Phenol/deep Peel Spot Treatment Possible?

Hi, What's your experience in treating isolated areas on the cheeks with phenol peels? I understand that there might be some color shift in the area that may or may not be permanent. Is there any risk that the treated area will get a different texture as well? Thanks!

Doctor Answers 4

Phenol/deep peel spot treatment

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  I have been using a deep peeling procedure for thirteen years and have been incredibly satisfied.  for results, consider checking out the photos on my website.  It is impossible to say without seeing you, but I don't think I would recommend spot treatment to the cheeks and would recommend full face treatment for optimal results.

Saint Petersburg Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 140 reviews


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 For deep etched wrinkles, there is no better treatment on the planet earth.  Many surgeons will perform a facelift and peel around the mouth.  Unfortunately the patients look like they have a donut around the mouth unless they wear heavy makeup.  Phenol changes the color, texture, and tightness of the treated skin.  Spotty treatments risk spotty tell-tail signs of treatment.  I wait three months or more after a facelift to treat the entire face, right over the incision scars for deep etched wrinkles.  After pioneering the use of full face CO2 laser research, I have abandoned laser and gone back to phenol which is far superior and longer lasting.  Best wishes. Knowledge is power.  Luis F. Villar MD FACS


Luis Villar, MD, FACS
West Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Spot Treatments With Full Strength Phenol (Punctuated Phenol Peel) Work Well For Fine Wrinkles, Crepeyness & Blotchiness

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The Punctuated Phenol Peel uses full strength phenol (NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH the Baker's Phenol Peel formula used for deep peels) in a dot-like, fractionated grid pattern to treat fine crinkles, superficial lines and wrinkles, creypyness and pigmentart blotches.

With this approach, pinpoint-sized dots of the phenol are applied with 3mm spaces between each appliction to ensure that there is sufficient normal intervening tissue to promote excellent wound healing and to reduce the risk of scarring. In general, a series of about three to four peels spaced at two to four week intervals is required to achieve optimal results.

Another option would be a trial of a treatment series (2-4 sessions) of superficial peeling agents, such as Jessner's solution, salicylic acid, glycolic acid or low strength (10%-15%) TCA.

Especially in light of all the previous treatments, it is important to consult with a board certified aesthetic physician experienced in all these options for treating this delicate region.

Nelson Lee Novick, MD
New York Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

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Phenol Peel on the Cheeks

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I have been using phenol peels for years. The croton oil in the peel is what actually makes it work. I assume you want to treat discoloration.

  • There is a risk with any skin treatment of temporary or permanent lightening or darkening of the treated skin. So...
  • I prepare my patients with tretinoin and 4% hydroquinone for 4-6 weeks,
  • I do a test spot treatment in one area first. 
  • Two weeks later, if color is ok, I treat all the other spots.
  • Phenol peels, TCA peels, freezing and lasers all can work.

Hope this helps.

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.