Chemical Peels

Your natural, inherent beauty doesn’t have to hide from the world. A chemical peel is designed to improve the look and feel of your skin and enhance your appearance and self-confidence. Chemical peels can remove pre-cancerous skin growths, lighten age and sun spots, repair photodamage, soften acne facial scars and even control acne among many other health and beauty benefits.

Using high and low concentrations of various products to reduce fine wrinkles, blotchy pigment spots, rough skin and even some types of acne, chemical peels noticeably smooth the skin’s surface, and minimize fine lines and wrinkles. They also work to enhance the effect of topical anti-aging and acne medications. Typically, a series of three to six chemical peels are performed, two to four weeks apart, to achieve the desired result. To maintain the results, chemical peels are performed once every two to three months. 

The advantage of having a series of superficial peels is that they can accomplish the same result as deeper peels with minimal discomfort and a shorter recovery period. In fact, after superficial peels, you can go to work with only slight redness and peeling in most cases. However, sometimes deeper peels are needed for a person with a great amount of sun damage. Our cosmetic dermatology specialist will discuss these options with you.

Swan Dermatology & Aesthetics currently offers three different types of superficial chemical peels:

  1. Glycolic acid: a derivative of sugar cane used in concentrations ranging from 20-70% for visible results with little to no down time. Glycolic peels gently resurface the skin to reveal smoother, younger looking skin and help improve texture and pigmentation.
  2. The Salicylic acid peel: a five minute skin renewal treatment that features the popular beta hydroxyacid. The treatment lifts dead, dull cells off the surface of your skin, and stimulates a “burst of renewal” to bring healthy, young, living cells to the surface. The results are smoother, softer and more radiant skin. Even acne scars and enlarged pores may become less visible. The Salicylic acid peel requires no recuperation.
  3. TCA (trichloroacetic acid) peels: slightly more aggressive than glycolic and salicylic acid peels. Used for superficial to medium-depth peels, they are often called “freshening peels” because they effectively create a fresh, natural complexion, while preserving the normal skin color. TCA peels can improve a number of conditions, including dull and weathered skin, blotchy pigmentation, sun damage, wrinkles and superficial acne scars.

Our qualified dermatology specialists will help you decide which type of chemical peel is right for you, based on the type of skin conditions you hope to improve, the speed in which you expect to see results and the amount of peeling that is acceptable to you. They will set realistic expectations and design a treatment regimen that is best suited to meeting your needs.

+ Frequently Asked Questions

What areas can be treated with chemical peels? Chemical peels are most commonly used on the face, neck, chest, arms, hands, and back. Other areas may be treated depending on your particular skin issue.

What should I do before my appointment to get ready for my peel? On the day of your peel, you may cleanse as usual. If you use topical agents such as Retin-A, Renova, Differin, Tazorac, Avita, or glycolic acid products, discontinue use to the area to be treated for 2-3 days prior to your appointment.

Is there any condition I may have that I should make the doctor aware of before I have my peel? If you suffer from fever blisters (cold sores), advise the nurse or doctor before you have a facial chemical peel. These sometimes recur after chemical peels, so you may be placed on a medication to prevent this. Elective procedures, such as chemical peels, are usually avoided during pregnancy.

What should I expect of the procedure itself? We will have you cleanse your face with a special cleanser to remove makeup and some of the skin oils. The skin to be treated will be degreased with alcohol, and allowed to dry. The chemical peeling agent will be applied and left on for approximately 3-5 minutes. You will feel a slight tingling or burning while the solution is on your skin. This will resolve a short time after the solution is removed. The solution is rinsed thoroughly with cold water, and then cool compresses are applied to soothe and cool the skin. Then, a light moisturizer with sunscreen will be applied.

How should I care for the treated area after the procedure? Your skin may appear slightly pink for one hour to two days following the peel. You may notice a tight feeling to your skin, along with mild to moderate flaking and peeling for up to ten days. Resist the temptation to manually peel off the dead skin during this process, as this may result in sores, scabbing or scarring. You may cleanse the skin gently with a mild, non-medicated topical cleanser. Do not scrub or use abrasive cleansers. For the following two to five days, avoid using topical retinoid agents such as Retin-A, Renova, Tazorac, Differin, or any product containing glycolic acid, salicylic acid, or benzoyl peroxide. Makeup may be applied as soon as 3 hours after your peel. Oil-free moisturizer may be applied as needed for dryness. It is essential that a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher be applied daily for at least four weeks following the chemical peel. We strongly encourage our patients to incorporate the use of sunscreen into their daily skin care regimen year-round.