A chemical peel is a technique used to improve the appearance of the skin on the face, neck, or hands. A chemical solution is applied to the skin that causes it to exfoliate and eventually peel off, hence the name chemical peel. The new, regenerated skin is usually smoother and less dark and wrinkled than it was prior to the peel.
Where can I get a chemical peel?
Chemical peels are best performed by a board-certified dermatologist near you. Chemical peels are performed in-office as an outpatient procedure, meaning there is no overnight stay. Peels performed by a board-certified dermatologist ensure safety, training, and experience, but as always we recommend you ask questions and see the credentials of the person you are considering to perform the chemical peel.
How long does a chemical peel take?
Chemical peel procedures can last anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes depending on the type of chemical peel performed.
Types of chemical peels
Prior to having a chemical peel, you will have a short consultation with your board-certified dermatologist to discuss the types of chemical peels available, your skin type, and your areas of concern and goals. The best chemical peel for you will be determined after your discussion, but here are a few standard chemical peel options:
- Superficial or Lunchtime Peel
This type of peel uses an alpha-hydroxy acid or another mild acid to penetrate only the outer layer of the skin to gently exfoliate it. This form of chemical peel is used to improve the appearance of mild skin discoloration and rough skin, as well as refresh the face, neck, chest, or hands. The recovery time for this is usually 1-2 days.
- Medium Peel
This type of peel uses a glycolic or trichloroacetic acid to penetrate the outer and middle layers of skin to remove damaged skin cells. This form of chemical peel is used to improve age spots, fine lines and wrinkles, freckles, and moderate skin discoloration. The recovery time for this peel is usually 2-5 days.
- Deep Peel
This type of peel utilizes trichloroacetic acid or phenol to deeply penetrate the middle layer of the skin to remove damaged skin cells. The treatment removes moderate lines, age spots, freckles, precancerous areas, and shallow scars. Patients who receive this type of peel will see a dramatic improvement in their skin appearance but will have a longer recovery time of 1-3 weeks.
Should I get a chemical peel?
A chemical peel is an excellent way to help treat acne scars, aging skin, crow’s feet, hyperpigmentation, melasma, scarring, sun-damaged skin, and wrinkles. The best candidates for chemical peels are generally light-haired and fair-skinned people. Chemical peels do not work commonly well on people of color, but it is best to check with your dermatologist to see if your skin type will be a good fit for a chemical peel.
If you have any of the following, it is also not recommended for you to get a chemical peel:
- Active skin diseases
- Cut or broken skin
- Nursing or pregnant
- Have taken Accutane in the last six months
What can I expect from a chemical peel?
While chemical peels don’t cause a great deal of pain, you will notice some stinging, redness, irritation, scaling, or peeling, as you would experience with a sunburn. Your dermatologist will recommend a cream or lotion to apply regularly to the treated area.
Depending on which peel you receive, healing time will vary from one day to three weeks. Your dermatologist will give you specific instructions on how to handle your skincare and may request a follow-up appointment if he or she thinks it is necessary.
Get a chemical peel near you!
Visit our website or call our office to find a Forefront dermatologist near you that provides chemical peels.