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How Chemical Peels Work

Chemical Peels are an acidic solution applied to the skin used to exfoliate and brighten the complexion. It’s a cosmetic treatment that can help with a variety of skin problems. Chemical peels remove damaged skin cells which allow the skin to heal properly without any or very minimal scarring and no color changes to the skin.

The epidermis (outer layer) and dermis (second layer) are the two layers of skin affected by chemical peels. It can help with skin conditions such as:

  • Acne
  • Enlarged Pores
  • Rosacea
  • Redness
  • Scarring
  • Hyperpigmentation

Chemical Peel Procedure

An exfoliant acid is applied to your skin by your treatment provider. It is applied to the thicker areas of your skin, such as your chin, nose and cheeks, then to the thinner areas of your skin including around the eyes and lips.


After the treatment, your dermatologist or other treatment provider will recommend ways to help you recover. This may include applying a weak vinegar solution or cool compresses. The treatment can cause some redness and swelling which usually subsides after a week, depending on the intensity and depth of the chemical peel.

You should keep your face dry for the first 24 hours following your treatment. Avoid showering or any face washes, and refrain from using any makeup until the skin is fully healed.

Types of Chemical Peels

There are three different types of chemical peels, superficial, medium-depth and deep. The type of chemical peel you need, will depend on how severe your skin problems are, skin type and color.

  • Superficial – Treats only the top layer of skin.
  • Medium-Depth – Treats the top and underlying layer of skin
  • Deep (rare) – Treats deep underneath the skin.

If you have questions about your chemical peel treatment, be sure to talk with your treatment provider. They should be able to answer any questions you have and make recommendations on the best chemical peel for your skin type.