Chemical Peels 101: Peeling Away Imperfections

Published on: Sep 19, 2023 / Last Updated on: Sep 19, 2023 / SKINCARE
Chemical Peels 101: Peeling Away Imperfections

In pursuing radiant and flawless skin, individuals have used various skincare treatments. Among these, chemical peels have emerged as a popular option for rejuvenating the skin and addressing imperfections. From mild blemishes to deep-set wrinkles, chemical peels offer a transformative solution that works beneath the surface to unveil a healthier complexion. Whether you're a skincare enthusiast seeking to enhance your routine or someone curious about the science of skincare, this article serves as your gateway to understanding the art of chemical peels.

What are Chemical Peels?

Chemical peels are dermatological treatments that involve the application of specialized chemical solutions to the skin's surface. The primary objective of a chemical peel is to exfoliate the outermost layers of the skin, inducing the shedding of damaged and dead skin cells. This process stimulates cell turnover, revealing fresher, smoother skin underneath.

Skin Conditions Treated By Chemical Peels

Chemical peels are versatile tools designed to tackle specific skin conditions and enhance appearance by revitalizing skin tone and texture. This transformative technique is most commonly employed on the face, neck, or hands, targeting a range of concerns with remarkable efficacy. Whether it's reducing fine lines around the eyes, correcting sun-induced wrinkles, or managing acne-related issues, chemical peels address diverse imperfections.

These peels are particularly effective for:

Fine Lines and Wrinkles

Fine lines and wrinkles can result from sun damage, aging, or genetic factors. Chemical peels can diminish the appearance of fine lines around the eyes, mouth, and other facial areas.


Chemical peels can effectively treat certain types of acne, offering relief and improved skin clarity.


Mild scars, including those left behind by acne, can be diminished through the exfoliating action of chemical peels.

Skin Discoloration

Chemical peels significantly reduce uneven skin coloring, sun spots, age spots, liver spots, and freckles, resulting in a more even and youthful complexion.

Actinic Keratosis

Actinic keratosis is the precancerous scaly spots. These spots are removed with chemical peels, enhancing skin health and appearance.

Skin Texture and Dullness

Chemical peels combat rough skin, scaly patches, and a lackluster complexion, revealing a smoother and more vibrant surface.


Dark patches caused by factors like pregnancy or birth control are treated with chemical peels, restoring a balanced skin tone.

Types of Chemical Peels

There are three main types of chemical peels:

Superficial Peels

These peels target the outermost layer of the skin, the epidermis. They primarily comprise alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) like glycolic acid and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) like salicylic acid. Superficial peels effectively treat minor imperfections such as uneven skin tone, fine lines, and mild acne.

Medium Peels

Medium peels target the epidermis and the upper layer of the dermis, penetrating profoundly into the skin. Typically using trichloroacetic acid (TCA), these peels can address moderate wrinkles, pigmentation issues, and more pronounced acne scars.

Deep Peels

These peels reach the middle layer of the dermis, offering the most dramatic results. Deep peels often employ phenol-based solutions to treat severe wrinkles, deep scars, and significant pigmentation irregularities. Due to their intensity, deep peels require careful consideration and consultation with a qualified practitioner.

How Do Chemical Peels Work?

facial chemical peel therapy

Chemical peels employ a simple yet effective principle to rejuvenate the skin. These treatments utilize specialized chemical solutions to accelerate the natural exfoliation, revealing fresher skin layers. A 2022 study explains the preparation and technique of the chemical peel process in detail. Here's a short summary of the process:

  • Exfoliation Boost: Skin naturally sheds dead cells. Chemical peels enhance this process by introducing exfoliating agents that speed up the removal of damaged skin cells.

  • Solution Penetration: Depending on the peel's depth, chemical solutions with active ingredients like AHAs, BHAs, or TCA are applied. These penetrate the epidermis or upper dermis, interacting with skin layers. The type of acids used in chemical peels depends on your condition.

  • Cell Renewal: The solution triggers controlled skin injury, prompting faster cell turnover. Old cells shed quickly, allowing new, healthier cells to surface.

  • Collagen Enhancement: Chemical peels also stimulate collagen production during healing. Collagen boosts skin structure, firmness, and elasticity, improving texture and reducing wrinkles.

  • Tailored Solutions: Peels target specific concerns. Superficial peels handle fine lines, pigmentation, and mild acne. Medium peels reach deeper for more pronounced wrinkles and scars. Deep peels address severe issues.

  • Healing Phase: After a peel, the skin undergoes temporary redness, peeling, and flaking. Following post-peel instructions is crucial for proper healing and lasting results.

Who is a Good Candidate for a Chemical Peeling?

Fair-skin and light-haired patients are ideal candidates for chemical peels. However, people with dark skin can also get chemical peel treatment but have uneven skin tone after the procedure. Patients with severe wrinkles, skin sags, and bulges should consider other treatments, such as face lifts, brow lifts, soft tissue fillers, etc., as chemical peels are ineffective for them.

Possible Risks and Side Effects of Chemical Peels

The aftermath of a chemical peel might involve transient and mild side effects, such as temporary redness, dryness, a tingling or burning sensation, and minor swelling. The ability to tan might be permanently compromised when opting for deeper peels.

Yet, in the realm of chemical peels, more significant risks warrant consideration due to their potential permanence. These risks include:

  • Alterations in Skin Tone: Changes in skin color, either darkening or lightening, can occur after chemical peels, particularly in individuals with darker skin tones.

  • Risk of Scarring: While the procedure aims to enhance your skin's appearance, an inadequate approach could lead to enduring scars. The appearance of scars emphasizes the critical need for precise execution of the procedure and dedicated adherence to post-peel care instructions.

  • Potential for Infections: Although rare, infections can arise post-chemical peels. Those with herpes simplex might witness flare-ups, and fungal or bacterial infections could occasionally surface.

  • Organ Damage: Deeper peels employing phenol pose risks to vital organs. This powerful substance can badly affect the heart muscle, kidneys, and liver, potentially leading to irregular heartbeats and organ damage.

Find a Provider Near You

In skincare treatments, chemical peels are effective solutions for rejuvenating the skin and addressing imperfections. Seeking guidance from qualified professionals at M Health and Beauty in Corona, California, can help you understand chemical peel treatment's potential risks and rewards. Call now to schedule an appointment.