How to apply a chemical peel

This article was co-authored by Margareth Pierre-Louis, MD. Dr. Margareth Pierre-Louis is a board certified Dermatologist and Dermatopathologist, Physician Entrepreneur, and the Founder of Twin Cities Dermatology Center and Equation Skin Care in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Twin Cities Dermatology Center is a comprehensive dermatology clinic treating patients of all ages through clinical dermatology, cosmetic dermatology, and telemedicine. Equation Skin Care was created to provide the best in evidence-based, natural skin care products. Dr. Pierre-Louis earned a BS in Biology and an MBA from Duke University, an MD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, completed a residency in dermatology at the University of Minnesota, and completed a dermatopathology fellowship at Washington University in St Louis. Dr. Pierre-Louis is board certified in dermatology, cutaneous surgery, and dermatopathology by the American Boards of Dermatology and Pathology.

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A chemical peel can exfoliate your skin, removing dead dry skin cells on the surface and leaving a softer, smoother complexion underneath. While many chemical peels are performed in a doctor’s office, there are also home versions that use less potent chemicals. When you learn the proper way to prepare for and apply these products, you will see the best chemical peel results. However, chemical peels are more effective and safer when done by a professional – so proceed with caution.

This article was co-authored by Aanand Geria, MD. Dr. Aanand Geria is a board certified dermatologist, a clinical instructor at Mt. Sinai, and the owner of Geria Dermatology based in Rutherford, New Jersey. Dr. Geria’s work has been featured in Allure, The Zoe Report, NewBeauty, and Fashionista, and he has peer-reviewed work for the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, Cutis, and Seminars in Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery. He holds a BS from the Penn State University and an MD from Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. Dr. Geria then finished an internship at Lehigh Valley Health Network and a dermatology residency at the Howard University College of Medicine.

There are 11 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.

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A chemical peel is an effective way to rejuvenate the skin, remove minor imperfections like wrinkles and scars, and achieve a younger-looking complexion. Chemical peels essentially strip away the outer layers of skin to allow smoother, younger-looking skin to grow in its place. [1] X Trustworthy Source Mayo Clinic Educational website from one of the world’s leading hospitals Go to source The procedure typically targets one of three skin depths: a light peel removes the epidermis, a medium peel removes skin down to the dermis, and a deep peel works down to the lower layers of dermis. [2] X Trustworthy Source Mayo Clinic Educational website from one of the world’s leading hospitals Go to source Many peels do not require any significant preparation, but some require a skin care regimen leading up to the day of the peel. Knowing how to prepare for your chemical peel can help you ensure a successful treatment session.

This article was co-authored by Margareth Pierre-Louis, MD. Dr. Margareth Pierre-Louis is a board certified Dermatologist and Dermatopathologist, Physician Entrepreneur, and the Founder of Twin Cities Dermatology Center and Equation Skin Care in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Twin Cities Dermatology Center is a comprehensive dermatology clinic treating patients of all ages through clinical dermatology, cosmetic dermatology, and telemedicine. Equation Skin Care was created to provide the best in evidence-based, natural skin care products. Dr. Pierre-Louis earned a BS in Biology and an MBA from Duke University, an MD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, completed a residency in dermatology at the University of Minnesota, and completed a dermatopathology fellowship at Washington University in St Louis. Dr. Pierre-Louis is board certified in dermatology, cutaneous surgery, and dermatopathology by the American Boards of Dermatology and Pathology.

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A TCA peel is a skin treatment that works by applying trichloracetic acid to your face. TCA peels can be used to treat a number of conditions, including acne, irregular skin tone or texture, hyperpigmentation, fine wrinkles, and scars, including acne scars. [1] X Expert Source

Margareth Pierre-Louis, MD
Board Certified Dermatologist Expert Interview. 15 May 2020. This treatment can be performed by a dermatologist, but it is quite expensive. In order to save money, you can apply a TCA peel at home. In order to apply a TCA peel, you will need to prepare your skin for the peel, apply the peel, remove the peel, and follow post-procedure care instructions.

Now that you have found your skin type, have chosen the best acid and percentage for your needs, and have prepped your skin properly – you are ready to get started with the steps.

First, let’s watch a video that explains how to do a Very Superficial or Superficial chemical peel.

The steps are very simple. You will always follow these no matter what type of acid you are applying to your skin.

  1. Wash with a good cleanser.
    How to apply a chemical peel
    *nothing hydrating or creamy or glycerine. We want squeaky clean skin. Our Revitalizing Cleanser or AB Cleanser are both excellent choices.
  2. Prep the skinHow to apply a chemical peelwith our Prep A, Prep B or a 99% alcohol. Other options to strip the skin would be a 70% alcohol applied a couple of times or pure acetone.
  3. Prepare your Gauze pad with solution.
    How to apply a chemical peelWe want our pads to initially be very wet. Then you can give it a shake and a little squeeze. This will make sure that there isn’t any extra solution to drip into the eyes or pool into facial cervices.
  4. Apply your peel.
    How to apply a chemical peel
    The easiest way to apply a chemical peel is from the top down. You can also apply from the outside of your face and work into the center if you wish. Rewet if your gauze becomes too dry during the application. The face should be shiny and wet for 30 seconds or so.
  5. Time your peel
    How to apply a chemical peel
    and rinse well when you are done.
  6. Heal and protect.
    How to apply a chemical peel
    After you rinse your peel you will want to apply a product that will help to calm any inflammation and will aid in keeping your skin comfortable during the flaking and healing phase. We have two excellent choices to use.
    • Essentials Healing Blend. 99% organic. Apply to skin as needed.
    • Pure AEA Emu oil.Used in burn care for many years. Use as needed.

    6 Responses

    Hi. Not sure, but I think when you are discussing prepping the skin, the video’s superimposed text refers to post-peel neutralizer (instead of prep). See 2:21.

    Hey, Lise, thanks for catching this! We can’t edit that video anymore until we re-shoot.

    Im a Liecensed esthetician and is like ti add the chemical peel service to my clients soi prefer to get manual wirh each kind of peel to show me which one should i iapply to each of my clients depend on her skin type , to give the best results. Can we apply sunscreen directly after the service and the next day do we cleanse , tone , moisturize as usal or we keek using just the after care you have

    Hi Alia, we answered your question on the Live! Just look for your name in the timestamped area.

    Would like to see a segment on “Time Your Peel”. The booklet that I received with my products doesn’t really get into detail. I would like a solid game plan to follow rather than try various time combinations. For example, for a peeler Like me who is moving up from mandelic peels to TCA 13%, do I start with 2 minutes for several applications? Then move into 3, 4, 5. How do I know when to layer? When I start layer, do I initially leave the 2nd layer for 1 min? Then gradually add a minute for subsequent applications? Thank you

    How to apply a chemical peel

    Chemical peeling is the third most common non-invasive cosmetic treatment in the US — next to botox and fillers.

    During a chemical peel, a dermatologist will apply a chemical solution — consisting of chemicals such as alpha hydroxy acids, beta hydroxy acids, retinoid/retinol, or trichloroacetic acid — to the skin, usually on the face, says Marisa Garshick, MD, FAAD, a dermatologist at MDCS Dermatology.

    The chemical solution is designed to remove dead skin cells on the surface to encourage new, smoother skin to grow in its place. As a result, chemical peels can help even out skin tone from acne scarring, reduce wrinkles, and improve discoloration.

    Here’s what to expect during and after a chemical peel.

    What is a chemical peel?

    There are three types of chemical peels, which vary depending on several factors including:

    • The acids used
    • Their strength
    • The duration on the skin
    • Treatment goal

    Here’s a breakdown of each type of chemical peel and how often you can get it:

    How long it takes to heal: When you can get your next treatment:
    Light peel, which exfoliates dead skin cells from the epidermis < One week After two to five weeks
    Medium peel, which targets the skin cells from the epidermis and the dermis One to two weeks After a month
    Deep peel, which penetrates the deeper layers of the dermis Two to three weeks Deep peels can only be done once in a lifetime

    “In general, with chemical peels, while you will see results after just one treatment, the more you do, the more of a result you will see. That is especially true for superficial [light] peels when often three to five sessions may be recommended for best results,” says Garshick.

    What to expect during a chemical peel

    Chemical peels typically last between 20 and 90 minutes. When you first walk-in to your dermatologist, you’ll be given instructions to remove any makeup or dirt from your face.

    After that, the dermatologist will either apply isopropyl alcohol or acetone to your skin. This strips any natural grease or oil from the face, which helps ensure that the peel, once applied, will go on evenly and penetrate properly.

    Before applying the peel, the dermatologist will rub Vaseline or petroleum ointment to the corners of your eyes, mouth, and nose to minimize any buildup of the peel in those sensitive areas.

    After that, your dermatologist will apply the peel during which time you may feel a stinging or burning sensation for about 20 minutes.

    Depending on what type of peel you get, you’ll either:

    • Need a cool compress afterward if you got a medium peel
    • Require surgical dressing after receiving a deep peel

    Dos and don’ts after a chemical peel

    Immediately after your chemical peel is complete, your dermatologist will most likely apply a gentle moisturizer or recovery cream, and finish it off with sunscreen. You can expect the skin to be red and sensitive for days to months after, depending on what type of peel you received.

    Important: It’s important to discuss your skin type and medical history with your provider beforehand to avoid any complications.

    Once you’ve left the doctor’s office, here are some dos and don’ts to keep in mind:

    • Avoid any water on your face for 12-24 hours after a chemical peel. This includes any kind of shower or washing of your face.
    • Don’t peel off the skin. “As tempting as it may be, it is best to avoid peeling off any skin and it is best to allow the skin to peel off on its own. If you peel the skin yourself, you risk causing injury or scarring,” says Garshick. Rubbing or scratching the skin isn’t good either because it can cause an infection.
    • Avoid the sun and tanning beds. Chemical peels make the skin vulnerable to UV damage from the sun and tanning beds.So it’s important to wear sunglasses and a hat when going outside and avoid tanning beds entirely. The American Academy of Dermatology Association recommends wearing sunscreen daily to minimize discoloration and protect the new, fresh layer of skin.
    • Don’t wear makeup. Before your skin heals, it’s best to avoid using makeup because it can increase the risk of infection.
    • Use gentle cleansers and moisturizers. Avoid harsh scrubs and exfoliants for at least one week after the chemical peel, unless advised otherwise. You can use a recovery cream — such as CeraVe Healing Ointment or Avene Cicalfate Recovery Cream — to help the skin heal while moisturizing the skin.

    Chemical peels rarely scar, so make sure to stick to a strict aftercare routine to avoid it and get the best results from your chemical peel.

    Note: “While they can be performed on all skin types, it is important to use caution when performing chemical peels in darker skin types to reduce any risk of scarring or discoloration,” says Rhea Souhleris Grous, founder and director of aesthetics at La Suite Skincare.

    Who shouldn’t get a chemical peel:

    People of all skin types — including those with sensitive skin — can benefit from certain chemical peels, says Garshick. However, it’s best to avoid them if you:

    • Used isotretinoin, an oral acne medication, in the past six to 12 months, which increases the risk of scarring.
    • Are about to go on a sunny vacation or planning to be in direct sunlight for prolonged periods.
    • Have open wounds in the face or you recently had facial surgery.
    • Previously had an allergic reaction to peeling agents in the past.
    • Often have cold sore outbreaks.
    • Have undergone radiation therapy, which increases the risk of scarring.
    • If you’re pregnant, ask your doctor if you qualify.

    Insider’s takeaway

    People of all skin types may benefit from chemical peels, which can help improve skin texture, address discoloration, and reduce fine lines.

    The recovery time, depending on the type of peel you get, can take up to three weeks and requires significant aftercare like avoiding the sun, not wearing makeup, and using special moisturizers.

    By now, you’ve likely heard about chemical peels, the different options there are, and the wonders they can do for an array of skin concerns. But no matter how much research you’ve done on how this form of chemical exfoliation can benefit your skin, it’s a good idea to brush up on your chemical peel aftercare know-how before you commit to this particular beauty treatment. Read on to for the eight things you should know about chemical peel aftercare. Skin care lessons are in session!


    We’re sure you’re familiar with the saying, “good things take time,” and it applies to your post-chemical peel mindset. The type of chemical peel treatment you get determines how long your healing process will be. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), a refreshing peel can heal within one to seven days, a medium peel can heal within seven to 14 days, and a deep peel can heal within 14 to 21 days. That being said, the initial healing process is only part of the battle, as additional redness, scabbing, swelling, and blistering can occur after the initial range, depending on the treatment you receive. No one said chemical peel aftercare was pretty!


    No, you don’t have to say goodbye to your precious foundation, blush, and highlighter while you’re recovering. Once again, the amount of time you have to wait before wearing makeup depends on the type of peel you receive. If you get a refreshing peel, you can wear makeup immediately after or the next day, per the AAD. More intense chemical peels require more time before reuniting with your makeup bag. The AAD states that you can wear camouflaging makeup five to seven days after a medium peel while those who receive deep peels need to wait a minimum of 14 days before applying makeup.


    Remember that saying about good things taking time? Well, it holds true in more ways than one. According to the AAD, to achieve your desired results, you may need to have three to five refreshing peels, repeated every two to five weeks. Don’t expect to walk in, receive one treatment, and then be done!


    As you can probably imagine, it’s important to take care of your skin after a chemical peel. The AAD states that refreshing peels call for a lotion to be applied daily until the skin heals, medium peels call for daily soaks and ointment application, and deep peels call for four to six daily soaks, as well as ointment and thick cream application.


    Keeping your skin hydrated post-peel is a must. Dermatologists advise to use moisturizer as directed to keep your skin moist and supple since skin that is dry and cracking can scar.


    As much as you may dream of being a bronzed goddess, tanning is against the rules post-chemical peel—at least until your skin heals. The AAD notes that tanning beds and other types of indoor tanning can prevent your skin from properly healing.


    By now, you probably get the picture—chemical peels are a big commitment. On that note, there are potential side effects that can occur as a result of receiving a chemical peel. Possible side effects include lightened skin, temporarily darkened skin, redness that can last for months, and scarring. Make sure you talk to your dermatologist about what side effects you can expect, so you don’t go into the aftercare process blind!


    When all is said and done, the last thing you should know about chemical peel aftercare is that nothing lasts forever. Since your skin is continuously aging, it’s important to note that the results of a chemical peel aren’t permanent. You can repeat mild and medium peels to renew your results, according to the AAD, however, a person can only have one deep peel.

    Editor’s note: Think you want a chemical peel or have questions about any of the above? Make sure to consult a board-certified dermatologist. We’ve given you an idea of standard chemical peel aftercare, but you’ll also want to follow any instructions given to you by your dermatologist.

    Next up: Let’s talk about another popular skin procedure. Head on over to our article, What is Dermaplaning? Your Guide to This Popular Facial, for your next skin care briefing.

    How to apply a chemical peel

    Softer, smoother, tighter, brighter, younger-looking skin? Yes, please!

    Does it take going under the knife to make such a major transformation?

    Not necessarily. While surgery is always an option, there’s a much less invasive procedure that can help you achieve incredible results: a chemical peel.

    Although chemical peels are not exactly as gentle as conventional facials, the end result is one that’s worth the time needed to recover.

    So, what exactly is a chemical peel? How should you prepare for it, and can you expect from a chemical peel before and after?

    Read on to find out!

    What is a Chemical Peel?

    Basically, a chemical peel involves resurfacing the skin to reveal smoother, blemish-free skin. It requires the use of a chemical that is applied to the skin so that the top layers peel off.

    Different types of chemicals can be used, depending on the person’s skin sensitivity. Some chemicals that can be used include retinoic acid, glycolic acid, salicylic acid, or lactic acid.

    While the thought of applying acid to your face and peeling off the skin might sound a bit scary, it’s really not. Sure, the effects might be a bit uncomfortable for a short period of time, but the results can be amazing.

    Chemical peels are not just reserved for the face, either. They can also be done on the neck, chest, and hands, too. People who opt to have a chemical peel done can expect any one of these amazing benefits:

    • Reduce wrinkles and fine lines
    • Improve the appearance of scars, age spots, and discoloration
    • Treat acne
    • Make the skin look brighter, smoother, and younger
    • Improve skin health after sun damage

    Truly, the difference between a chemical peel before and after can be astounding and well worth the time and money spent.

    How to Prepare For a Chemical Peel

    If you’ve decided that better-looking skin from a chemical peel is something that piques your interests, there are a few things you should do to properly prepare for your procedure.

    Select the Right Chemical Peel for Your Skin

    As already mentioned, there are different chemical peels to choose from. The one you pick should be appropriate for your skin type, age, color and skin condition.

    Don’t Exfoliate

    Since a chemical peel is an in-depth form of exfoliation, it’s important that you don’t exfoliate for at least a week or more before your appointment.

    Even though you might not actively exfoliate with a scrub or exfoliant, watch out for ingredients in your every-day skin products that may have an exfoliating effect. If you use these products before your appointment, you could unknowingly cause some damage to your skin.

    Stop Using Anti-Aging or Anti-Acne Medications

    Products like these could impact how your skin tolerates the peel.

    Stay Hydrated

    Your skin should be well-hydrated on the day of your chemical peel. Stop using any products that could be drying out your skin at least a few days before your appointment. And keep chugging that water.

    Don’t Get a Chemical Peel Close to an Important Event

    There is a certain amount of recovery time that will be needed immediately following a chemical peel. If you’ve got a big shindig happening sometime in the next couple of weeks, wait until after to get a peel.

    What Happens During a Chemical Peel?

    To help alleviate any concerns you might have about the chemical peel procedure, it’s best to get familiar with it before the treatment actually takes place.

    You’ll be lying face-up during the procedure, which should last no more than an hour to complete. The technician will then gently apply the chemical to your face or other areas that you want.

    When the chemical of choice is applied to your skin, you can expect to experience the following sensations:


    The chemical applied will probably cause you to feel a little bit of tingling and itching, which are totally normal. But anything that feels painful should be communicated to the technician.

    Heat or Cold

    After the peel is applied, you might notice the temperature of your skin starts to change slightly, in either direction. Some people say their skin feels a little warmer, while other say their skin feels a little cooler.

    Either one of these is normal and just depends on the person.

    Taut Skin

    Chemical peels help to extract any impurities in the skin. But while that happens, you might feel a sensation of tightness, which is also normal as long as it’s not excessive.

    What Can You Expect After a Chemical Peel?

    Once you leave your dermatologist’s office after a chemical peel, what can you expect to happen?

    Skin Peeling on Your Face

    Perhaps the most noticeable symptom that you’ll experience is peeling on your face. That’s the whole point of a chemical peel: to “peel” old skin to reveal healthier skin beneath.

    You can expect your skin to peel after about the third day, not right away. It will continue to peel over the first week following the procedure. Deeper peels with phenol can take as much as 10 days to finish peeling.

    Slightly Increased Skin Sensitivity

    Your skin shouldn’t feel too weird after the procedure, but you’ll still be a little sensitive for a few days. You’ll also notice that your skin will be a bit more sensitive to some of your skin care products when you apply them.

    As such, avoid exfoliating products for a few days. Use a gentle cleanser and a hydrating gel to soothe your skin, and steer clear of any hot water on your face. And don’t forget the sunblock!

    Chemical Peel Before and After: The Difference Can Be Incredible!

    The difference that a chemical peel can make on your skin can be unbelievable. You just might get hooked after getting over your initial apprehension!

    Just make sure you choose the right skin care center to have your chemical peel done. And Rejuvine MedSpa is where it’s at! Call us today to book your appointment and be on your way to younger-looking skin!

    Chemical peels are cosmetic treatments that can be applied to the face, hands, and neck. They’re used to improve the appearance or feel of the skin. During this procedure, chemical solutions will be applied to the area being treated, which causes the skin to exfoliate and eventually peel off. Once this happens, the new skin underneath is often smoother, appears less wrinkled, and may have less damage.

    There are a number of reasons people may get chemical peels. They may be trying to treat a variety of things, including:

    • wrinkles and fine lines
    • sun damage
    • acne scars
    • hyperpigmentation
    • scars
    • uneven skin tone or redness

    There are three different types of chemical peels that you can get. These include:

    • Superficial peels, which use mild acids like alpha-hydroxy acid to gently exfoliate. It only penetrates the outermost layer of skin.
    • Medium peels, which use trichloroacetic or glycolic acid to reach the middle and outer layer of skills. This makes it more effective for removing damaged skin cells.
    • Deep peels, which fully penetrate the middle layer of the skin to remove damaged skin cells; these peels often use phenol or tricholoracetic acid.

    Chemical peels are almost always considered a cosmetic procedure, and insurance rarely covers it. You’ll be paying for the procedure out of pocket. Your initial consultation visit, however, may be covered by insurance.

    The cost of the procedure will vary depending on factors like location, expertise of the provider, and what type of peel you want to get. Light peels can cost as low as $150, and deep peels can cost $3,000 or more (specifically if it requires anesthesia, or in-patient stays). According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the current average cost of a chemical peel is $673.

    Chemical peels are typically done in-office; deep peels may be done in an outpatient surgical facility. Before the procedure, they will likely have you tie back your hair. Your face will be cleaned, and eye protection like goggles or gauze may be applied.

    Your doctor may numb the area with a topical anesthetic, especially if you’re receiving a deep peel. For deep peels, your doctor may also use a regional anesthetic, which will numb large areas. They are particularly likely to do this if you’re having your face and neck treated. For deep peels, you’ll also be given an IV, and your heart rate will be closely monitored.

    Light peel

    During a light peel a cotton ball, gauze, or brush will be used to apply a chemical solution like salicylic acid to the area being treated. The skin will start to whiten, and may have a slight stinging sensation. Once complete, the chemical solution will be removed or a neutralizing solution will be added.

    Medium peel

    During a medium chemical peel, your doctor will use a gauze, special sponge, or a cotton-tipped applicator to apply the chemical solution to your face. This may contain glycolic acid or trichloroacetic acid. A blue color may be added to the trichloroacetic acid, commonly known as a blue peel. The skin will begin to whiten, and your doctor will apply a cool compress to the skin. You may feel stinging or burning for up to 20 minutes. No neutralizing solution is needed, though they may give you a hand-held fan to cool your skin. If you’ve had the blue peel you will have a blue coloring of your skin that may last for several days after the peel.

    Deep peel

    During a deep chemical peel, you will be sedated. The doctor will use a cotton-tipped applicator to apply phenol to your skin. This will turn your skin white or gray. The procedure will be done in 15-minute portions, to limit the skin exposure to the acid.

    Before your procedure, you’ll first have a consultation with the skin care specialist. During this visit, they’ll help you determine what the best treatment option is for you. They’ll let you know the details about the specific peel you’ll be getting, and they’ll ask about anything that could interfere with the peel. This may include whether you’ve taken acne medication, and information about whether or not you scar easily.

    Before a chemical peel, you must:

    • not use any type of retinol or retin-A topical medication for at least 48 hours
    • inform your skin care specialist about any medications you take
    • not have been on Accutane for at least six months

    Your doctor may also recommend that you:

    • take an antiviral medication if you have a history of fever blisters or cold sores to prevent a breakout around the mouth
    • use special lotions to improve treatment, like glycolic acid lotion
    • use a retinoid cream to prevent skin darkening
    • stop waxing, epilating, or using depilatory hair removal products the week before the peel. You should also avoid hair bleaching.
    • stop using facial scrubs and exfoliants the week before the peel.
    • arrange for a ride home, especially for medium or deep chemical peels, which will require you to be sedated.

    If your doctor prescribes a painkiller or sedative, take it according to their instructions; you’ll likely have to take it before you come to the office.

    Common side effects are temporary, and include redness, dryness, stinging or burning, and slight swelling. With deep peels, you may permanently lose the ability to tan.

    Chemical peels can, however, have more serious risks and dangerous side effects that can be permanent. These include:

    • Darkening or lightening of the skin color. These can be more common in people with darker skin.
    • Scarring. This can be permanent.
    • Infections. People with herpes simplex may experience flares following a treatment. Very rarely, chemical peels can cause fungal or bacterial infections.
    • Heart, liver, or kidney damage. The phenol used in deep peels can actually damage the heart muscle, kidneys, and liver, and cause irregular heartbeats.

    Recovery time varies depending on which chemical peel you received.

    Light chemical peels

    Recovery time is about four to seven days. Your skin may temporarily be lighter or darker.

    Medium chemical peels

    Your skin will recover about five to seven days after a medium chemical peel, though you may have redness that persists for months. Your skin will initially swell, and then form crusts and brown blotches before revealing new skin.

    Deep chemical peels

    Deep chemical peels will cause severe swelling and redness, with burning or throbbing sensations. It’s common for the eyelids to swell shut. It will take about two weeks for the new skin to develop, though white spots or cysts may last several weeks. It’s common for redness to last for several months.

    During recovery, follow your doctor’s postop instructions faithfully. They’ll give you specific instructions for how often to wash your face and moisturize, and which products you should use to do so. Try to stay out of the sun until your skin has healed, and avoid using makeup or other cosmetics until your doctor gives you the go-ahead. You can use ice packs for 20 minutes at a time, or a cool fan, to help relieve discomfort at home.

    How to apply a chemical peel

    01 Oct How to Care for Your Skin BEFORE AND AFTER A Chemical Peel

    So you’ve decided to get a chemical peel. Before considering a chemical peel , it’s best to have a consultation to ensure that you are a good candidate for this treatment. If you are lactating, pregnant or think you may be pregnant, chemical peels are contraindicated. . For those of you who are on autoimmune therapies or products, we caution against the use of these medications for 2 days prior to treatment. It is important that you speak to your specialist regarding pausing the use of autoimmune therapies or products for 2 days. It is also extremely important to inform the doctor or the skincare professional of any medication or ingredient allergies you have.

    How to apply a chemical peel

    Pre Chemical Peel:

    • Discontinue use of tanning beds at least two weeks prior to a chemical peel. In fact, we advise that you stop using tanning beds altogether because they increase your risk of skin cancer and accelerate visible signs of aging.
    • Avoid extensive sun exposure, especially in the 10 days prior to your scheduled chemical peel.
    • No facial waxing for 7 days prior to treatment.
    • For those of you who are on an acne treatment regimen, you need to stop the use of stop the use of Renova, Differin, Tazorac, Avage, EpiDuo or Ziana five days prior to treatment.
    • If you are using Retinol products, stop the use of Retin-A (retinol) products or applications for 7-10 days prior to a chemical peel. High percentage alpha hydroxy (AHA) and beta hydroxy (BHA) products should be stopped five days before treatment.
    • Always apply a broad spectrum sunscreen daily (at least SPF 30 or higher) and avoid the gym 24 hours prior to a chemical peel.
    • Do not use aspirin or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (ex. Advil) for at least 7-10 days prior to a chemical peel.

    Post Chemical Peel

    Once you have undergone your chemical peel, expect to see some changes with your skin prior to getting your final results. Just as there are some instructions you should follow before your chemical peel there are instructions you should follow after your chemical peel to ensure the best possible results

    How to apply a chemical peel

    Did you know that the anti-aging cosmetics market is expected to reach $60.26 billion by 2026?

    Anti-aging products can only do so much to help you achieve the look you want. A more permanent and recommended option for combatting aging is a chemical peel.

    Chemical peels aren’t only for those concerned with anti-aging. These procedures can brighten and renew your skin in other ways.

    You might know what occurs when you get a chemical peel, but what do you know about aftercare? Keep reading to learn how to care for skin after a chemical peel.

    How to Care for Skin After a Chemical Peel

    After a professional chemical peel, you may feel like your skin is itching, tingling, burning, tight, or dry. You might also experience redness and start to peel or flake within a week.

    Knowing how to care for skin after a chemical peel can help reduce some of these sensations and visible side effects. Practice these tips to minimize your skin’s downtime:

    Wash Your Face With Cold Water

    If you need a way to soothe the post-chemical peel sensations, cold water will get the job done. Warm or hot water won’t feel as good on the face as cold water.

    Hydrate and Moisturize

    In the short term, a chemical peel can compromise the skin’s protective barrier. It is always important to hydrate and moisturize the skin in your normal skin care routine, but it is especially essential after a chemical peel.

    You can help reinforce the protective barrier by using a medium to thick moisturizer. Dehydrated skin can feel tight so make sure you are drinking enough water to have hydrated skin.

    Apply Sunscreen

    After a peel, your skin is more delicate when in the sun. Always avoid direct sun exposure that could lead to visible signs of skin aging.

    If you cannot avoid being exposed to the sun’s rays after a chemical peel, use a physical sunscreen that at least has an SPF30 rating.

    Avoid Strenuous Workouts

    The aftercare of a chemical peel includes avoiding strenuous workouts. On freshly peeled skin, an increase in blood circulation can cause uncomfortable side effects like tingling, warming, itching, and redness.

    On the day you get this facial, skip workouts, dry saunas, and steam rooms.

    Don’t Over-Exfoliate

    Caring for your skin is a science and over-exfoliating can cause adverse reactions. Chemical peels are considered maximum strength exfoliants which means you don’t need a separate exfoliant for a few days.

    Don’t use anything harsh on your skin like a brush or scrub 3-4 days after you get a chemical peel. Over-exfoliating can cause more sensitivity and redness.

    After you have clear skin that feels like it is back to normal, you can resume your regular routine.

    Should You Get a Chemical Peel?

    A chemical peel or facial can lead to beautiful skin perfect for a major event. Some prefer to get a chemical peel solely to look better for themselves.

    Whatever your reasoning behind wanting a chemical peel, understanding the aftercare techniques is essential to the look you want. To have beautiful skin, you’ll first have to endure some redness and other effects that can be minimized with proper care.

    To learn more about getting a chemical peel and tips on how to care for skin, contact us today to make an appointment.

    How to apply a chemical peel

    Want to have beautiful skin and save hundreds of dollars? Instead of going to your local dermatologist or med-spa for a glycolic acid peel, you can now do so right in the comfort of your home and at the fraction of the cost!

    But first, you should know how to apply it safely and effectively to get the flawless, beautiful skin that you want.

    At-home glycolic acid peels are not that different from professional chemical peels, and just like all other chemical peels, they have their risk s. To increase your chances of getting the desired results at a fraction of the price of a professional treatment, you first need to understand what to expect.

    Keep reading to learn more about chemical peels and know how to use them safely and effectively at home.

    What is a Chemical Peel?

    Chemical peels work by deeply penetrating the layers of the skin thus promoting more rapid skin cell turnover. Over time and with consistent continued use, the uppermost layers of the skin will slough off revealing newer, younger, fresher skin below.

    A common misperception about glycolic acid is that users will experience noticeable peeling within a day or two after use. This is often not the case as glycolic acid penetrates so deeply into the skin, the top layers are not immediately affected. Rather, the upper layers slough off over time.

    The result? Users have fewer fine lines and wrinkles, and those with acne noticed that their skin is much clearer and less oily.

    What is Glycolic Acid?

    The most popular alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) used in skincare products is glycolic acid and it is naturally derived from sugar cane. It has the smallest molecules out of all AHAs giving it significant exfoliating abilities that treat a lot of our skin concerns: hyperpigmentation, scars, sun damage, and skin aging.

    Aside from all that, it also has impressive antimicrobial properties that help prevent acne breakouts. Glycolic acid is the most commonly recognized chemical peel solution because it is beneficial to all skin types and can be used as a very superficial peel or even a medium depth peel.

    How to apply a chemical peel

    If you’re put off by the words “chemical peel”, we don’t blame you. It doesn’t sit particularly comfortably with most people, especially when you suggest they apply said peel to their face.

    It is and it isn’t what it says on the tin though. Forget shedding like a snake, and think more along the lines of the more familiar skincare acids – like glycolic, salicylic and mandelic – that have been knocking about in our beauty routines and helping us exfoliate our faces for years.

    A chemical peel is simply a souped up version of exfoliation and often calls upon one of the familiar skincare acids, but at a higher concentration. Designed to be used less frequently than an every day acid, a peel will lifts away the accumulated layers of dirt and grime that haven’t been caught by your everyday regime and polishes away the build-up of dead skin cells that block pores and cling to our skin, making it look dull. Really, it’s glowing skin, bottled.

    Whereas chemical peels used to be confined to dermatology clinics and specialist medi-spas, formulators have worked hard to create at-home equivalents that are as powerful as possible, whilst still safe in rookie hands so you don’t risk overdoing it.

    They come in a variety of strengths and can be incorporated into your skincare regime as and your skin needs it, without any down time or side effects. Plus, there’s a number of different types of peel available, each catering to a different skincare concern, from acne, to glow boosting, to pigmentation.

    Follow our ultimate guide and put your trust in a peel.

    What’s the deal with a peel?

    The ultimate do-over’s, they exfoliate while simultaneously getting to the core of all your skincare concerns safely and efficiently. In fact, they are often gentler than physical scrubs which can be abrasive, particularly if you suffer from skin sensitivity. With enhanced formulations, this new generation of products are constantly improving, taking away risk of stinging and allowing even the more sensitive-skinned to benefit.

    Regular exfoliation (ridding your face of the build-up of dead skin cells, stubborn grime and excess oil) is essential for a clear and radiant appearance, and peels go one step further than a scrub, cleanse or acid-based toner. They maintain healthy skin by boosting cell renewal while also maximising the benefits of your other skincare products. According to Fiona Brackenbury, Education Director for skin care brand Carita, “light chemical peels are often used to treat acne in teenagers, but for a resurfacing treatment to work on the signs of ageing, I would recommend that early 20s is a good time to start using a chemical peel”.

    Knowing your skincare acids is crucial to choosing the correct product for your skin type. Victoria Schofield, Education Executive at Dermalogica explains, “the difference between AHAs (Alpha Hydroxy Acids) and BHAs (Beta Hydroxy Acids) is the level of exfoliation. They have different chemical compositions and therefore work differently on your skin. AHAs (lactic or glycolic acid) increase cell turnover and renewal rates, stimulating a burst of exfoliation. BHAs (such as salicylic acid) are a larger molecule and work by removing dead skin cells. BHAs love oil (AHA’s are water loving) so it’s great for oily, acne prone skins and for unclogging pores”.

    How To Peel

    No need for gloves, goggles or an emergency fire-extinguisher here. Most acid solutions are simply applied to your face (and neck if the label advises) to freshly cleansed skin. This ensures that there’s no barrier of other creams or pollution for it to fight through. But do give yourself a good patting down post-cleanse, as water often neutralises the effects of the chemicals in the peel.

    Once applied, it’s important to adhere to whatever instructions are on the label. Some punchier peels need to be whipped off in 10 minutes and some are best slept in. Some want a good slathering of nourishing moisturiser slapped on after (to ensure that the outer layers of the skin are perfectly protected and comfortable) and some want to be left in peace, thank you very much.

    The best time to use a peel is at night when the skin is in regeneration mode while you sleep. Our skin is 3x more receptive at night, especially since it doesn’t have to protect itself from pollution, dirt and grime and can focus on recovering and renewing.

    Post-Peel pointers

    If you don’t already use an SPF in your morning routine (tut-tut), do it now. Your skin will be more photo-sensitive whilst being treated. Choose a sunscreen with at least SPF 30.

    Redness should last only a few minutes after your peel.

    According to skincare guru (aka The Skin Whisperer) Nataliya Robinson, “the only sensation which is OK is tingling. Other skin sensations (burning or itching) may indicate inflammation or that the skin has been damaged.” If you experience this, wash the product off your face immediately and apply a cool compress to calm the skin. Robinson suggests using products with hyaluronic acid for added moisture, and green tea or aloe vera for its soothing properties. “It’s essential not to use aggressive anti-ageing products post-treatment that can cause irritation.”

    Avoid using retinols or having facials too soon after, both of which can be too strong and can therefore irritate skin post-peel.

    Chemical peels that are applied appropriately to the correct patients generally make the skin appear more youthful, and give a more even complexion. These are just a few benefits of chemical peels. The peel itself consists of acidic chemicals that help to accelerate the exfoliation process of the skin. Here are the top benefits of having a chemical peel treatment.

    Makes Your Skin Work Better

    A chemical peel removes dead skin cells in minutes. When the top layer of skin that is dead is removed, it allows the living skin cells underneath to rise to the surface, creating a more youthful and radiant complexion. Not only does your skin look and work better, but it also makes your skin care products work better, because they aren’t being applied to dead and dry skin.

    Customization Options

    Another benefit of chemical peels is the wide array of custom options. Your chemical peel is customized based on your skin color, skin type, and severeness of skin problems. Your treatment provider will address your areas of concern, and customly blend a formula that works best on your skin color and skin type. Everyone’s skin is different, so it only makes sense that your cosmetic treatment is custom to fit you.

    End Acne & Soften Scars

    Some chemical peels are specifically tailored to help with acne and the scars that come with it. The peel penetrates deep into the skin to unclog pores and get rid of blackheads, pimple marks and acne scarring. Chemical peels have been noted as an alternative to laser treatment, and can work for most skin types. More severe scars may require different methods of treatment.

    Controls Melasma

    Dark patches on the skin that are triggered by sun and hormonal changes don’t have a permanent treatment. However, chemical peels have been proven to offer promising results. Laser treatment is a short-term option that can add up quickly.

    No More Concealer

    While you may not be able to throw out your undereye concealer for good, chemical peels have been proven to reduce dark circles around the eyes. While having an acidic solution applied around your eyes might make you hesitant, if you suffer from deep and dark circles below your eyes, chemical peels might be able to help.

    A Beginner’s Guide to Acids and Chemical Peels

    How to apply a chemical peelDisclaimer: Please consult a dermatologist or an esthetician before using chemical peels. I am NOT liable for any injuries as a result of improper use. You are solely responsible for any damage that may occur from improper use of acids.

    Hi there! You’re new to chemical peels, aren’t you? Don’t be scared. Relax. Take a breath. They’re not as risky as they sound…if you do them right. This post will cover the various types of acids, what they do, how to use them, where to buy, and the pre and post care which is incredibly important to achieving the results your skin deserves.

    If you aren’t caught up on what *exactly* I mean by acids, I would highly recommend you read my post about the importance of pH in skin care. It’s important to know the pH of peels because the lower the pH, the deeper and faster a peel will penetrate into your skin, which can result in burns if you have sensitive skin.

    What are the Most Common Types of Acids?


    Which Acid Should I Use?

    The kind of acid you should use depends on the skin condition you are trying to treat. All acids are not made equally. Some are harsher than others and will cause visible peeling while others only cause light flaking. The percentage of the peel and the sensitivity of your skin determine whether you will experience any flaking or peeling. Even in more gentle peels, if you use a very high percentage and do not have experience with acids, your skin will likely burn and peel. But, this isn’t the kind of peeling we want.

    Lactic Acid:

    • Great peel for beginners because it has a larger molecule size making it less irritating
    • Treats hyperpigmentation
    • Penetrates epidermis only
    • Works on all skin types meaning that it also hydrates the skin, making it suitable for dry skin and eczema

    Salicylic Acid:

    • Lipophilic (oil soluble)
    • Best for oily and acneic skin types; reduces oiliness and breakouts over time
    • Deeply cleans pores and gets rid of blackheads
    • Penetrates epidermis
    • Softens texture of the skin

    Mandelic Acid:

    • Works best for sensitive skin types and darker complexions
    • Treats acne, helps reduce the appearance of pores, sun damage, wrinkles and fine lines
    • Slowly and slightly penetrates the epidermis
    • Loosens blackheads

    Glycolic Acid:

    • Best for oily, combination, and normal skin types
    • Treats acne, acne scars, oiliness, dullness, and texture
    • Deeply penetrates the skin
    • Absolute LAST resort
    • Extremely invasive and irritating; can easily cause burns and make hyperpigmentation worse
    • Treats deep skin conditions such as wrinkles, scars, and cystic acne
    • Do not use at home

    How to Safely Use Chemical Peels at Home

    • ***Always perform a patch test on hand prior to applying on face***
    • Cleanse skin and pat it dry
    • Soak a cotton pad with solution and apply to less sensitive areas first
    • Do not rub onto skin, apply a single layer in one motion
    • Let acid sit on skin for no more than 5 minutes or until excessive burning sensation begins to occur
    • When burning sensation occurs, FULLY rinse off with warm water and mild soap to neutralize acid (water and soap have higher pH’s which neutralizes acids). Repeat as necessary to ensure all acid is off.
    • Pat skin dry
    • Moisturize intensely
    • If daytime, apply sunscreen immediately
    • If nighttime, apply Cerave Healing Ointment

    Pre and Post Peel Precautions

    • USE SUNSCREEN DAILY (Reapply every 2 hours)
    • Do not use manual exfoliants 1-2 days before or after using a chemical peel (or, ever. I’ll explain why in another post!)
    • Do not pick on flaking or peeling skin
    • Moisturize intensely after a peel
    • Neutralize acids if immediately if excessive burning occurs (acids can be neutralized with water, make sure they are completely off of your skin.
    • If a burn occurs, do not pick at it and completely discontinue use of peel until the burn is healed. Use the Cerave Healing Ointment for quicker recovery.
    • Discontinue retinol, benzoyl peroxide, and/or any other acid products at least 3 days prior to chemical peel as using them with peel can lead to further irritation

    Incorporate acids into your routine:

    Where To Buy

    I hope this post calmed your fears about using chemical peels on your face! If it did, comment below and let me know what peel(s) you will be looking into for your skin!

    Bumps on the skin are usually harmless, even if they can be cosmetically undesirable. But sometimes, a bump could be an actinic keratosis. This is a scaly, crusty bump that features rough, dry skin. An actinic keratosis can be very small or more than an inch across. Although these abnormalities aren’t painful, they can turn into skin cancer if they aren’t treated. One of the treatment options your dermatologist can recommend is a chemical peel.

    Treatment Planning

    Before deciding whether a chemical peel is the best option for you, you’ll have a consult with the dermatologist. First, the doctor will verify the diagnosis. A visual exam can usually confirm the presence of actinic keratoses, but you may also have a skin biopsy.

    Chemical Peel Application

    Chemical peels are a noninvasive way to aggressively exfoliate the skin cells that comprise the actinic keratoses. After confirming that you’re a good candidate for a chemical peel, your doctor will apply a thin layer of the solution to the lesions. Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) is often the chemical of choice for treating these bumps. The TCA solution is left on the lesion for about 10 to 15 minutes. Then, the doctor may apply a chemical neutralizing solution before cleansing the area.

    Chemical Peel Recovery

    It’s common for chemical peels to cause burning and stinging. This is temporary. You can relieve the discomfort by holding a handheld fan close to the skin to cool it, or by applying a cold compress. The dermatologist will give you instructions for caring for the treated area. You might be asked to apply petroleum jelly or antibiotic ointment. During the following week, the treated area will begin to shed flaking skin.

    Skin Protection

    Patients who have just received chemical peels are advised to avoid all unnecessary sun exposure while the skin heals, and to apply sunscreen every two hours when outside the home. Since your chemical peel was to treat a precancerous lesion, protection from the cancer-causing sun is especially important.

    You can schedule a checkup right away at Arlington Dermatology if you think you might have detected a precancerous or cancerous lesion. We offer a range of options for actinic keratosis and skin cancer treatment in Arlington Heights. Call us today at 847-392-5440.

    How to apply a chemical peel

    If you’re curious about chemical peels but aren’t excited about the whole going-out-in-public-with-a-scorched-face thing, a chemical peel at home might be up your alley. And, hey, you’re probably home with some time on your hands now anyway, so it might be a good time for some at-home skin-care experimentation.

    The purpose of a chemical peel is to slough off dead, dull, and dry skin cells on the top layer to reveal smoother, brighter, and more refreshed cells underneath, Brendan Camp, M.D., a Manhattan-based dermatologist at MDCS Dermatology, tells SELF. They can be effective at treating a myriad of skin concerns including mild sun damage, fine lines, blackheads and whiteheads, excessive oil, and an overall rough skin texture.

    While you can certainly have this kind of a treatment done at your dermatologist’s office or by an esthetician, for many people, milder at-home peels can provide many of the same benefits. They use many of the same ingredients as professional peels, just at lower concentrations that are less likely to cause serious irritation.

    The active ingredients in most peels are alpha or beta hydroxy acids, namely glycolic and lactic acid, which are chemical exfoliants. Lactic acid molecules are larger than glycolic acid molecules, “which means [lactic acid] does not penetrate the skin as deeply and may be a suitable option for people with more sensitive skin,” Dr. Camp says. Other alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) that are commonly used in at-home peels include citric, malic, mandelic, and tartaric acids.

    Who can benefit from doing a chemical peel at home?

    Almost anyone is a candidate for some type of at-home peel, and there are brands that cater to different skin types. Each peel’s active ingredients and the concentrations of those ingredients determine what the peel is best suited to treat.

    Those with ultrasensitive skin (including those with eczema, psoriasis, or rosacea), however, or those actively using a retinol in their daytime and/or nighttime regimen should proceed with caution. “Retinoids can make skin more fragile and susceptible to side effects like pain, stinging, burning, redness, excessive dryness, and peeling, which are features of irritant contact dermatitis,” Dr. Camp says. That doesn’t mean you can’t ever use a peel, but it does mean that it’s probably best to check in with a dermatologist before using something on your skin.

    Additionally, people who are pregnant or breastfeeding should avoid certain skin-care ingredients such as salicylic acid, hydroquinone, and retinol. Glycolic acid, lactic acid, and mandelic acid in the low concentrations available in over-the-counter skin-care products should be okay. If you’re not sure, definitely check in with your doctor.

    How can you safely do a chemical peel at home?

    At-home peels can be used as often as daily to monthly, depending on the strength of the peel and your skin’s response. When using a product for the first time, however, it’s best to start using a new peel just once a week (at the most) to see how your skin reacts.

    When doing a chemical peel at home, always start with clean skin, and if your peel comes with a pre-peel solution, use it! “Pre-peel solutions that come with some at-home peel kits remove excess oils from the skin and are applied after washing your skin,” Blair Murphy-Rose, M.D., a Manhattan-based dermatologist at MDCS Dermatology, tells SELF. “Follow directions on the peel, and pay attention to the recommended duration of time to leave the peel on your skin.”

    These ingredients are serious business and can cause irritation if left on for too long, so you’ll probably want to use a timer to make sure you only leave on for the intended amount of time.

    And, remember, if the peel is working, you will feel something: If you feel a mild stinging or tingling sensation, that’s normal. But if your skin feels any more uncomfortable than that, it may be a good idea to stop your peel early, especially if your skin is prone to irritation.

    After your peel, “always apply a light moisturizer,” Dr. Murphy-Rose says. And use sun protection if you’ll be outside or near a window, she says.

    If you’re not satisfied with the results of your at-home peel, you may benefit more from an in-office peel, which can penetrate into the deeper layers of the skin. “Deep peels usually contain a chemical called phenol, which penetrates to the dermis to correct wrinkles, discoloration, and scars,” Dr. Camp says. Check in with a board-certified dermatologist to learn more about which procedures might be right for you.

    Ready to give an at-home peel regimen a try? Read on for some dermatologist-approved peels that work for most skin types.

    All products featured on SELF are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

    Author: Hon A/Prof Amanda Oakley, Dermatologist, Hamilton, New Zealand, 1998. Updated by Dr Ebtisam Elghblawi, Dermatologist, Tripoli, Libya. DermNet NZ Editor in Chief: A/Prof Amanda Oakley, Dermatologist, Hamilton, New Zealand. October 2018.

    What is a chemical peel?

    A chemical peel refers to the application of one or more chemicals to the skin which ‘burn’ off damaged cells, resurfacing the skin.

    The three principal types of chemical peels are alpha-hydroxy acid peels, trichloroacetic acid peels, and the phenol-croton oil peel.

    Trichloracetic acid peel

    How to apply a chemical peel

    How to apply a chemical peel

    How to apply a chemical peel

    How does a peel work?

    A peel removes several layers of sun-damaged skin cells, leaving fresh skin which has a more even surface and colour. It may stimulate new collagen to be formed improving the skin texture. Peels may result in superficial, moderate depth or deep skin injury.

    What are the indications for a peel?

    Chemical peels are most often used on the face, but they are sometimes applied to other sites such as the hands.

    A peel may be used to treat damage caused by exposure to the sun ( photoageing ) including actinic keratoses , to remove pigmentation such as freckles and melasma, to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, and to improve acne.

    They are most often used in patients with fair skin, Fitzpatrick skin types I to III.

    Peels can be repeated as necessary; some people have superficial peels every few weeks. It is wise to wait for 3 to 6 months before repeating a moderate depth peel.

    What are the contraindications to a chemical peel?

    Patients with Fitzpatrick skin types IV to VI have increased risk of dyspigmentation , hypertrophic , and keloid scarring and chemical peels must be performed cautiously with full patient informed consent.

    Types of chemical peel

    Superficial peel

    Superficial peels use glycolic acid, salicylic acid and Jessner solution and are well tolerated — the ‘lunchtime’ peel. They remove thin lesions on the skin surface, reducing pigment and surface dryness. The result of the first peel may be disappointing, but after repeated peels, significant improvement is usually evident. A nurse or aesthetician (beauty therapist) may perform superficial peels.

    Medium depth peel

    Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) is the most common chemical used for a medium depth peel. The results depend on its concentration, usually 20–35%. The treatment is painful and treated areas are swollen, red and crusted for the next week or so. It can lead to an impressive improvement in skin texture with a reduction in blotchy pigmentation, freckling and actinic keratoses (dry sunspots). Although fine wrinkles and some acne scars are less obvious, the TCA peel has no effect on deep furrows. A dermatologist or plastic surgeon usually performs moderate to deeper peels.

    Deep peel

    Phenol results in deep skin injury. It is rarely used for facial peels nowadays because of the risk of scarring and because of its toxicity . Absorption of phenol through the skin results in potentially fatal heart rhythm disturbances and nerve damage. However, it is very effective at improving both surface wrinkles and deep furrows. After a phenol peel, the treated skin is pale and smooth but it may be waxy and ‘mask-like’.

    Before the peel

    A chemical peel is a four-step procedure:

    1. Pre-peel preparation
    2. Peeling procedure
    3. Recovery phase
    4. Maintenance phase.

    The performance of a peel requires a thorough knowledge of aesthetics including any medical or surgical treatment for skin ageing.

    Determine whether the peel is required for a focal lesion or for the entire face. Undertake a pre-peel classification.

      : lighter peels are undertaken in darker skin because of the risk of postinflammatory pigmentation
    • Previous experience of skin peels
    • A tendency for the skin to develop increased and/or loss of pigmentation at the sites of skin injury

    Pre-treatment creams are applied to the face at night for several weeks prior to the peel. By exfoliating the skin and reducing pigmentation themselves, they improve the results seen from chemical peeling. They may also reduce the time needed for healing. The creams usually include one or more of the following:

    Broad-spectrum SPF 50+ sunscreen should be used during the day.

    The peel procedure

    Superficial chemical peels are a minor procedure and no special arrangements are needed. But you may need painkillers, sedation, local anaesthetic or even a general anaesthetic for deeper peels.

    First, the face is thoroughly washed to remove surface oil. The peeling agent is then applied for several minutes. It stings – how badly and for how long depends on the chemical, its concentration, whether you’ve had pre-treatment with aspirin, and individual factors. A fan can help. The peel is then neutralised, and the burning sensation lessens.

    Individual treatments may include peels with several agents on the same occasion, with the aim of improving results and reducing risks.

    Antibiotics and oral antiviral agents may be recommended after deeper peels.

    What happens after the peel?

    Superficial peels result in mild facial redness and occasional swelling which usually resolve within 48 hours. The peeling is similar to a sunburn. Most people can continue their normal activities. Make-up can be applied a few hours after the procedure.

    Moderate depth peels result in intense inflammation and swelling, which resolve within a week. The peeling is more marked. Mild redness can persist for several weeks. Most people take a week off from work after a moderate depth peel.

    Looking after the skin after the peel

    • Keep treated areas cool (use a water spray ).
    • Do not pick! Picking delays healing and causes scarring
    • Moisturise – use light preparations after a superficial peel, thicker moisturisers after a deeper peel
    • Protect from the sun – especially for the first 6 months
    • If advised to do so, continue to use tretinoin, glycolic acid and/or hydroquinone at night long-term

    Complications of chemical peels

    Complications are uncommon if the health professional performing the peel is properly trained and experienced.

    The light-strength version of a chemical Peel is best for those with sensitive skin types or new users who are looking to achieve results with minimal to no downtime. Light chemical peels are great to address the following skin care concerns:

    • Fine lines
    • Mild scarring
    • Excess oil production
    • Acne symptoms
    • Mild hyperpigmentation

    How often you apply a light chemical peel depends on your skin type and the severity of the skincare concerns you are trying to address. However, for most, the best results are achieved when scheduling light chemical peels every 2 weeks for a series of 6-8 treatments.

    Looking for a good light chemical peel, we recommend giving Medpeel Light Strength Chemical Peels a try!

    Medium Chemical Peel

    Medium-strength chemical peels are recommended for experienced peelers and new users with non-sensitive skin types who are looking for mild to moderate downtime (TCA 20% and Salicylic 20% chemical peels are not recommended for new users).

    Downtime on medium strength chemical peels varies depending on acid type. The medium strength peels penetrate a bit deeper to help address the following skincare concerns:

    • Clear pores
    • Minimize fine lines & wrinkles
    • Help prevent acne & breakouts
    • Reduce sun damage

    How often you apply a medium chemical peel depends on your skin type and severity of the skincare concerns you are trying to address. However, as a general rule, it’s recommended that you repeat every 2-4 weeks, depending on the acid of choice, for a series of 5-7 treatments.

    Looking for a great medium strength chemical peel? We recommend giving Medpeel Medium Strength Chemical Peels a try!

    Deep Chemical Peel

    Deep strength chemical peels consist of the highest acid percentage in a given category. While these are the strongest in their category, it is important to note that each acid category penetrates the skin on different levels.

    Deep chemical peels are designed to aggressively treat moderate skin concerns:

    • Acne scarring
    • Deep wrinkles and lines
    • Significant hyperpigmentation
    • Skin sagging

    How often you apply a deep chemical peel depends on your skin type and severity of the skincare concerns you are trying to address. However, with the exception of the Glycolic 70% and Vitamin C 70%, deep chemical peels can be repeated every 2 weeks for a series of 4-6 treatments.

    Looking for a great deep chemical peel? We recommend giving Medpeel Deep Strength Chemical Peels a try!

    Ready to incorporate the benefits of chemical peels into your skincare routine? Give Medpeel Chemical Peels a try today!

    This Chemical Peel Diploma is ideal for beauty therapists looking to expand their skills and develop their business.

    • With this Chemical Peel Diploma, you’ll learn how to apply this specialist skin treatment and help you to generate return business.
    • After successfully completing this course, you will be able to obtain professional insurance from Towergate.
    • This course is accredited by the International Guild of Complementary Therapists.
    • Study online from the comfort your own home.
    • Submit your assessments online.

    Save £3495 when you buy this course as a package

    Course overview

    This Chemical Peel Diploma is ideal for beauty therapists looking to expand their repertoire and offer a service that will keep their clients coming back every four to six weeks.

    During this course, you’ll learn how to perform chemical peel treatments that exfoliate your client’s skin using a chemical solution to remove dead skin cells, revealing rejuvenated, younger-looking skin. And with a recommended period of four to six weeks between sessions, clients will return to you regularly for further treatments.

    Once you have successfully completed your course, you will be able to obtain professional insurance from Towergate, allowing you to offer this treatment to your clients.

    Why offer chemical peel treatments?

    A chemical peel uses a chemical solution to exfoliate and remove dead skin cells from the top layer of skin to reveal fresh, healthy skin underneath. Benefits of chemical peel treatments include:

    • Improved clarity, colour, tone, and texture of the skin.
    • New collagen and healthy skin cell growth is stimulated by the treatment to reveal a radiant complexion.
    • Discolouration caused by skin damage, fine lines and wrinkles are all reduced.
    • Hydration is increased and visible imperfections, and scars are minimised.

    On successful completion, you will receive your Chemical Peel Diploma.

    There are no requirements to study this course.

    Multiple-choice quizzes and an online portfolio.

    Course content

    Module 1 Foundation

    • Personal standards and practice
    • Hygiene
    • Effective communication with clients
    • Business promotion
    • Preparation of the work area
    • Health and safety legislation
    • Insurance
    • Being effective at work
    • Promoting products and services
    • Retail specific legislation
    • Reception duties
    • Taking payments and methods

    Module 2 Skin healthcare

    • Hair structure and removal
    • Cells and tissues
    • The skin
    • The skeletal system
    • The muscular system
    • Blood and the heart
    • The lymphatic system
    • The systems
    • Anatomy of the eye

    Module 4 Chemical peel

    • The ageing process
    • About chemical peels
    • Chemical peel products
    • Recap

    Extra info

    Course duration

    Once enrolled, you can start studying at any time. You will also have as much time as you need to complete the course.

    Study method

    You will study this course by distance learning, which will enable you to learn when and where you want. You can study from home or at work, it is completely up to you. All your materials will be sent online, so receiving your materials is easy. You will also receive personal tutor support by email, so help is only ever a click away. You will submit your assignments online.

    Course outcome

    Upon successful completion of the course, your Chemical Peel Diploma certificate will be available for download via the portal and stored for you. You will have lifetime access to the portal so you can return at any time to refresh your memory using the tutorials and eBooks.

    This course is accredited by the International Guild of Complementary Therapists.

    Important information – as this is an advanced beauty course, please check with your designated insurer prior to purchasing the course. Your insurer may have pre-requisites or other requirements regarding gaining insurance.


    With each unit, you will have an online video to watch. After you have watched the video, there will be a multiple-choice quiz for you to complete. Once you have completed the questions and achieved the pass mark, the next unit will become available for you to study.

    You can take the multiple-choice questions as many times as you need and support from your tutor is available.

    You will also be required to upload evidence of your work in the form of an online workbook. This will involve uploading images of your work before and after which will be reviewed by your tutor. Your tutor will then give you detailed feedback and include areas you can improve on to pass the course.

    What next?

    After successfully completing this course, you will be able to obtain professional insurance from Towergate, allowing you to provide chemical peel treatments for your clients.

    Revitalize your skin and keep your complexion glowing and gorgeous with the immediate and long-term benefits of chemical peels at OVME.

    Improve Tone, Texture, & Clarity

    Skin is the human body’s most dynamic organ — it’s constantly changing, renewing, and regenerating. Chemical peels simply boost that natural process by speeding up cell turnover and removing the dull, dry top layers to reveal brighter, healthier skin underneath.

    If you’re concerned about fine lines, wrinkles, texture, and hyperpigmentation, a chemical peel just might be your ideal option. OVME’s experts will help you determine which level or peel intensity is right for your skin and make the process as smooth as your complexion will be post-treatment!

    Benefits of Chemical Peels at OVME Studios

    Choose from 3 Levels of Peels:
    Level 1 peels are ideal for mild skin concerns and require zero downtime! Levels 2 and 3 are recommended for moderate to severe skin concerns and require minimal downtime.

    Get Exclusive Member Perks:
    Elite OVME members get a complimentary* monthly Level 1 Illuminize Peel. To learn more, view our membership pricing below.
    *Elite membership includes a monthly complimentary peel or facial, but not both.

    Experience Superior Service:
    Our team is well-versed in chemical peel treatments and will always ensure you are comfortable and at ease while delivering the best results possible.

    Skin Tone & Texture
    Visible Signs of Aging
    Hyperpigmentation & Scarring

    To help you decide whether this treatment is right for you, you should read the following facts.


    The results you see after getting a chemical peel depend largely on the skill of the person performing the peel. To protect your health and get the results you seek, you should see a dermatologist or dermatologic surgeon. These doctors have in-depth knowledge of the skin.

    What happens during a chemical peel?

    Before getting a chemical peel, some patients need to follow a pre-peel skin care plan for 2 to 4 weeks. This plan can improve results and reduce potential side effects. Your dermatologist will tell you whether this is necessary.

    On the day of your peel, you will first be prepped for the treatment. This includes cleansing your skin thoroughly. If you will have a deep peel, you will receive general anesthesia, which will put you to sleep. A deep peel must be performed in a surgical setting.

    After you are prepped, your dermatologist will apply the peel quickly and evenly. Your dermatologist will watch your skin carefully to remove the peel at just the right time. With a deep peel, the skin is treated one small section at a time. This limits the effects on the heart and lungs.

    After the peel comes off, your skin will be treated as needed. Patients who get a medium peel may need cool compresses followed by a lotion or cream to soothe their skin. If you have a deep peel, you will have a wound that requires a surgical dressing.

    What must I do after getting a chemical peel?

    All peels that a dermatologist performs require some at-home care. The following table shows you what you can expect.

    What to expect after a chemical peel

    Refreshing or lunchtime peel

    Healing time: 1 to 7 days. Skin will be red. After the redness disappears, scaling may develop, which lasts 3 to 7 days.

    At-home care: Lotion or cream applied until the skin heals, followed by daily use of sunscreen.

    When to wear makeup: Usually immediately after the peel, but sometimes the next day.

    Follow-up visit: No. However, 3 to 5 peels may be necessary to give you the desired results. These peels may be repeated every 2 to 5 weeks.

    Medium peel

    Healing time: 7 to 14 days. Skin will be red and swollen. Swelling worsens for 48 hours. Eyelids may swell. Blisters can form and break open. Skin crusts and peels off in 7 to 14 days.

    At-home care: Daily soaks for a specified period. Apply ointment after each soak. Take an antiviral medication for 10 to 14 days. Apply lotion or cream. Total avoidance of the sun until skin heals.

    When to wear makeup: After 5 to 7 days, you can wear camouflaging makeup.

    Follow-up visit: Yes. Follow-up visit required after the procedure.

    Deep peel

    Healing time: 14 to 21 days. Area will be bandaged.

    At-home care: 4 to 6 daily soaks while healing. For 14 days, apply ointment after each soak. After 14 days, apply thick moisturizer as directed. Take an antiviral medication for 10 to 14 days. Total sun avoidance for 3 to 6 months.

    When to wear makeup: At least 14 days before you can apply makeup.

    Follow-up visit: Yes. The next day, the dermatologist will want to see you. Several follow-up visits are required during the first week.

    To help their patients get the best results, dermatologists also share these tips:

    Use the moisturizer as directed to keep your skin moist and supple. If your skin dries and cracks, it can scar.

    If your skin burns, itches, or swells, contact your dermatologist. Rubbing or scratching skin treated with a chemical peel can cause an infection.

    Do not use a tanning bed or other type of indoor tanning. Your skin will not heal properly.

    After your skin heals, apply sunscreen every day. This will help you maintain results.

    Is there downtime?

    After a medium or deep peel, you will have downtime. A deep chemical peel requires recuperation at home for 2 to 3 weeks.

    When will I see the results?

    Once your skin heals, you will see the results. Healing time ranges from 1 day for a refreshing or lunchtime peel to 14 days or longer for a deep peel. To get the results you seek from a refreshing peel or lunchtime peel, you may need to have 3 to 5 peels.

    How long will the results last?

    Most results are not permanent because our skin continues to age. If you have lots of sun-damaged skin or precancerous skin growths called AKs, you will likely continue to see new spots and growths on your skin.

    What are the possible side effects?

    In the hands of a doctor who has experience with chemical peels, side effects tend to be mild. Some patients develop:

    Persistent redness that may last for months.

    Temporary darkening of the skin.

    Lighter skin color (medium and deep peels).

    Scarring (very rare when peel performed by a dermatologist).

    If serious side effects occur, it is often because the patient did not follow the dermatologist’s instructions. Your risk for developing an infection or scarring increase dramatically if you:

    Fail to protect your skin from the sun.

    Fail to care for your wound as instructed.

    Scratch the treated skin or pick off a scab.

    Apply makeup before your skin heals.

    Don’t heed your dermatologist’s advice and use a tanning bed or other type of indoor tanning.

    When is it safe to have another chemical peel?

    To maintain results, you can repeat mild and medium chemical peels. Your dermatologist can tell you how often you can have a repeat treatment. A person can have only one deep peel.

    What is the safety record for chemical peels?

    Dermatologists have been performing chemical peels for more than 50 years, with an excellent safety record.

    Even people who have skin of color can safely have a chemical peel — but they should see a dermatologist who has expertise using chemical peels to treat darker skin tones. Without this knowledge, people who have skin of color (i.e., African American, Asian, Latino) can develop permanent pigment problems.

    Related AAD resources

    Reproduction or republication strictly prohibited
    without prior written permission.

    A chemical peel is when your dermatologist applies an acid to your skin, causing the top layer to come off. Often, this procedure is done for cosmetic reasons. 1 Chemical peeling can also be done to remove actinic keratoses. Chemical peeling works as well as fluorouracil for treating actinic keratosis and can be done in a single-treatment. 2,3

    How is chemical peeling performed?

    Chemical peels are classified by how deep into the skin they go: 1

    • Superficial peel: removes top layer only
    • Medium peel: penetrates the top and middle layer of skin
    • Deep peel: penetrates deep into the middle layer of skin

    Preparation and recovery are very different depending on the depth of the peel. To remove actinic keratosis, a medium peel is typically needed. 1,4

    Medium peel is an office-based procedure. It should be performed by a dermatologist. The acids used for medium peels include trichloroacetic acid, Jessner’s solution, or glycolic acid. 1,4 These chemicals may be used alone or in combination. 5 You may be given a mild sedative and anti-inflammatory medications to take before the procedure. 5 After the skin is thoroughly cleaned and dried, the chemical solution is brushed onto your skin. 6 It is left in place for a few minutes and then removed. 7 Your skin will be treated with a cool compress and lotion. 7 You will be instructed on how to care for your skin during the recovery period. You should follow your doctor’s instructions and talk to your doctor if you have any questions.

    For what types of lesions is chemical peeling used?

    Chemical peeling is an option for treating actinic keratosis. Actinic keratosis is a precancer, which forms when cells in the epidermis begin to grow abnormally. Up to 10% of actinic keratoses become squamous cell carcinoma. 8 For this reason, your doctor might recommend treating actinic keratosis.

    Chemical peels also are done for cosmetic reasons, including:

    • Reducing lines and wrinkles
    • Even skin color
    • Brighter complexion
    • Smoother skin
    • Removing age spots

    Who should not have a chemical peel?

    Chemical peels are not for everyone. You may not be a candidate if: 6

    • You have a history of abnormal scarring or changes in skin color (pigmentation).
    • You used certain acne treatments within the past year.
    • You have facial warts.

    Chemical peels can cause permanent pigment problems. Therefore, people with dark skin tones should see a dermatologist with experience performing chemical peel on darker skin. 7

    What should I expect before, during, and after the procedure?

    If you are considering a chemical peel, you will need to meet with your doctor to decide whether you are a good candidate for this procedure. Ask how the risks and benefits of chemical peel compares with other treatments for actinic keratosis. Discuss the type of peel that you would need to remove the actinic keratoses. Preparation and recovery are very different, depending on the depth of the peel.

    Recovery from a medium peel typically takes 7 to 14 days. 7 Your skin will be red and swollen. It may blister. You will need to soak your skin and apply ointment regularly. You must avoid the sun while your skin recovers. 7 Chemical peeling may reactivate the herpes simplex virus, causing cold sores to return. If you have a history of cold sores, your doctor may give you an antiviral medication to take before the procedure. 7

    Are chemical peels safe?

    Your skin will be red after the procedure. Redness can last for up to a month after a medium peel. 5 Chemical peel can cause changes in skin coloration. 7 Your skin may darken or lighten. These changes may be temporary or permanent. 6

    Scarring is rare when an experienced dermatologist performs the procedure. 7 Other possible risks include: 5

    • Infection
    • Delayed healing
    • Reactivation of the herpes simplex virus, causing cold sores to return

    Your doctor will instruct you on how to care for your skin to avoid scarring or infection.

    Chemical peels are a cosmetic skin treatment. They are a staple of professional skin care and are used to treat a variety of skin conditions.

    The best way to learn the ins and outs of how chemical peels work and how to perform one is by studying at an elite esthetician training program. But for now, here’s a brief overview of chemical peeling: what it is, what the benefits are, and who can receive one.

    What Is a Chemical Peel?

    A chemical peel is an exfoliation technique in which an acid-based solution is applied to the skin. It is usually performed on the face, hands or neck. The acid in the chemical peel forces the top layer of skin to peel off. In the short term, this causes redness and blistering. This is intentional.

    A weak vinegar solution or unscented emollient may be used to speed up the skin’s healing process. But mostly, the skin is left to heal on its own. One to two weeks later, the client has new, smoother skin.

    Chemical peels target the top layer of the skin, the epidermis. More intense chemical treatments may target the layer of skin just beneath, the dermis, as well.

    Your epidermis skin cells naturally die and are replaced by cells from the dermis beneath. Because the epidermis cells are the outermost cells, they are the most damaged by the sun, wrinkles and other factors. Chemical peels speed up your skin’s natural process by gently removing dead epidermis cells.

    What Are the Benefits of a Chemical Peel?

    Chemical peels can benefit any client who wants fresher, younger-looking skin. Clients with fine lines, enlarged pores, scars, hyperpigmentation, and sun damage may be especially pleased with the results. Clients experiencing acne and rosacea may often find their conditions improved by a chemical peel too.

    What Are the Types of Chemical Peels?

    In order to choose the best chemical peel for your client, you must determine their type and shade of skin. The Fitzpatrick Scale categorizes skin by color and light sensitivity. It is used in many medical offices to determine a client’s best course of treatment. As an esthetician, you can decide whether the Fitzpatrick Scale is relevant for your clients. The skin condition your client wants to treat will also determine the type of chemical peel they receive.

    There are three levels of chemical peels: superficial peels, medium-depth peels, and deep peels. Keep in mind that a superficial peel to one client may be a medium-depth peel to another.

    Superficial peels often use alpha- or beta-hydroxy acids. They are intended for clients looking to treat minor skin conditions such as slight discoloration. Beta-hydroxy acids can be beneficial for clients with slightly more prevalent skin conditions, like acne or enlarged pores.

    Superficial peels have minimal downtime, one to seven days. However, clients are recommended to wear sunscreen for extra protection during this period. They should also refrain from wearing makeup and sweat-producing activities like exercise or saunas for at least the first few days.

    Medium-depth peels are conducted with trichloroacetic acid. More severe skin conditions like fine lines or more extreme acne can benefit from these types of treatments. Medium-depth peels require 10 to 14 days of downtime. In addition to the aftercare recommended for superficial peels, clients who have received medium-depth peels should limit sun exposure.

    Deep peels are recommended only for the most severe skin conditions: severe sun damage, deep wrinkles and hyperpigmentation. These treatments require intense aftercare. This can include up to three weeks of downtime, antiviral medication, and washing the treated area four to six times a day. Clients who have received deep peels must avoid direct sunlight for up to six months.

    Chemical peels have many potential benefits for clients. But an esthetician must know how to do such treatments properly. Esthetician schools and training programs can provide you the tools and learning to give your clients great chemical peels.

    To prepare your skin for resurfacing, Dr. Batniji may start you on a bleaching cream and a retinol or retinoic acid. Use these products nightly. Stop them 1 week before your procedure. It is important you use a high quality sunscreen while using these products.

    • 1 week prior to your procedure:
      • Avoid excessive sun exposure or tanning.
      • Discontinue the use of facial exfoliants (scrubs, washes, and other treatments such as microdermabrasion that remove the outermost layer of skin).
      • Discontinue the use of products containing topical retinoids/retinoic acids, including Retin-A, Avage, Differin, Ultra A, Tazorac, and Renova.

      Review the prescriptions provided by Dr. Batniji. You will be asked to start anti-viral and antibiotic medications prior to your procedure.

      • On the day of your treatment:
        • Do not wear contact lenses.
        • Do not wear make-up or use any other facial products, such as a moisturizer. Do not use mascara.
        • Wash your face with a gentle cleanser like Cetaphil prior to arrival for your procedure.
        • If your procedure is performed in the office, please bring a headband with you to the office. This will be used to hold your hair away from the laser treatment areas.
        • You may wish to arrange for a driver to bring you to the office and take you home after the procedure.
        • Once you arrive to the office for your procedure, Dr. Batniji may take pre-treatment photographs. Then, a topical anesthetic cream will be applied for approximately 60 minutes prior to the procedure to numb the treatment areas.
        • After the procedure, a layer of either Alba Un-Petroleum Jelly or Aquaphor will be applied to the treated areas.
        • Your treated skin must be covered with either Alba Un-Petroleum Jelly or Aquaphor continuously for the first 24 hours after treatment. Please do not remove for the first 24 hours.
        • After the first 24 hours, please wash the treated areas with a gentle cleanser like Cetaphil to gently remove the Aquaphor or Alba Un-Petroleum Jelly. Always wash your hands thoroughly using antibacterial soap before touching the treated skin.
        • Wash your face 3-6 times a day after the first 24 hours.
        • Following cleansing, you may want to use a white vinegar solution to ease any discomfort, such as itching.
          • Mix a solution of 1 teaspoon white vinegar with 1 cup cold water.
          • Gently dab the mixture onto the treated areas using a clean washcloth or gauze.
          • Following the white vinegar solution treatment, the area should be gently rinsed with water and dried with a clean washcloth.
          • You may perform this white vinegar solution treatment 3 times a day.
          • For itching, consider using Benadryl.

          Contact Dr. Batniji and staff if you begin to experience any of the following:

          • Cold sores/Fever blisters

          Signs of infection, such as increased itching, pain, swelling, pus, or oozing.