Posted by: Skin And Cancer Institute in Cosmetic Procedures

Provider putting a chemical peel on a young woman

A chemical peel is an aesthetic treatment popular for improving your skin’s appearance. You can use chemical peels to treat various conditions, such as acne, wrinkles, sun damage, and more. In this blog post, we will answer some frequently asked questions about chemical peels, including the different types and which one could be right for you.

What is a chemical peel?

A chemical peel is a cosmetic procedure that involves using chemicals to remove the top layers of skin. 

How can chemical peels improve my skin?

Chemical peels can help improve the skin’s appearance by reducing wrinkles, fine lines, and acne scars. They can also help to improve skin tone (reducing age and sun spots) and texture. In addition, they can help to clean your pores giving you fresher-looking skin.

Which type of chemical peel is right for me?

If you’re considering a chemical peel, choosing the right one for your skin type and goals is important. The three most common types of peels are superficial, medium, and deep.

Superficial peels are the lightest option and can be done at home with over-the-counter products that contain a light chemical. This light chemical solution is ideal for people with mild sun damage. Afterward, the skin is usually smoother, but the results are not dramatic on the treated skin.

A medium chemical peel is an excellent option for people with moderate sun damage, wrinkles, or acne scars. The medium chemical peel penetrates a bit deeper than superficial peels and can provide more dramatic results. It is ideal for people with dark patches, brownish discoloration, age spots, fine wrinkles, or uneven skin tone. It typically uses trichloroacetic acid or glycolic acid. 

A deep peel is the strongest type of peel and should only be done by a trained professional. It typically uses phenol or trichloroacetic acid and can provide dramatic results, but also carries the risk of side effects such as scarring or pigment changes. The deep peel is best for people with severe sun damage, deep wrinkles, or extensive scars. Choosing the right peel is essential for achieving the best results.

What are the different types of chemical peels?

There are three main types of chemical peels: light, medium, and deep. Light peels are the most common and least invasive; a deep chemical peel is the most aggressive and can require a longer recovery time. The most common chemical peel solutions are glycolic acid, trichloroacetic acid, and phenol.

  • Glycolic acid comes in various concentrations and is often used for superficial peels.
  • Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) comes in a variety of strengths and is often used for medium-depth peels.
  • Phenol is the strongest type of chemical peel and is used for deep peels. 

What should I expect during and after a chemical peel treatment?

A licensed aesthetician or dermatologist typically performs chemical peels. Your individual needs will determine the strength of the peel. Your provider will clean the area to be treated and then apply the peel solution, which will be left on for a specific time.

You may experience some redness and flaking after the procedure, but this will typically resolve within a week. It is essential to avoid sun exposure and use sunscreen while the skin is healing.

Does a chemical peel hurt?

The answer, unfortunately, is that it can be uncomfortable. Most people report a stinging sensation during their chemical peel procedure. That’s because a chemical peel involves applying a strong acidic solution to the skin, which causes it to peel off eventually. While this isn’t a pleasant sensation, most providers are cautious when applying the solution, and they will usually give you a numbing cream to help reduce any discomfort. In addition, there are different types of peels with varying degrees of intensity. So if you’re concerned about pain, you can always start with a weaker peel and work your way up.

Can I wear makeup after a chemical peel?

After a chemical peel, following the aftercare instructions provided by your dermatologist is important. This will help to ensure optimal results and minimize the risk of complications. You should generally avoid wearing makeup for at least 24 hours after a chemical peel. This gives your skin time to recover and helps to prevent irritation. If you must wear makeup, be sure to choose products that are non-comedogenic and gentle on the skin. Wash your face thoroughly before applying makeup, and avoid touching your face during the day. Remove your makeup before bed, and use a moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated. These tips will help you achieve the best results from your chemical peel.

Are there any risks or side effects associated with chemical peels?

Chemical peels are typically safe and have minimal side effects. But they do have some risks, including burns, scarring, and infection. However, these risks are rare when the peel is performed by a qualified professional.

How often should I get a chemical peel?

The type of chemical peel used will determine how often the procedure needs to be performed. For example, deeper peels may only need to be done once or twice a year, while lighter peels can be done every four to six weeks. 

Can I see results after one peel?

Most people will see results after just one chemical peel, though multiple peels may be necessary for those with more significant skin damage. Talk to your dermatologist to see if a chemical peel is right for you. 

When will new skin start to form?

The short answer is that it depends on the depth of the peel. You can expect new skin growth for superficial peels within a few days. It can take up to two weeks for medium and deep peels. The good news is that once new skin does start to grow, it will be smoother and more youthful-looking than old skin. So even though the initial recovery period may be a bit uncomfortable, it will be well worth it in the end!

How much do chemical peels cost?

Chemical peels can range in price from $100 to $1000 or more, depending on the type of peel and the number of treatments required. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the average cost of a chemical peel is $519 (based on 2020 statistics).

Do insurance plans cover a chemical peel? 

Health insurance is designed to cover medically necessary procedures that improve or maintain the patient’s health. Unfortunately, this means that insurance plans do not cover many common cosmetic procedures. This includes popular procedures such as Botox injections, dermabrasion, and chemical peels. While these procedures can offer significant aesthetic benefits, they are not considered medically necessary in most cases. As a result, patients who undergo these procedures will typically be responsible for the entire cost. Some providers offer financing options to help make these procedures more affordable, but it is essential to be aware of the potential costs before scheduling any treatment.

Where can I get a chemical peel?

Plastic surgeons, dermatologists, and other qualified providers can perform chemical peels. They are usually provided in a clinical setting.

However, there are also many at-home chemical peel kits available for purchase. Although at-home peels may be cheaper than professional treatments, they are often not as effective as chemical peels performed by dermatologists and other providers.

For most people, it is best to leave chemical peels to the professionals. If you buy a home chemical peel, be sure to use caution and follow the directions. 


If you are considering a chemical peel, it is important to consult with a qualified professional to discuss your goals and expectations. 

Chemical peels can be an excellent way to improve the appearance of the skin, but it is crucial to understand the risks and side effects before undergoing treatment.

Curious about getting a chemical peel? At the Skin and Cancer Institute, our mission is to provide our patients the highest quality of care. We offer various services, including chemical peels, which can help improve the appearance of your skin. We offer a variety of peel formulas so that we can tailor the treatment to your specific needs. 

We also offer a free consultation to learn more about the benefits of chemical peels and how they can help you achieve your goals. Contact us today to schedule your consultation!

We’re looking forward to helping you!