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A chemical peel, also known as chemexfoliation or dermapeeling, uses a chemical solution to improve the appearance of your skin. The skin layers eventually peel off revealing more youthful skin. The new skin is usually smoother with fewer lines and wrinkles, has a more even color and is brighter in complexion.


Chemical peels are used to reduce scars, fine lines, and pigmentation caused by acne, sun spots, or wrinkles due to aging. The chemical applied allows molecules to sink into the skin and will cause a tingling effect. The chemical can stay on the skin for 1 to 10 minutes, then it neutralizes or cools and is removed. As the chemicals seep into the skin, they boost collagen while lifting off the top layer, or the epidermis, of the skin. This causes a peeling effect. After a layer of skin peels off, it reveals the second layer, or the dermis, which has fresher, tighter cells that are not as damaged.


Some mild chemical peel solutions may be applied to the face, neck, and chest. More aggressive chemical peel solutions may only be applied to the face, avoiding the eyebrows, eyes, lips or any sensitive areas of the skin. The milder peel may be performed every 1 to 4 weeks, or as recommended by your aesthetician. A more aggressive peel may only be done once, after consulting your aesthetician. After any peel, the skin will likely feel tight, as if it is sunburned or wind burned. You may be given special moisturizer or a gentle cleanser to avoid irritation post-procedure.


There are many types of chemical peels from superficial to deep. The most superficial can be done in the morning and a patient can then go to work, while a stronger peel may require one to take time following the procedure, and scabbing or excessive peeling may occur. Deciding which chemical peel is right for your skin requires a specialist, such as an aesthetician professional.


There are different chemicals used depending on your skin type. A glycolic acid peel is an option, as is a salicylic, carbonic, or lactic acid peel. These peels may be put on a patient's skin for 1 minute and up to 10 minutes.


The time following a chemical peel can be just as crucial for your skin as the peel itself because this is when your skin renews itself. The aftercare can vary depending on what type of peel you received and what ingredients were in the serum.

  1. Know what type of treatment you are getting, what is in the solution, and what kind of aftercare will be required before you get the peel. If you're getting your peel at a spa, the aesthetician should be able to tell you what you need to do for aftercare. If you had a light or superficial peel, you should be able to resume your normal activities right away, although your skin may feel tight and be red for 6 to 8 hours afterward. Deeper, more invasive procedures require more recovery time. The time required depends on the strength of the chemical.

  2. Buy necessary supplies. If you had a deep chemical peel, your aesthetician might recommend special coverings for the area of your face the treatment was applied to, as well as ointments or moisturizers. If you had a deep peel, your skin will start to flake a couple of days afterward. During this period, it's crucial not to make extreme facial expressions and to let your face heal. If your skin cracks and bleeds, you could end up with scarring.

  3. Follow through with any recommendations to get the best results possible.

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