Chemical Background

Following the fundamental work by Gregory Hetter [11], it is now commonly accepted that at the "heart" of solutions for deep peeling is a combination of croton oil and phenol.

Phenol (C5H5OH) or carbolic acid is an aromatic hydrocarbon derived originally from coal tar, but prepared synthetically in a process that utilizes monochlorobenzene as a starting point. Ninety-eight percent phenol appears as transparent crystals, while liquefied phenol consists of 88% USP solution of phenol in water.

Other chemicals such as hydroquinone and resorcinol, widely used in cosmetic dermatology, share a similar chemical structure with phenol (Fig. 8.1).

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