Demystifying the mechanism of action of professional facial peeling: In-vivo visualization and quantification of changes in inflammation, melanin and collagen using Vivascope® and ConfoScan®

Dermatol Ther. 2022 Nov;35(11):e15846. doi: 10.1111/dth.15846. Epub 2022 Oct 3.

Abstract

Professional peeling using chemicals (chemical peeling) is a popular non-surgical procedure commonly used for the treatment for photoaging, pigmentary disorders, scarring, fine lines, and wrinkles. The objective of our case study was to elucidate the mechanism of action of professional peels/peeling. For proof-of-concept, we used a commercial blended peel containing trichloroacetic acid and lactic acid. The facial peeling was performed by a physician on four subjects. These subjects were followed over time in the clinic to take clinical pictures and monitor surface and anatomical changes in inflammation, melanin, and collagen at regular intervals post-peel (5 min, 48 h, and day 9). Dermoscope and Vivascope® were used to image surface and subsurface anatomical changes, respectively, and ConfoScan® was used to quantify aforementioned anatomical changes. Based on Vivascope and ConfoScan analysis, we could see clear visual clinical evidence of controlled injury-healing mechanism of peel's action: immediate but transient onset of inflammation within 5 min (indicate injury response by skin), followed by melanin redistribution evident at 48 h (indicate activation of skin's defense system), and remodeled fibrous collagen network without any inflammatory cells on day 9 (healing response). To our knowledge, this is the first ever clinical study to deconvolute the mysterious mechanism of action of peels, in-vivo.

Keywords: Vivascope; collagen remodeling; exfoliation; melanin redistribution; peeling; professional peel; reflectance confocal microscopy.

MeSH terms

  • Chemexfoliation* / methods
  • Collagen
  • Humans
  • Inflammation
  • Melanins
  • Skin Aging*
  • Trichloroacetic Acid

Substances

  • Melanins
  • Trichloroacetic Acid
  • Collagen