Chemical peels are a common cosmetic procedure used to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, improve the appearance of scars, treat acne, hyperpigmentation, sun damage, and more.
During a chemical peel treatment, an acid-based solution is applied to the skin, causing the top layer to peel off. The fresh, new skin underneath is typically smoother and younger-looking. The face, neck, and hands are ideal for chemical peel treatments.
Chemical Peel Procedure
Before your procedure begins, you will be evaluated to determine if you are a good candidate for a chemical peel treatment and if a chemical peel treatment is the right solution for your needs. During your consultation, you will be given a thorough evaluation to determine your skin type (the ideal candidate has light skin and light hair), areas of concern, and depth of treatment. Personal goals will also be discussed and considered. You may be asked to stop taking certain medications before your chemical peel treatment at your consultation.
There are three types of chemical peels:
- Superficial peel: A mild acid, such as alpha-hydroxy or beta-hydroxy, is applied to the skin to remove only the outermost dermal layer. This is a light chemical peel, also known as a lunchtime peel. Healing time is approximately one to seven days.
- Medium peel: A stronger chemical solution is used that is intended to peel away damaged cells that exist on the outer and some middle layers of the skin. Healing time is approximately 7–14 days.
- Deep peel: A very strong chemical solution is applied that will penetrate the middle layer of the skin and remove damaged cells. Healing time is approximately 14–21 days.
During your chemical peel, it is normal to feel a stinging sensation. Stronger peels may sting more than a light peel. Redness, swelling, and irritation may occur. You may be given or prescribed lotion, cream, or medication to make you more comfortable as you heal.
It is important that sun exposure is temporarily avoided after any chemical peel, although the length of time can vary due to your skin type, the healing process, and the type of chemical peel treatment.