkles, smoker’s lines, under eye wrinkles & photoaging, I prefer a combination of lasers & medium depth peels. In my practice we are not limited to lasers or peels, hence treatments are individually tailored according to the patient.
Can all skin types - skin colours be treated with the Blue Peel?
I limit this peel to skin types I to III. This means if you have dark skin (like me or darker), I suggest safer treatments like LaseMD, conservtive Fraxel or Pico lasers. Technically darker or ethic skin patients can be treated TCA, however my level of practice is to find solutions that are equally as efficient but with less risk.
Can other parts of the body be treated with the Obagi Blue Peel?
Yes. This peel can be used on the check, neck, decolletage & even on the hands & arms. Extra-facial areas take longer to recover (typically 8-14 days). In most cases I combine fractional laser resurfacing at the same time as peeling. This is done to blend in the areas.
Can makeup be worn after the Blue Peel?
No. Normal makeup should not be worn for the first 5-6 days following the peel as your skin is still healing. You can apply a special colour matched makeup at day 5 (Lycogel).
Are there any side effects with the Obagi Blue Peel?
This patented TCA peel has a good safety profile as it is protocol driven. Side effects are rare, however the following unwanted effects have been reported-
- Prolonged healing
- Post peel skin darkening (post inflammatory hyperpigmentation)
- Prolonged redness
- Infection (cold sores)
- Melasma flare ups (hence why TCA medium to high is not recommended)
Can I DIY Blue Peel at home?
No, this peel is designed as a physician only peel. We conduct all our medium to deep peels in an operating theatre. Superficial peels such as retinoic acid or TCA 8% can be performed at home.
Davin’s Viewpoint: Obagi Blue Peel
This product is well packaged with a sound protocol driven application. It essentially is a medium depth TCA peel. Medium depth peels are very useful in the treatment of sun damage, age spots, pigmentation, wrinkles, fine lines & in some cases acne scars.
I do think that combining medium depth peels such as the Blue Peel with sensible, low density CO2 laser is the way to go. Why? Because laser healing time is faster than the peel. This way we can treat smoker’s lines, crow’s feet & deep wrinkles with only ONE combination treatment. Downtime is limited to just over one week.
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