PHENOL

Phenol is sometimes, though rarely, used for full-face peeling when sun damage or wrinkling is severe. It can also be used to treat limited areas of the face, such as deep wrinkles around the mouth, but it may permanently bleach the skin, leaving a line of demarcation between the treated and untreated areas that must be covered with makeup. "Although phenol produces the most remarkable resolution of actinic damage and wrinkling among the various [chemical peels]... it also possesses some of the more significant [serious side effects]. Many have abandoned phenol in favor of other agents or laser resurfacing... . Hypopigmentation may occur in all skin types, noticeably lightening patients with darker skin and making lighter-skinned patients appear waxy or pale. A clear line of demarcation may be present between treated and untreated skin" (Source: eMedicine Journal, July 20, 2001, volume 2, number 7).

Buffered phenol offers yet another option for severely sun-damaged skin. One such formula uses olive oil, among other ingredients, to diminish the strength of the phenol solution. Another, slightly milder formula uses glycerin. A buffered phenol peel may be more comfortable for patients, and the skin heals faster than with a standard phenol peel, but it is still a risky procedure that can depigment the skin(Source: http://surgery.org/press/news-release.php?iid=109&section=news-consumer). On balance, we recommend forgoing phenol peels in favor of laser treatments such as Fraxel. Phenol is sometimes, though rarely, used for full-face peeling when sun damage or wrinkling is severe. It can also be used to treat limited areas of the face, such as deep wrinkles around the mouth, but it may permanently bleach the skin, leaving a line of demarcation between the treated and untreated areas that must be covered with makeup. "Although phenol produces the most remarkable resolution of actinic damage and wrinkling among the various [chemical peels]... it also possesses some of the more significant [serious side effects]. Many have abandoned phenol in favor of other agents or laser resurfacing... . Hypopigmentation may occur in all skin types, noticeably lightening patients with darker skin and making lighter-skinned patients appear waxy or pale. A clear line of demarcation may be present between treated and untreated skin" (Source: eMedicine Journal, July 20, 2001, volume 2, number 7).

Buffered phenol offers yet another option for severely sun-damaged skin. One such formula uses olive oil, among other ingredients, to diminish the strength of the phenol solution. Another, slightly milder formula uses glycerin. A buffered phenol peel may be more comfortable for patients, and the skin heals faster than with a standard phenol peel, but it is still a risky procedure that can depigment the skin(Source: http://surgery.org/press/news-release.php?iid=109&section=news-consumer). On balance, we recommend forgoing phenol peels in favor of laser treatments such as Fraxel.