Chemical peels correct a variety of skin imperfections such as blemishes, wrinkles, and uneven pigmentation. They exfoliate the outer layers of dead skin, revealing a new skin layer with improved tone, texture, and color. In addition to full facial rejuvenation, certain types of skin peels can also be used for spot treatments and as a way to remove stretch marks or rejuvenate skin elsewhere on the body.

What are chemical skin peels?
In performing chemical peels, physicians apply alpha hydroxy acids (AHA), trichloroacetic acid (TCA), or phenol to the skin to reduce or eliminate fine lines, acne scars, sun damage, and other skin imperfections. After a chemical peel, the outer layers of skin in the treated area slough off, revealing a new layer of skin. TCA and phenol skin peels require at-home recovery of two weeks or more. Light skin peels, however, are so mild that there is little recovery time, and improvement in the skin’s appearance is immediately visible.

How are chemical skin peels actually performed?
Some aspects of the chemical peel procedure differ according to the type of peel (light, medium, or deep) being administered. However, all skin peel procedures follow the same basic protocols:

The chemical peel is administered in a doctor’s office, surgery center, or hospital by a certified and trained health professional.

The doctor cleanses the patient’s skin and, if necessary, applies a topical anesthetic to the treatment area. The doctor then applies the chemical peel solution. It is common for the patient to feel a tingling or stinging sensation as the chemical peel is applied.

After the skin peel solution has been on the skin for the prescribed amount of time, it is washed off with water. A soothing ointment or moisturizing crème is then applied.

The doctor then instructs the patient on aftercare, and the doctor may also prescribe a mild pain reliever for discomfort after the procedure.

Depending on the patient’s skin condition, multiple treatments may be necessary to achieve the desired results.