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Obagi Blue Peel®

What is the Blue Peel and who is a candidate for the procedure?

The Obagi Blue Peel® was invented by Dr. Zein Obagi, a dermatologist who specializes in chemical peel treatments. The Blue Peel is a type of medium chemical peel that is used to enhance the texture of the skin while diminishing the appearance of fine lines, age spots and other types of skin discolorations. This process is not particularly effective in treating deeper wrinkles that appear around the corners of the eyes or on the forehead.

The Blue Peel treatment is performed in a physician’s office and requires a short recovery time to allow the skin to heal. One of the primary benefits of the Obagi Blue Peel® over other types of chemical peels is that the physician can control the strength of the formula based on the patient's needs.

The basic purpose of a chemical peel is to remove the dead and dry skin cells on the top layer of the skin, leaving smoother, more vibrant skin underneath. The process also stimulates the production of new skin cells for a more radiant complexion with a firmer appearance.

While many chemical peels use alpha hydroxyl or glycolic acid, the Obagi Blue Peel® uses TCA (trichloroacetic acid) as its active agent. This chemical works more slowly, allowing a doctor to adjust the potency of the peel as necessary to achieve the desired results for the patient.

Candidates for the Obagi Blue Peel® are patients in good health who would like to improve the appearance of the skin and reduce visible signs of aging or skin discolorations. The Blue Peel procedure can be performed on the face, neck, chest and hands.

What benefits may a patient expect from Blue Peel treatments?

The Obagi Blue Peel® will improve the overall texture and appearance of the skin in addition to specifically addressing the following issue:

  • Fine lines and mild wrinkles
  • Freckling and age spots
  • Irregular skin pigmentation
  • Shallow scars, such as those left by acne breakouts

In some cases, a Blue Peel treatment will be combined with other types of cosmetic treatment for optimal results.

How is the Blue Peel applied and what is the recovery like?

An Obagi Blue Peel® treatment is performed in a physician’s office and usually takes under an hour to complete. The Blue Peel is applied to the skin and the physician can adjust the application of the peel based on how fast it penetrates into the skin and the areas being treated.

The blue dye in the formula will help the doctor to gauge this process more accurately. Once the peel is applied, it will begin to work by lifting off the outer layer of skin and some patients will experience a brief burning sensation during this process. A fan may help to reduce discomfort.

After the procedure, patients may see a bluish tint to the skin and some slight swelling that will disappear within 12-24 hours. The skin will begin to peel within two or three days, and the peeling process will go on for up to one week. During this time, there may be some discomfort, itching and mild burning. The skin should heal completely from the Blue Peel treatment within ten days.

Makeup is not recommended for about three weeks after the treatment, but most doctors will provide special skin care creams to apply to the skin that will soothe the treated area and aid in the healing process. While most patients can return to normal activities right after treatment, some will prefer to take time off work until the skin is healed. Once healing is complete, most patients notice a visible improvement in the skin right away, with continued improvements over the next few weeks.

What risks may be associated with the Blue Peel?

A potential for burning that may leave scarring on the skin is present when using chemical peeling agents. However, the blue dye provides some safeguard against this risk, since the color allows the doctor to see precisely how fast the treatment is absorbed into the skin. Patients who choose a physician experienced in the Blue Peel procedure may also lessen the possibility of complications during or after the procedure.

How much does a Blue Peel treatment cost?

The average cost of an Obagi Blue Peel® treatment is $300-$800, depending on the area of the country where the treatment is being performed and the size of the treatment area. Some physicians may recommend a repeat treatment within six months to continue the benefits of the peel. After that, patients can maintain positive results with smaller peel treatments that cost less and require shorter recovery times.

Obagi Blue Peel® treatment is considered a cosmetic procedure for which most insurance companies will not offer coverage. Financing options may be available however, which may be discussed during consultation.

Disclaimer: This information is intended only as an introduction to this procedure. This information should not be used to determine whether you will have the procedure performed nor does it guarantee results of your elective surgery. Further details regarding surgical standards and procedures should be discussed with your physician.

By Anti-Aging.org Staff
Updated: December 9, 2008

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