Staff Education: Chemical Peels

Each month at Timeless Skin Solutions, we have a staff meeting where I take some time to provide staff education on one of our treatments, products, or dermatologic issues in general. This past month we reviewed chemical peels because they tackle an array of skincare issues, and are also a great way to rejuvenate dull skin. Below are some of the specifics of what our staff education entailed.


Chemical peels can be used on the face, neck and body, including the décolleté and back. They can be used to treat a wide range of skin conditions including acne/mild scarring, rough skin texture, sun-damage, wrinkles, or blotchy skin. They may help the patient achieve younger, tighter and fresher looking skin. Note: it is important to note that chemical peels cannot treat all issues. Deeper lines, wrinkles and other flaws will require additional intervention.

Mechanism of Action

During treatment, a chemical solution is applied to the skin, causing the top layers of skin to dehydrate, separate and peel off. This process removes the skin’s damaged outer layers. The precise formula and depth of a peel can be modified for each individual’s needs. Patients will note improvement after 1 peel, but will see dramatic results after a series of peels.

Comparison to other treatments

We can enhance the results of a chemical peel with laser/light-based rejuvenation techniques, or combine with another procedure, such as dermal fillers or Botox. In comparison to microdermabrasion or Silk peels, chemical peels utilize a chemical solution which is applied to the skin to remove the surface tissue. During a microdermabrasion we use a mechanical method to achieve a similar result. The goal of both procedures is to rejuvenate and exfoliate the skin. A chemical peel, however, has the ability to go much deeper than physical microdermabrasion.

Treatment duration

During a chemical peel, most patients experience a warm to hot sensation that may last about 5 to 10 minutes and may be followed by some stinging. The skin will become pink/red, which is followed by scaling that lasts three to five days. Sometimes Retin A or alpha hydroxy acid is used to pre-treat the skin. This thins out the skin’s surface layer, allowing the chemical solution to penetrate more deeply and evenly.


Patients who are allergic to salicylates or aspirin should not receive a chemical peel. Other patients who are not candidates for this procedure include people who are taking Accutane, are pregnant or breastfeeding, maintain excessive sun exposure, have active herpes simplex, warts, history of keloidal scarring, or have recently waxed or used a depilatory such as “Nair” or “Vaniqua.” There are several complications that could occur following a chemical peel. First, it is important to not ever pick or pull at the flaking or peeling skin, it can cause scarring or an infection. Certain skin types also have a risk of developing a temporary or permanent skin color change. Hyperpigmentation (excessive coloration) and hypopigmentation (lack of pigmentation) can be problematic of misdiagnosed skin types, failure to reveal any skin problems, and improper post-peel care.


While chemical peels are a wonderful tool to refresh, rejuvenate and improve skin texture, quality and tone, they do have their limitations. Chemical peels cannot tighten loose or sagging skin, remove deep scars or remove broken blood vessels on the face; however, the procedure may improve the appearance of these conditions.

To schedule your peel, or to find out if a peel is right for you, contact our office today.

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