Thinking of getting a Chemical Peel? Here's what you need to know.

aesthetics beautiful skin chemical peel dermatologist dermatologist secret dermatologists dermatology facial Feb 13, 2023
chemical peel unsplash Anna Shvets

Are you looking for something to brighten and rejuvenate your skin? Want to remove sun damage and even out your complexion, but not looking for a procedure that requires a lot of maintenance? Then I might just have the answer for you.

2 words. Chemical Peels!

A chemical peel will give you beautiful, glowy skin, and make you feel fresh, without any invasive needles or scalpels, and with little to moderate downtime. 

Robin Kumar Biswal [Pexels]

Chemical peels are one of my all-time favorite procedures to perform on my patients. The reason why I love chemical peels so much is because of the incredible difference they can make in a person's skin tone and complexion: most patients see a noticeable difference after just one treatment!

So, how does it work?

A chemical peel is an acid that your dermatologist or skincare provider will apply to your skin. This acid removes the top layers of your skin to reveal the smooth, undamaged, healthy skin underneath. Chemical peels also help to improve acne scarring, minimize pores, reduce fine lines, and reduce the signs of aging.

What sort of chemical peel should you get?

There are a variety of chemical peels out the ranging from superficial, to medium depth down to deep chemical peels. The right chemical peel for you will depend on what you're trying to treat, your skin type, and your ability to have downtime. Your dermatologist can help guide you on the best peel for your skin.

Monstera [Pexels]

What happens during a chemical peel appointment?

First of all, I will bring you in for a consultation. During your consultation, we discuss what your concerns are to make sure that a chemical peel is the right solution for you. I also take stock of your medical history and any medications you may be on. If there is time before you would like to have the chemical peel, I would suggest that you start with a tretinoin or a retinol product, as this helps to prepare the skin for a chemical peel. When you come in for the procedure, and I would ask you to please not wear makeup, and have your skin prepped and clean and ready to be treated.

After sitting with topical numbing cream on the skin for 20 minutes, I will then 'decrease' the skin with acetone. This helps the peel penetrate the skin. Once this is done, I will start to apply the chemical peel that is best suited for your skin type and skin needs. Sometimes it will be one type of peel, other times a combination. All told, it is a fairly quick procedure that can take as little as 5 minutes. 

Once the peel is complete, I place some gauze on your skin that's been soaking in ice water. This helps to alleviate any heat sensation and cools down the skin very quickly. Then you will sit with the cold gauze on until you feel comfortable, and then I'll lather you with a petrolatum-based product, like Aquaphor spray. 

Over the next 6-7 days, the top layers of skin will darken and then slough off, revealing new, smooth skin underneath. It's advisable that you not use skincare for the week after you have the procedure. 

When is the best time to get a chemical peel?

People tend to get chemical peels in winter, as exposing a recently peeled face to the sun can be painful because the skin is so sensitive. Think of how soft, delicate, and easily damaged newborn skin can be - it's the same with your skin immediately after a chemical peel. The best thing to do is get your chemical peel in winter, so that your skin is recovered and as fresh as can be for the spring and summer seasons.

A chemical peel is an investment, and like anything you invest in, the better you look after it, the longer it will last. If you're going to take the time and spend the money on a chemical peel, be sure to follow up with vigilant sun protection and skin care afterwards!

So, to recap:

Chemical peels are great because:

  1. They can even out skin tone.
  2. They can help the skin complexion become more clear.
  3. They can help to diminish scarring from acne and sun spots from aging.
  4.  They can last up to a year, or more, depending on how vigilant you are with sunscreen afterwards.
  5. They give you amazing, glowy skin.

To learn even more about chemical peels, check out my podcast episode, Chemical Peel Season Is Here!