Chemical Peel FAQs

General FAQs
  • Q1 :

    When can a Chemical peel be performed?

  • A chemical peel can be performed whenever there is damage to be removed. The age limit is usually the early teens.

    It is best performed in the winter when sun exposure is at a minimum and usually after a rigorous skin care regimen.
  • Q2 :

    What is a Chemical peel?

  • A chemical peel is the use of chemicals such as AHA's, trichloracetic  acid (TCA) or phenol to remove layers of damaged or aged skin to reveal newer, softer, younger looking skin.
  • Q3 :

    What does a typical Chemical peel consultation entail?

  • After a full skin type evaluation and skin elasticity check, you will discuss your many options with your Skincare Specialist.
  • Q4 :

    How is a Chemical peel performed?

  • The need for sedation depends upon the depth of the peel.

    After the skin has been primed through skin care or microdermabrasion, it will be scrubbed and a mild toner used to remove the natural surface oils.

    Layers of the acid are gently and expertly applied to your skin. Ahe timer is set and the physician or skincare specialist neutralizes the acid and removes the product. The skin is then cleaned and moisturizered.

    Sometimes a membrane is applied to help with comfort and healing - but these are usually reserved for more intensive peels (phenol, obagi Blue, laser, etc.)
  • Q5 :

    Will it hurt?

  • You may experience a warm or tingling sensation and depending upon the strength of the peel, a stinging sensation.
  • Q6 :

    When will I be able to see the results?

  • You will start noticing pink, fresh skin emerging from under the peeling, damaged skin.  Do not pull or rub the damaged skin off. Within a few weeks the pinkness will fade for most, light peels.

    Depending upon the depth and type of the peel, you may have lingering pinkness resembling mild sunburn or flushed appearance.
  • Q7 :

    What are the risks of a Chemical Peel?

  • If you have oral herpes, gain the approval of your primary physician and seek a prescription for oral acyclovir. If you have a break out during your healing period, it can spread to your entire face and result in severe and permanent scarring.

    Be careful of crusting or excessive weeping.  In AHA peels you may think this is normal but there is a borderline appearance that you must watch out for.  Ask your skincare specialist for specifics regarding what to look for.  If for a typical AHA peel, you should feel and look normal within 3-4 days.  For deeper peels your downtime may take weeks and then months for complete recovery.

    If you experience pain in areas of the face, contact your surgeon or skin care specialist immediately - particularly if you are prone to cold sores - blisters that form will need to be treated immediately.

    Hyperpigmentations (excessive coloration) and hypopigmentation (lack of pigmentation) can be problematic of misdiagnosed skin types, failure to reveal any skin problems or ethnicity and improper post-peel care.  Infection is uncommon but possible so keep an eye out for redness and pain.

    Scarring is a problem if the above is experienced so please adhere to your post-peel instructions to decrease your chances of long-term or permanent, visible signs of damage.

  • Q8 :

    Are the results permanent?

  • You must take good care of your skin after the procedure. If you stress the skin by sunbathing, smoking or not taking proper care, etc, your skin will become damaged. Taking care of your skin and using quality maintenance and prevention products like a high SPF sun block will most certainly help you retain the rejuvenated, more youthful appearance.

    You will of course, continue to age, but your wrinkles will be softened and your appearance made fresher depending upon the depth of the peel.
  • Q9 :

    What are glycolic peels?

  • Glycolic peels are acids used to exfoliate the skin. These peels have been shown to improve fine lines and wrinkles, smoothen mild acne scars, reduce the appearance of light brown spots, and give a refreshing glow to your skin. After the peel, your skin will be red and you will have a sunburn feeling, but you are able to return to normal activities. It is recommended that makeup not be applied for 24-48 hours. For information on gentler peels, visit our Comprehensive Skin Care section.
  • Q10 :

    What is Involved? Will I Need further treatments?

  • Peels begin at a strength of 30% glycolic and increase in percentage over the course of your treatment up to 70%. The physician assistant will determine the right program for your skin. Generally, a series of three to six treatments are required for optimum results. These are spaced two to three weeks apart. The results of the peel are quickly evident.
  • Q11 :

    How long does the procedure take?

  • The medical peel process takes about 15-20 minutes. Although the results are usually not permanent, maintained improvement can be accomplished by periodic treatments.
  • Q12 :

    What should I expect post operatively?

  • The skin will feel sunburned and tight.

    Excessive or widely exaggerated facial expressions should be avoided as it can result in the tearing of the skin and bleeding and therefore scarring.

    The skin should be left to heal naturally. Do not tug at any skin that may peel from the face. This can result in scarring.