A chemical skin peel is a popular procedure used to treat various skin
problems, like acne, age spots and wrinkles.
A chemical solution is applied
to the skin to improve and smooth the skin
(usually on the face) by
removing the damaged outer layers.
It sounds like the answer to a lot of
people’s problems, but it is important
to remember there might be risks or
There are basically three different types of peel available: the light,
superficial, peels (AHA) medium peels (TCA) and deep peels (Phenols).
Glycolic acid is used, which is a mild chemical
solution. These are the most common
peels and remove the top layer of skin to
reveal healthy skin underneath.
They are for superficial skin problems only. It is quick and easy, and
often known as a “lunch-time procedure”. The face is cleansed and the peel
applied for around ten to fifteen minutes. You may experience a mild
tingling, stinging feeling. The peel is then washed off.
Trichloroacetic acids or TCAs are used which are
stronger than glycolic acid are used. These penetrate further into the skin to
reduce acne scars, smaller wrinkles and will help to even out skin tone.
The skin is cleansed and the peel applied. The area turns a whitish-grey
colour and a saline compress is applied to neutralise the acid in the peel. Your
face may swell while the peel is applied and you may experience a burning,
stinging feeling for around an hour after the treatment.
Carbolic acid is used for deep exfoliation. These are not
and penetrate deeper to reduce deep scarring and wrinkles.
You will be given a
local anaesthetic and sometimes be sedated. The skin is
cleansed and the peel
applied for around 30 minutes before being
The skin will be pink afterwards but there
should be no
after-effects. It may also show faint discolouration or
blotches but these
should fade soon after. You should repeat the procedure
every week for four to
six weeks, then monthly after that. Your skin should
be radiant and glowing
Recovery takes around a week and your skin will
be itchy then start to peel. It may be a dark brown colour to begin with
and when it has peeled, become a bright red which will fade over the
following three to
six weeks. You should repeat the treatment monthly until
you reach the desired
effect and then maintain the result with treatments
every six to 12 months. The
results will not be seen immediately but the
appearance of your skin will
visibly improve once the skin has healed.
You can expect to feel unwell after the peel and
experience moderate to severe pain for the following days. Your face will be
itchy and swollen and it will be around two weeks before you probably want to be
seen in public. But the results are dramatic and the effects can last up to ten