Find a Doctor

Chemical Peel

Aging can take a serious toll on your skin, causing it to appear rough, uneven, and discolored.

By exfoliating the topmost layer of skin cells, a chemical peel can improve the appearance of the neck, face, and hands.

With a peel, you can look as young as you feel...

A Chemical Peel Can Restore a Smooth, Supple Texture

Versatile Solution

For the right candidates, a chemical peel can address a number of skin-related concerns including acne scars and hyperpigmentation. It can also reduce the appearance of crow's feet and wrinkles around the nose and mouth.


There are three depths of peels, and the right one for you will depend on the condition of your skin. A light peel can treat mild concerns like shallow scars, while a medium or deep peel can virtually eliminate larger spots and fine lines.

Long-Lasting Results

Patients who choose other non-invasive treatments may have to undergo multiple sessions to achieve their desired outcome. One medium to deep peel, on the other hand, is often enough to produce dramatic results.

What does a chemical peel do?

Over 100,000 Patients Benefited from Chemical Peels in 2017

Chemical peel infographic

*According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery

Can anyone receive a chemical peel?

You May Not Be a Candidate, Or Have Only Limited Candidacy Due To:

Dark Complexion

Darker complexions face a greater risk of hypo- and hyperpigmentation.

Tendency to Scar

Patients who scar easily or get keloids may be at higher risk of further scarring.

Isotretinoin Use

If you've used isotretinoin acne medication recently, you may be more prone to scarring.

Frequent Cold Sores

Chemical peels can lead to cold sore outbreaks, especially if you have frequent flare-ups.

High BP

If you have high blood pressure, depression, or diabetes, chemical peels can cause cardiac arrhythmia.

Are Chemical Peels Safe?

skin imperfections For the right candidates, chemical peels are not dangerous. In fact, many of the side effects patients experience are minor, such as irritation, peeling, and redness. During your consultation, your doctor will thoroughly screen your candidacy and look for any conditions that may increase your risk of complications.

So what does a chemical peel involve?

Understanding the Chemical Peel Process


Before undergoing a chemical peel, you should stop taking certain medications and refrain from applying topical creams and gels such as Retin-A, Renova, and glycolic acid. Your doctor may also prescribe pain medication or antibiotics to prevent infection.


The first step involves cleaning your skin thoroughly with a gentle cleanser. If you are receiving a deep peel, the doctor may also apply a local anesthetic. Once your skin is prepared, the doctor can apply a chemical solution, such as glycolic acid, salicylic acid, or lactic acid, to the skin. It is common to feel a burning or stinging sensation during this process.


Over the next three to 14 days, your skin will begin to peel and slough off. You may also experience swelling and blisters. It is important to minimize sun exposure for several months following a chemical peel, as your skin will be especially sensitive.

Let's take a closer look...

Noticeable Skin Improvement

After your chemical peel and subsequent downtime, you can expect to see a noticeable improvement in the appearance of your skin. However, the extent of your results will depend on the type of chemical peel you receive. You should see an improvement in the tone and texture of your skin with your first treatment. If you undergo a deep chemical peel, you should experience a more drastic improvement. Patients who receive superficial peels typically require several treatment sessions to achieve their desired results.

Understanding the 3 Depths of Peels

Follow Your Doctor's Instructions

If you are unsure whether any medications, habits, or activities will impact your recovery, you should contact your doctor for clarification. There are several critical instructions that can help minimize your risk of complications, including:

  • Avoid exposure to UV light one week before and two weeks after
  • Do not undergo waxing or use hair removal creams for two weeks before and after treatment
  • Do not pick or rub the skin while it is healing
  • Make sure your skin remains moisturized as you peel
  • Avoid strenuous activity that will cause sweating for two to three days
  • Use a mild cleanser to wash your face twice per day while you are peeling to help prevent dryness

Additionally, it is important to note your skin will need to peel over the course of several days. For superficial peels, the skin may appear red or pink for the first two days and then begin to peel for another three days. Medium-depth peels cause the skin to darken and thicken, with peeling occurring for about five days with the last three typically being the most severe. Finally, a deep peel usually leads to heavy peeling that looks similar to scabbing from about day four to 10 of recovery. As such, many patients choose to make accommodations for private downtime after these peels.

This sounds great, but is a chemical peel affordable?

Improving Your Skin Carries a Relatively Low Price

The average price of a chemical peel is $698, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgery. This excludes facility fees, anesthesia, and other related costs. Though chemical peels are not covered by insurance, some doctors offer financing plans to assist with out-of-pocket expenses.

Is a chemical peel the only way to make my skin look younger?

You Have Other Options

If you are interested in a less invasive alternative, you may consider microdermabrasion, which can address mild concerns like shallow scars and fine lines. If you wish to address more significant issues, such as skin laxity or deep wrinkles, a face lift, brow lift, or dermal filler may be a better choice.

Let's take a closer look at these options...

The Best Treatment for You Will Depend on Your Goals

microdermabrasion Microdermabrasion

Using a special tool to exfoliate and remove dead skin cells, microdermabrasion is a virtually painless procedure that reveals a healthier layer of skin below.

facial plastic surgery Facial Plastic Surgery

Procedures such as a brow or face lift require surgical removal of excess tissue, followed by tightening to rejuvenate your appearance.

dermal fillers Dermal Fillers

Dermal fillers can be administered in targeted areas to reduce skin imperfections and create a smoother appearance.

ipl photofacial IPL Photofacial

This non-invasive treatment can address a variety of minor skin conditions using a special device that administers pulsing light to trigger a healing response.

laser skin resurfacing Laser Skin Resurfacing

A laser is applied to remove damaged layers of the skin and stimulate collagen production, which heals the skin for a smoother tone and texture.

Are any of these treatments more affordable than a chemical peel?

Microdermabrasion & Photofacials Are Usually Less Expensive

Procedure Cost
Chemical Peels $698 average per session
Microdermabrasion $149 average per session
Face Lift $7,448
Brow Lift $3,374
Dermal Fillers $600 to $1,000 per session
IPL Photofacial $392 average per session
Laser Skin Resurfacing $1,000 to $2,000

Will I need to take time off work for any of these treatments?

Downtime Required after Alternative Treatments


There is no downtime required after a microdermabrasion session, allowing you to go about your day as normal.

Facial Plastic Surgery

Facial plastic surgery can require two weeks or longer away from work.

Dermal Fillers

You can return to work immediately after receiving dermal fillers.

IPL Photofacial

Due to the non-invasive nature of this treatment, there is no downtime.

ArtboardCreated with Sketch.

Laser Skin Resurfacing

Initial recovery takes about two weeks, with noticeable redness, sensitivity, and peeling occurring.

Improving your skin is a phone call away...

You Have Options

You deserve to feel great about your skin. If you are unhappy with the way your skin looks or feels, talk to your doctor to find out whether a chemical peel is right for you.

Want More Information?

Contact a Doctor Near You.