Cosmetic Surgery Tips

What To Know About Chemical Peel Chemical Peel

What To Know About Chemical Peel Chemical Peel

Chemical peels are a type of skin treatment that involves the application of a chemical solution to the skin. The solution causes the outer layer of dead cells to peel off, revealing new, fresher-looking skin underneath.

There are many different types of chemical peels, but they all serve the same general purpose: to smooth out rough spots and reduce fine lines and wrinkles. Chemical peels also reduce acne scars and discoloration, while increasing collagen production and improving elasticity in the skin.

Chemical peels are useful for removing old and dead skin cells from the surface of your face, allowing for a fresh new layer of skin cells to produce. Unlike many other beauty treatments, this procedure is a lot easier to perform at home since you won’t need to be under a general anesthetic and it can be done by using special products. Read on to learn more on Chemical Peel Side Effects/Chemical Peeling Treatment.

Chemical Peel

What To Know About Chemical Peel Chemical Peel

When it comes to skin treatments, you deserve the very best. Chemical peel is one of the most effective skin rejuvenation treatments for those suffering from signs of sun damage or the aging process. They can be used to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, acne scars, uneven pigmentation, and more. The treatment can also be used on a wide range of areas like the face, chest, and neck.

What is a Chemical Peel?

True to their name, chemical peels are treatments that involve the use of a type of chemical peels process to take away the topmost portion of the skin. As skin cells mature, they rise to the top where dead skin cells normally slough off to make room for newer ones. In some cases, dead skin cells can build up on the surface of the skin. A peel can help remove this layer, or even portions of layers underneath, to encourage the formation of new skin tissue that displays fewer imperfections.

Is a Chemical Peel Right for Me?

A chemical peel treatment may benefit you if you are currently dealing with skin affected by wrinkles or sun damage, blotches, scars, stretch marks, enlarged pores, or some forms of skin growths. Other factors such as the texture and thickness of your skin, can influence if you would make a good candidate for chemical peels. Generally, if you are in good overall health and have realistic expectations and a positive attitude, you will more than likely make a good candidate for the treatment.

How is the Treatment Performed?

A peel treatment involves the application of a special type of chemical suspended within a solution to the treatment area. It can be applied gently or delivered more aggressively into the skin and the treatment area using a brush, swab, cotton pad, or sponge. The length of time that your peel will be in contact with your skin is based upon observations of how your skin responds during the treatment. How long does a chemical peel take? The procedures can take anywhere between 30 minutes and 90 minutes.How long does it take to recover from a chemical peel? A medium to deep chemical peels could also take two to three weeks to recover. 

No after-peel ointment or covering is necessary after most light and medium peels, which do not typically involve much downtime at all. A deep peel is a more aggressive form of treatment that involves a coating of some type of protective ointment after the treatment.

What Happens at My Consultation?

At your chemical peels initial consultation, you will have the chance to discuss your goals and ask any questions that you may have. We will determine if you would make a suitable candidate for a peel treatment and receive your complete medical history.

Chemical Peeling Treatment

A chemical peel is solution applied to the face to remove dead skin cells and stimulate the growth of new cells. The aim is to improve the appearance of the skin – for example, by reducing age spots and evening out skin tone. There are 3 types of peels, called superficial, medium and deep.

Superficial and medium depth peels are dynamic tools when used as part of office procedures for treatment of acne, pigmentation disorders, and photo-aging. Results and complications are generally related to the depth of wounding, with deeper peels providing more marked results and higher incidence of complications. Complications are also more likely with darker skin types, certain peeling agents, and sun exposure. They can range from minor irritations, uneven pigmentation to permanent scarring. In very rare cases, complications can be life-threatening.


During the first half of the 20th century, phenol and TCA were used in several centers. Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) became available as superficial peeling agents in late 1980s and the 1990s. AHAs are used in treating aging skin, melasma, photoaging and acne.

They are classified as superficial, medium, and deep peels. The superficial chemical peels are very safe when used properly but can cause itching, erythema, increased skin sensitivity, epidermolysis, allergic and irritant contact dermatitis, and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). All peels can cause activation of herpes viral infection, whereas medium and deep peels can cause scarring. Deep peels are no longer popular in Indian skin. They can cause milia, secondary infection, and scarring.


Chemical peeling involves the application of a chemical agent of a defined strength that results in exfoliation of the skin followed by regrowth of new skin leading to skin rejuvenation. It is a technique-dependent procedure. Although rare, complications may occur including persistent erythema, milia, scarring, etc.[3]


  1. Intraoperative[4]
    • Incorrect peel pharmacology
    • Accidental solution misplacement
  2. Post-operative
    • Local infection
    • Contact dermatitis
    • Improper care during healing

Based on the time of onset, complications can be immediate or delayed.

  1. Immediate (within minutes to hours after peeling):[5]
    • Irritation, burning, pruritus, and pain
    • Persistent erythema
    • Edema
    • Blistering
  2. Delayed (within a few days to weeks):
    • Infections (bacterial, herpetic, and candidal)
    • Scarring, delayed healing, milia, and textural changes
    • Hyperpigmentation, hypopigmentation, and lines of demarcation
    • Loss of cutaneous barrier and tissue injury
    • Acneiform eruptions
    • Allergic reactions, toxicity, and ectropion
  3. Accidental
    • Ocular complications.

Usually, complications are minor and are more common in dark-skinned individuals. They are seen more in medium and deep depth peels.


Prolonged sun exposure, inadequate application of sunscreen, using topical retinoid or glycolic acid immediately after peels can lead to this complication. Paradoxically, in some patients, sunscreens can themselves cause contact sensitization or irritant dermatitis.

Have you had an in-clinic chemical peel but didn’t experience any peeling afterwards?

Were you disappointed that the treatment hadn’t worked?

Don’t worry most people expect to have some peeling after a peel but it really depends on the condition of your skin at the time of chemical peel whether you peel or not.

Skin’s natural cycle

chemical peel

Our skin is in a constant renewal state and we shed our top layer on a daily basis. We shed very slowly, and as dead skin cells get washed or brushed away, we do not normally notice this. The cells are made deep in our skin and migrate to the surface to be shed. This process is quite quick in youth lasting about a four-week period extending to six weeks or longer as we get older. As the shedding slows down, so does the production of new cells leading to a build-up of a thicker layer of dead skin cells on the surface. Externally, this can give your skin a dull, dry appearance.

The cells also change as they migrate to the top from being juicy and plump to flatter and dehydrated. They normally carry pigment to the surface with them. Once at the surface they are held by special bonds which ‘glue’ the cells together for a short period before they break away.

What happens during a chemical peel?

chemical peel

During a chemical peel, a specially prepared acid or a combination of acid solution is applied on the surface of your skin. This breaks the bonds or ‘glue’ holding the cells together. Different acids are able to penetrate to different depths during the treatment. Over the following week, the cells separate away giving visible signs of flaking or peeling. Sometimes this may only be happening when you wash your skin so you may not be aware of the ‘peeling’. If the skin is particularly dehydrated at the time of the peel, you may experience more peeling. Deeper peels cause more extensive peeling.

Whether you peel or not, you can be reassured that a good chemical peel would do its job- stimulate separation of the surface layer encouraging your skin to multiply faster. Hence reveal more radiant, hydrated skin.

What are the risks of a chemical peel?

Occasionally if the skin is poorly prepared with no exposure to medical-grade products, it may react with side effects such as hyper (increased) pigmentation, inflammation or even scarring. It is possible to have an allergic reaction to the components of the peel in susceptible individuals. It is therefore recommended that your skin is prepared with the correct skincare before you have a chemical peel. This may be as little as two weeks or twelve to eighteen weeks depending on your risk factors. Those with a darker skin tone or a family history of darker skin tones are at increased risk of hyperpigmentation and need careful skin preparation.

What are the benefits of a chemical peel?

A chemical peel is a brilliant skin rejuvenation treatment to stimulate your skin to perform better. It is great at removing superficial pigmentation and improving superficial scars. By exfoliation, it can help to even out your skin tone. Chemical peels can be used to address uneven and rough skin texture by stimulating new skin production. It also helps to reduce fine lines and wrinkles as skin quality improves.

In blemish-prone skin, the targetted chemical peel helps to shrink the pore and reduce sebum production. It will also reduce inflammation leading to fewer blemishes.

How often should you have a chemical peel?

chemical peel

How often you should have a peel really depends on the intended purpose. For acne and blemish-prone skin, gentle chemical peels are recommended every 2-3 weeks. For pigmentation, it maybe every 3-4 weeks. Skin rejuvenation peels maybe every 4-6 weeks. Once a course of a peel is completed you should really start a maintenance programme to sustain the results of the initial treatment course. You may also consider home peels when clinic attendance is unsuitable. If not maintained, the skin will revert back to its dull state lacking lustre.

At Skin Enhance And Wellness, I offer a variety of chemical peels including prescription-only chemical peels. It is best to have a consultation first in person or remotely to assess suitability and start on home treatment to prepare for a chemical peel.

Hyaluronic acid after chemical peel

chemical peel

Chemical Peel Side Effects

  • Redness, scabbing and swelling. Normal healing from a chemical peel involves redness of the treated skin. …
  • Scarring. …
  • Changes in skin color. …
  • Infection. …
  • Heart, kidney or liver damage.

Superficial and medium peels are usually safe, as long as they’re done correctly. These type of peels are not permanent and they need to be repeated.

Deeper peels are more risky. They’re longer-lasting and do not usually need to be repeated.

In the UK, chemical peels cost about £60 to £100 for mild peels. Deeper peels may cost more than £500.

What to think about before you have chemical peels
If you’re thinking about having chemical peels, be clear about why you want them.

Read more about deciding whether a cosmetic procedure is right for you.

Choosing a practitioner
Having a chemical peel is usually safe if it’s done by an experienced and suitably qualified practitioner.

Check the person doing your chemical peel is on a register to show they meet set standards in training, skill and insurance.

Avoid practitioners who have only completed a short training course.

Book a consultation with the practitioner before you have the procedure.

Ask about:

their experience and qualifications
the type of chemical peel they would recommend for you and why
any risks or possible side effects
what aftercare they provide
what will happen if things go wrong
what insurance cover they have
Read more about choosing who will do your cosmetic procedure.

Different types of chemical peels
Superficial peels
skin cells are removed from the top layer of skin (epidermis)
the solution is applied to the skin and left on for a few minutes
your skin may feel tight for a couple of hours afterwards
regular treatment is needed to maintain the effects
Medium peels
skin cells are removed from the top and middle layers of skin
the solution is applied and left on for a few minutes
you may feel burning or stinging when it’s on your face
your skin may go brown or red for a few days afterwards
it can take up to 6 weeks for your skin to return to normal
treatment is needed every 6 to 12 months to maintain the effects
Deep peels
affect the deeper layers of skin
a local anaesthetic and sedative may be needed to numb any pain
the solution is applied to the face and can be left on for 30 minutes or more
your heart and blood pressure need to be watched because the chemical used (phenol) can affect your heart and kidneys
you’ll have some peeling, redness and discomfort for a few days
swelling can last up to 2 weeks, and redness can last up to 3 months
often lightens the skin so it’s not really suitable for darker skin
it has long-lasting effects so does not usually need to be repeated

A chemical peel is a way of exfoliating skin using a solution that has a pH of around two. It helps to smooth out the texture of the skin making your face feel fresh. It helps to treat many skin issues like hyperpigmentation, acne, and wrinkles.

Chemical Peel Side Effects

The side effects that you may experience depend mainly on the type of peel used, its strength, and intensity. For light peels, you will have little to no side effects. Usually, you will get a little redness which resolves in an hour or two.

For deep peels, you will have skin peeling in addition to the redness. Other side effects include the change of skin color, heart, kidney or liver damage, infection, and scarring. These effects can last for 7-10 days.

How to Care for Skin

Knowing the above, it is therefore important that you take care of your skin after a chemical peel. For at least 24 hours, it is important to ensure that you do not use products that have active ingredients like:

  • Alpha Hydroxy Acids.
  • Beta Hydroxy Acids.
  • Low pH Serums.
  • Retin-A or any other Retinoids.
  • Serums with Vitamin C and Ascorbic Acid.
  • Any other chemical exfoliates.

Follow a very bland and basic skincare routine. Use a hyaluronic acid product as they help to moisturize, hydrate, and play an important role in wound healing. Look for ingredients like ceramides and cholesterol which function as ingredients identical to those found in the skin. They help to repair damage caused to the moisture barrier.

A good moisturizer to use after a chemical peel is CeraVe. It comes with an addition of four percent niacinamide. Niacinamide is an antioxidant that has anti-aging benefits and helps to brighten skin tone. It also increases the production of collagen by your skin and is great for people with dry skin.

However, a better alternative is Vaseline. Contrary to popular belief, it does not clog pores. It will prevent water loss and keep your skin hydrated. To speed up the healing of your chemical peel, make sure you use petroleum jelly.

Leave a Comment