What are Chemical Peels?

Chemical peels remove the outer layer of the skin using chemical solutions, like glycolic acid and phenol. Although most commonly performed on the face, this non-surgical procedure may be done on the neck and hands as well. Chemical peels can treat the following:

  • Age spots
  • Fine lines and wrinkles
  • Freckles
  • Rough skin
  • Sun-damaged skin
  • Acne
Before the procedure, a skin evaluation is done to determine which type of peel will produce the best results. Dark skin tends to respond well to light peels, while severely sun-damaged skin will likely benefit from a moderate or deep peel. Pre-treatment creams and sunscreen need to be applied every day for several weeks prior to the procedure. Doing this may help shorten the healing process.

During the peel, the area to be treated is cleaned thoroughly, and the chemical solution is applied on the skin for several minutes, which produces a stinging sensation. A neutralizing agent is then used, and the stinging sensation gradually goes away. For more intense peels, a cool compress may be placed on the area to relieve any stinging or burning, or the solution may be applied in intervals to limit exposure to the strong chemicals.

Following a light peel, there will be redness and swelling, which typically fade in a few days. Swelling after a moderate or deep peel may last for a week, and mild redness may continue for a few weeks. To help improve the final results of a peel, treated areas must be kept cool, moisturized, and protected from sunlight.

Search for chemical peels near you.