Chemical peels, the benefits, what you should know, which one is right for you?

Chemical Peels Information

Chemical peels are a popular treatment for maintaining and treating skin imperfections such as pigmentation, acne and unevenness. cosmetic treatments that can be applied to the face, hands, and neck to improve skins appearance by removing the surface skin revealing healthy skin underneath.

There are several types of chemical peels ranging in strength from light, medium and deep peels, with an appointment lasting between 30-90 minutes.

Chemical peels are generally safe when they’re used in the right hands however it is best to have a chat to a professional to discuss your options, concerns to understand which one is most suitable for you.

Types of Chemical Peels

Superficial peels

The gentlest of all the peels can be made from simple fruit enzymes or mild acids like alpha-hydroxy, Glycolic or Salicylic acid which gently exfoliate the skin, removing the dead skin cells on the surface area.

Light peels only penetrate the outermost layer of skin so a treatment can be done in your lunch break and is normally quick as it is applied for around 15 minutes. There may be a little redness directly afterwards however skin will appear tighter and more radiant within 2 to 3 weeks post treatment.

Optimal results will accumulate after 5 to 6 treatments spaced 3 to 4 weeks apart.

Medium peels

Medium facial peels should be applied only by aboard-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeons. This treatment suits people wanting more dramatic results, making it more effective for removing damaged skin cells best in eliminating fine wrinkles, and enhancing the skins vitality.

The most common ingredients used in a medium peel are trichloroacetic and glycolic acid to reach the middle and outer layer of skin.

Pain management or sedatives can be used at your doctor’s discretion, expect mild swelling, redness, scabbing, flaking, and peeling afterwards with recovery time between 1-2 weeks, so it is best to allow some down time afterwards.

The results will last for six months to a year and can be repeated every 4-6 months.

Deep peels

Deep peels fully penetrate the middle layer of the skin to remove damaged skin cells. They often use phenol or trichloroacetic acid and address more serious imperfections like coarse wrinkles, blotchiness and acne scars. Compared to light or medium peels, deep peels have a more dramatic result, with only a single treatment required. However, in saying this the recovery time is lengthy and uncomfortable compared to the superficial and medium peels.

Benefits of Chemical peels

Chemical peels are often done by people in the hope of treating wrinkles or fine lines, sun damage, acne scars, hyperpigmentation or uneven skin tone. They can leave your skin looking more rejuvenated creating a ‘glowing’ look, smoothing the surface and allowing new skin to grow. Apart from some level of discomfort immediately afterwards it is relatively pain free.

Citric acid and salicylic peels are best for lightening any unwanted pigmentation. There are also options for dry sensitive skin using Lactic acid derived from milk.

The process of chemical peels

There are a few steps on your part to prepare your skin before and after the treatment.

The process starts with your face being cleaned, you’ll be given eye protection goggles or something to cover your eyes.

For a deep peel you will be given a topical anaesthetic and you’ll have your heart rate closely monitored. This is because the phenol used in deep peels can actually damage the heart muscle, kidneys, and liver, and cause irregular heartbeats.

The skin will immediately look red with some possible swelling, drying, and flaking that will subside as quickly as the next day, or over several days with more aggressive treatments. Makeup can be applied as early as two hours after the treatment to conceal any redness.

Treatment afterwards

  • Avoid exposing the treated skin to the sun and always use sun block
  • No exercise as it will cause the area to get heated and swell
  • The doctor will advise you on post treatment directions and may treat the area with moisture
  • Keep the area cool with a cold press or face cloth
  • Use just water or a very gentle soap free cleanser
  • Let it heal and that means no peeling or picking and definitely no exfoliating the area.

The risks

Some of the risks can include change in pigmentation, darkening or lightening of the skin colour, scarring and infection, although rare.

Most patients will experience some discomfort depending on the level of treatment, a little tingling, tightness, or a change in temperature on the treated area is a given.

Allow one to seven days for the treated area to heal depending on the type of peel.

The cost of chemical peels

Light peels can cost as low as $150 with deep peels costing a lot more. The current average cost of a chemical peel is around $600-$700.


It is important to do your research so you are aware of the process and down time as well as any after effects.

Chemical peels can be most effective in correcting uneven tone, fine lines and wrinkles, dark spots and even acne effectively. Patients are better served by consulting one of our professionals before deciding on a treatment as they can offer you a professional advice regarding specialised treatment for your area of concern.