Chemical peels are procedures that improve the aesthetic of skin on the hands, neck, or face. To accomplish this, the skin is treated with a chemical solution that exfoliates the skin, causing the topmost layer to peel away. Beneath that top layer is new skin that typically has fewer wrinkles. The trade-off is that the new skin is also more sensitive to sunlight, pressure, and other stimuli. Chemical peels come in three varieties:

  • Superficial – A mild acid is applied to the skin, and it’s gentle enough to only affect the very outermost layer of skin. This procedure is quick and can be used to treat rough skin and mild discoloration.
  • Medium – An acid of moderate strength is applied to the skin in order to penetrate to the mid layers. This procedure helps reduce the appearance of age spots, wrinkles, and fine lines. In some cases, it can be used to treat skin growths that may eventually become cancerous if left untreated.
  • Deep – A strong acid is applied to the skin to nearly reach the basal layer, removing damaged skin cells through the area treated. It can reduce the appearance of shallow scars, age spots, freckles, lines, and wrinkles. This procedure produces the most dramatic results.

Before Considering a Chemical Peel

You’ll need to undergo an extensive evaluation from your dermatologic surgeon before deciding on a chemical peel option. They will let you know if the procedure is appropriate for your skin type and condition.

If you have lighter hair and paler skin, you are a better candidate for chemical peels than patients with darker skin. Anyone suffering from the following conditions will most likely be ineligible for a chemical peel:

  • Infection
  • Active Skin Disease
  • Broken or Cut Skin
  • Herpes Sores
  • Sunburn
  • Rosacea
  • Eczema
  • Psoriasis
  • Dermatitis

You’ll also be ineligible if you are nursing, pregnant, or if you’ve used Renova, Retin-A, or other high-strength skin care products in the previous two days.

Do Chemical Peels Hurt?

There isn’t a lot of pain associated with chemical peels, but they have been known to sting. Superficial peels are the gentlest by far, and they are hardly noticeable. If you regularly receive superficial peels, your skin will eventually acclimate to the process.