Chemical peel

A chemical peel is a skin-resurfacing procedure in which a chemical solution is applied to skin to peel away the top layers. The skin that grows back after a chemical peel is smoother and younger looking.

Chemical peels are used to treat wrinkles, skin discoloration and scars — typically on the face. A chemical peel can be done alone or in combination with other cosmetic procedures.

Chemical peels can be done at different depths — light, medium or deep — depending on your desired results. Each type of chemical peel uses a different chemical solution. Deeper chemical peels produce more-dramatic results, but also involve longer recovery times.


Why it's done Risks How you prepare What you can expect Results

A chemical peel can be used to treat various skin problems. Depending on the issues you're addressing with the procedure, you'll choose a chemical peel in one of three depths:

  • Light chemical peel. A light, or superficial, chemical peel removes the outer layer of skin (epidermis). It can be used to treat fine wrinkles, acne, uneven skin tone and dryness. You might have a light chemical peel as often as once a week for up to six weeks — depending on your desired results.
  • Medium chemical peel. This type of chemical peel removes skin cells from the epidermis and from portions of the upper part of your middle layer of skin (dermis). A medium chemical peel can treat wrinkles, acne scars and uneven skin tone. You might repeat a medium chemical peel every six to 12 months to maintain results.
  • Deep chemical peel. A deep chemical peel removes skin cells from the epidermis and from portions of the mid to lower layer of your dermis. Your doctor might recommend a deep chemical peel if you have deeper wrinkles, scars or precancerous growths.

A chemical peel can't eliminate deep scars or reduce the size of pores.

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