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Benefits of a Chemical Peel

Updated on June 8, 2010

Chemical peeling removes damaged outer layers of facial skin using a chemical solution. Chemical peeling can be a great way to get more youthful looking skin without going through the expense and trouble of having cosmetic surgery. The benefits of a chemical peel include smoother facial skin and the removal of facial blemishes and wrinkles. It also tones uneven skin pigmentation. Besides its cosmetic benefits, chemical facial peels can also remove pre-cancerous skin growths, lessen the appearance of facial scars and help to control acne. Some insurance companies will cover the costs of a chemical facial peel.

The chemical solution used in chemical facial peels is made up of phenol, trichloroacetic acid (TCA) and alphahydroxy acids (AHAs). The solution used depends on the needs of each individual patient. While a chemical facial peel cannot produce the results of a facelift or other surgeries which reduce the signs of age, it can be very helpful in giving patients smoother-looking skin.

Each of the three chemicals produces a different depth of chemical facial peel. Alphahydroxy acids (AHAs) are the mildest of the peel formulas and are used for light peels—primarily to remove fine wrinkling, areas of dry skin, uneven coloration and acne. Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) produces a moderate-depth chemical facial peel that smoothes wrinkles and corrects blemishes and pigment issues. Phenol chemical facial peels are the deepest and strongest chemical facial peels. These peels are recommended for patients with deep facial wrinkles, areas of skin damaged by exposure to the sun, or pre-cancerous growths.

In addition, chemical facial peels can make skin softer, and by bringing new skin cells to the surface, skin absorbs moisture more easily for a fresher look. Peeling off the outer layer of skin also removes blackheads and clogged pores that can make skin look dull.

Chemical peeling corrects blotchy, wrinkly, or discolored skin. Patients often see the results soon after treatment. All chemical facial peels require recovery after treatment. TCA peels are not as deep as phenol peels and requires a shorter recovery period. Phenol chemical peels can require several months of recovery during which treated facial skin should not be exposed to the sun. AHA and TCA peels may need to be repeated every few years, while phenol peels generally do not need to be repeated. While a chemical peel offers many benefits, patients should consult their doctors carefully before getting a chemical peel to decide if it is the right treatment for them.

Although chemical peels can do great things for the appearance of your skin, you should be aware of the dangers of chemical peels. Your skin will be different before and after a chemical peel, but sometimes for the worse. Dangers of chemical peels vary depending upon which of the three types of chemical facial peel is done. AHA chemical peels are fast treatments that offer a fast recovery period. This peel is not very deep, so only the outer skin is burned off during the process. However, chemical peel results of an AHA peel can include redness and flaking.  These can be treated with medication and the skin should not be exposed to the sun for 3 days following treatment.

Image Credit: Victor Bezrukov, Flickr


Submit a Comment

  • myawn profile image


    8 years ago from Florida

    I would consider maybe a light peel good info

  • 2besure profile image

    Pamela Lipscomb 

    8 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

    I have been wondering about if I should get a chemical peel. Thanks

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 

    8 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Lela, While I like the idea of looking better I am concerned with the possible ill effects. Thanks for an interesting article.


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