A chemical peel involves applying a chemical solution to the skin to remove damaged skin cells, cure wrinkles, and eliminate scars and sunspot discolourations.

Chemical peels are made up of various acids that penetrate the skin at different levels. Therefore, depending on your demands and skin sensitivity, there are a variety of possibilities.

Types of Chemical Peeling

Various skin disorders can be treated with a chemical peel. Depending on the issues you want to address with the process, you can get a chemical peel at one of three depths.

Light chemical peel

The outer layer of skin is removed using a minor chemical peel, a superficial peel (epidermis). Fine lines, acne, wrinkles, uneven skin tone, and dryness can all be treated. Depending on the results you want, you could get a light chemical peel once a week for up to six weeks.

Medium chemical peel

This chemical peel eliminates skin cells from the epidermis and sections of the upper layer of your skin (dermis). Acne scars, wrinkles and uneven skin tone can all be helped with a medium chemical peel. You should do a mild chemical peel every six to twelve months to keep your results.

Deep chemical peel

A deep chemical peel eliminates skin cells from the epidermis and sections of your dermis’ mid to lower layers. If you have deeper precancerous growths or scars due to acne, or wrinkles, your doctor may recommend a deep chemical peel.


What to prepare yourself for a chemical peel?


Step One: Consultation

The first step is to schedule a pre-procedure consultation with a respected board-certified plastic surgeon or dermatologist to discuss your reasons for seeking a chemical peel and your treatment expectations. Your medical history and current medications will be examined to determine if you are a good candidate for the treatment.

A history of diabetes, photosensitivity, nutritional deficiency, prior radiation, abnormal scarring, skin conditions, recent facial surgery, smoking status, isotretinoin or oral contraceptives, amount of daily sun exposure, pregnancy status are all factors that can increase the risk of complications during this examination.


Step Two: Skin Examination

Next, the skin is examined to determine its thickness, health, and condition. Finally, the pre-procedure skin state may be documented via photographs.


Step Three: Prepping the Skin

A series of preparation activities termed “priming” are carried out in the 2-4 weeks leading up to your scheduled chemical peel to maximise the procedure’s efficacy. UV exposure should be limited, and every morning, broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 50+ should be applied. In addition, Tretinoin, hydroquinone, glycolic acid, or salicylic acid-containing creams may be prescribed.


Step Four: Guidelines to Follow

Finally, avoid facial waxing and dermabrasion. These exercises and recommendations are designed to thin the top layer of the skin, improve chemical peel penetration, speed healing, and limit the risk of problems, including hyperpigmentation and scarring. The face should be cleansed with non-residue soap the day before your treatment. It is best to avoid using moisturisers and makeup.


During the procedure:

  • Chemical peeling is carried out in a separate office space with proper lighting and ventilation. You will be lying down in a supine position with your eyes closed and eye protection for the process.
  • Apply a neutral paste to keep the chemical peeling solution from pooling around your eyes, nose, and mouth. A sedative or pain reliever may be administered shortly before the operation for deeper peels.
  • Depending on the peeling agent, the application procedure may differ. Brushes, cotton tip applicators, and gauze swabs can all be used to apply liquid solutions. A wooden or plastic spatula is generally used for gels.
  • The peeling chemical is applied first to thicker skin parts such as the forehead, cheeks, nose, and chin. It is then applied to the rest of the face in the same direction with forceful, even strokes.
  • While the chemical peel is on your skin, you may experience moderate soreness. A neutralising wash or a cool compress can be applied to the face when the operation is finished.

Post-procedure experience

  • Your skin might be red and inflamed after a chemical peel. Increased redness and edema may occur with deeper chemical peels.
  • It’s also common to experience some stinging or burning. To ease the region, apply a protective ointment like petroleum jelly, and within one to two weeks, symptoms should start to fade.
  • Light peels may usually be covered with makeup the same day, while medium peels can be covered with makeup a week later. However, the skin may take several months to recover and display the full effects of the peel fully.
  • Regular cleansing, moisturising, and limiting sun exposure are all recommendations that will help the chemical peel’s results last longer.


Risks of Chemical Peeling

The following are some of the possible adverse effects of a chemical peel:


The skin that has been treated with a chemical peel will become red. Redness from a mild or severe chemical peel might continue for months.


A chemical peel can produce scarring on the lower face in rare cases. However, these scars can be softened with antibiotics and steroid medicines.

Changes in skin colour

A chemical peel can make skin darker (hyperpigmentation) or lighter (hypopigmentation) than usual (hypopigmentation). Post hyperpigmentation is more common following minor peels, but hypopigmentation is more common following a thorough peel. People with darker complexion are more likely to see lasting changes in their skin tone.


After a chemical peel, tiny white bumps (milia) may appear on the skin. Due to past acne or greasy treatments on newly formed skin, acne frequently emerges as treated skin heals.


The herpes virus, which causes cold sores, can be aggravated by a chemical peel. In addition, a bacterial or fungal infection might result from a chemical peel in rare cases.

Heart, kidney or liver damage

Carbolic acid (phenol), used in a deep chemical peel, can damage the heart muscle and produce irregular heartbeats. Phenol is also harmful to the liver and kidneys. Therefore, a deep chemical peel is done in 10- to 20-minute increments to decrease phenol exposure.

Not everyone is a candidate for a chemical peel. You are not the right person for chemical peeling if you are:

  • You’ve used the acne drug isotretinoin (Amnesteem, others).
  • Possess a dark skin tone.
  • Your hair is red, and your skin is pale and freckled.
  • Have ridged spots on your skin caused by scar tissue overgrowth (keloids).
  • Skin pigmentation is irregular.
  • Have facial warts.
  • Breast-feeding or pregnant


Chemical peels are a rapid, safe, and cost-effective way to rejuvenate your skin. However, chemical peeling is only successful when the patient’s motivation for the procedure is matched with the right peeling agent. Your doctor will discuss the pros and cons to identify the best chemical peels treatment strategy for you.

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