Risks of Phenol Peel on Neck and Chest?

I had a Phenol Peel eight years ago and was very pleased with the results. I want to undergo another to tighten the skin on my face and neck, improve the texture of the skin on my neck and rid my face of some wrinkles and hyperpigmentation.

I have been reading conflicting opinions on the safety of a phenol oil peel on the neck and chest. I don't remember being concerned about it when I had my original one done.

Doctor Answers 7

Phenol Peel

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A phenol peel cannot be done on neck and chest.  That much phenol can be dangerous to the myocardium and in addition scaring will result.  Phenol is ok about the facial area only, nowhere else. It is a great peel but only when appropriately used. 

Don't Phenol Peel the Neck

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Phenol peeling done as part of the Baker's formula peel is an excellent procedure for the face.  However, the depth of penetration is too much for the neck and chest.  It will cause scarring that is horrific.  For those looking for peeling of the neck and chest, we use a Jessner's-TCA peel with a 15% TCA concentration.  This does not produce the same depth of peel compared to a Baker's peel, but is safer to use.  

John Bitner, MD
Salt Lake City Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 90 reviews

Phenol peels of the face and neck

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Phenol peels can vary in strength but the common formula used is that of Baker and Gordon.  Phenol peeling of the neck has never been advocated since the blood supply of the neck is less than the face and skin loss is all too common.  Repeat  peeling of the upper lip and peri-oral area is benificial.  The draw back of this procedure is that the skin pores enlarge with each peel.  To consider this procedure I would hope that you are fair skinned.  You did not mention you age but this plays a factor in your healing.

Gary H. Manchester, MD (retired)
San Diego Plastic Surgeon

Phenol Peeling of the face, neck or chest

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Phenol peel solutions have been around for a long time. If used straight, 88% phenol will act as a medium depth peel. When mixed with other chemicals or even water, it will go deeper. Traditionally phenol peels have been performed on the face due to the concentration of hair and oil structures. Since the chest and neck do not have as many structures, scarring may result from a deeper peel. Phenol is toxic to the pigment cells, and could be used as a straight peel to spot treat some sun spots, but I would advise against a whole neck or chest peel. It is also toxic to the heart so such a large area should be performed in an operating room, with Intravenous fluids and a heart monitor.

Phenol peels are risky on the chest and neck

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A phenol peel is a deep peel in most cases and is risky in the face compared to lighter peels and lasers.  The skin of the neck and chest does not have the same ability to recover from a burn the way the face does, so these are very risky areas to peel.  Try some IPL on the neck and chest instead.

Phenol peels on the neck are a risky procedure.

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Phenol peels on the neck are a risky procedure. The reason for this is that there are very few adenexal structures on your neck or oil glands that can assist the healing process after a chemical or laser peel. Basically, a chemical peel such as phenol is a burn that allows the new skin to heal over which is often smoother and not sun damaged. To heal effectively, you need a good population of oil or sweat glands to repopulate the skin and the neck and chest has very few of those structures. Safer alternatives would be a milder TCA (tricholoracetic acid) peel or erbium laser treatments. Even Fraxel treatments may be an option.

Scott Trimas, MD
Jacksonville Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Healing of the neck after a chemical peel or laser treatment

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The ability to heal after a peel resides on the reservoir of cells that remain in the deeper structures of the skin such as the sweat or oil glands or hair follicles; these are collectively called the adnexal structures. Skin that has more of these strutcures heals quickly after a resurfacing procedure. Skin that has fewer of these structures heals more slowly. Delayed healing can result in hypertrophic scarring.

The skin of the neck specifically has very few adnexal structures.

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.