Chemical Peels


Using glycolic acid or salicylic acid, this treatment can be given in a series to improve fine lines, wrinkles or pigment imperfections. Stronger acids can be used to achieve a medium or deep peel for deeper lines and wrinkles and a longer lasting effect.

What Do Chemical Peels Do To Facial Skin?

During a chemical peel treatment, a topical agent is applied to targeted areas of the face to remove the outer layers of the skin. A healthy, smooth new layer of skin grows back naturally to replace the removed layers. Many of our patients opt for this treatment to rid themselves of facial wrinkles, lines, minor blemishes and uneven skin pigmentation.

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Who Is a Chemical Peel Candidate?

You might be a candidate for a chemical peel if you want to minimize the appearance of problems affecting the tone or texture of your skin with an in-office, non-surgical treatment.

If you have a naturally dark skin tone, a history of abnormal scarring or a condition that makes your skin very sensitive, you might not qualify for a chemical peel.

The best way to determine your candidacy is to consult with Dr. Lee and our team at Enhance® Medical Center.

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Types of Peels Available

There are three primary types of chemical peels.

Light Peel

A light or superficial peel gently exfoliates the outermost layer of the skin (epidermis) using mild acids like alpha hydroxyl or beta hydroxyl. Light peels are good for treating wrinkles, acne, dryness and uneven skin tone.

Medium Peel

A medium peel removes skin cells from the epidermis and the upper part of the middle layer of skin (dermis) with agents such as TCA (trichloroacetic acid), Jessner’s solution or glycolic acid. Medium peels can also treat wrinkles, acne scars and uneven skin tone.

Deep Peel

A deep peel completely penetrates the epidermis and the dermis using a chemical called phenol. Deep peels treat deeper wrinkles, scarring, sun damage, blotchy areas and pre-cancerous growths.

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How long Is Chemical Peel Recovery?

Although usually quite short, recovery time varies depending on the strength of the treatment as well as individual factors. Shortly after treatment the skin starts to visibly peel. The peeling process can last 3-5 days, depending on the treatment. Use of gentle cleanser, moisturizer and sunscreen can improve the results. Use of other prescription topicals should be avoided.

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When Can I Resume My Daily Routine?

No downtime is necessary after a chemical peel. However, Dr. Lee recommends avoiding strenuous exercise and other activities for 2-3 days after the treatment.

Sun exposure and high heat should be avoided while recovering. Prolonged time in the sun may cause swelling, redness and uncomfortable blistering.

During the peeling process, the skin should be allowed to flake off naturally. We encourage patients not to pick or pull any skin, as it may lead to scarring.

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Is a Chemical Peel Painful?

Patients usually experience mild discomfort. Your skin will feel tighter and be more red than usual within a few hours.

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Chemical Peel Frequently Asked Questions

What products or procedures should I avoid before a chemical peel?

Approximately one week before a chemical peel, avoid facial scrubs, waxing, laser hair removal or using depilatory hair removal creams or bleaching products. You should not receive treatment with Botox or filler products. Two to three days prior to the peel, avoid using prescription topical creams containing retinol (e.g., Retin-A), benzoyl peroxide, alpha hydroxyl acids or beta hydroxyl acids.

What are the counterindications to chemical peels?

You should avoid chemical peels if you have any of the following in the target treatment area:
• active cold sores
• warts
• sunburned skin
• a rash
• otherwise wounded skin

You should also avoid chemical peels if you are pregnant or nursing, if you have taken isotretinoin medication for acne (e.g., Accutane) in the past six months or if you have abnormal skin pigmentation.

If you have questions about whether chemical peel is right for you, Dr. Lee and our team are happy to consult with you.

How do I prepare for a chemical peel?

In addition to avoiding the products and procedures mentioned above, you should be diligent about using sun protection for at least four weeks leading up to the procedure. On the day of the procedure, men should not shave.

Is the treatment safe?

When performed by a qualified provider, chemical peel is a very safe procedure. Rarely, complications such as infection or scarring can occur from chemical peels. There is also a slight risk of a flare-up for patients prone to cold sores from herpes.

Are there financing options?

Our office would be happy to address financing questions over the phone or via email.

How long is a typical treatment?

The treatment time for a chemical peel depends on the depth of the peel and the area being treated. A full-face chemical peel can take up to an hour and a half.

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