Chemical Peeling
Cosmetic Dermatology

Chemical Peeling

Chemical peels are procedures used to remove or minimize skin imperfections and blemishes (including sun-spots) and to tighten the skin to minimize fine lines.

How do chemical peels work?
  • Specific acids are used to “irritate” the skin in a controlled and safe fashion with the aim of causing shedding and turnover of the topmost layer of the skin.
  • This leads to regeneration of new skin layers and induction of collagen production.
Are there different types of peels?
  • Yes. We utilize different types of acids depending on the depth of peel that is desired.
  • 1. Superficial peels: substances like salicylic acid, lactic acid, retinoid acid and glycolic acid lead to shedding of the very top layer of the skin only (stratum corneum of the epidermis. They have very minimal down time and are excellent for someone looking to improve the texture and feel of their skin. They can be done once a month and the results are additive.
  • 2. Medium depth peels: agents like trichloroacetic acid (TCA) at different concentrations alone or in combination with other solutions (Jessner’s) produce a deeper shedding of the epidermis (still just the top layer of the skin). They have more down time (about 1 week of redness and significant peeling. These are best used for addressing pigment changes such as sun spots, fine lines and superficial scars.
  • 3. Deep peels: chemicals like trichloroacetic acid (TCA) 90% can be used to spot treat acne scars. They cause significant inflammation and peeling with about a 7-10 day down-time.
What are the risks?
The main risk is hyperpigmentation (darkening of the skin) if you get any sun exposure after. This risks is proportional to the type (depth) of the peel used (i.e medium or deeper peels require longer periods of complete sun avoidance).