Chemical Peels

What is a chemical peel?

One of the most popular “lunchtime treatments” we offer at Chelsea Skin & Laser is a chemical peel.

Chemical peels are a fast-track to smoother, fresher, line-reduced skin. Creams, lotions, sun screen and serums are important components of a skin care program but offer limited long-term improvement. A peel helps improve the look and texture of your skin while offering a host of skin benefits. Chemical peels stimulate the skin to help heal itself, gently dissolving the surface layers of skin. 

A chemical peel is the application of a mild solution to the skin that is highly effective in the correction or improvement of skin clarity, tone and texture. The most commonly treated areas are the face, chest, hands and back. Peels address sun damage, wrinkling, red spots, brown spots, acne (current and residual marks), minor acne scarring and skin discolorations such as hyperpigmentation and melasma. The process is simple and is completed within 30 minutes. Multiple treatments are recommended for best results. We offer a variety of peels from mild to deep. Your provider will select the most appropriate peel to bring your skin to its optimum health.

What to do prior to the procedure:

Patients may have to temporarily discontinue certain parts of their skin care regimen. Retinols and glycolics should be stopped 5 days in advance. Please avoid waxing or using depilatory creams for 2 weeks prior to your peel, and avoid the sun (or tanning) the day prior to your peel.

It is important to notify your doctor if you have a history of cold sores, as an antiviral medication will need to be prescribed prior to your peel.

What to expect the day of the procedure:

The chemical peel is a three-step process of cleansing the skin, applying the chemical peel, and removing the peel. A soothing cream will be applied to the treated area. 

What to expect when you go home:

The treatment may cause temporary stinging, burning, discoloration, swelling, and/or peeling. The skin may look worse before it looks better. In severe cases, allergic reaction, infection, or scarring may rarely occur. Each patient will respond uniquely to a chemical peel treatment due to variables such as skin type, age, stress, conditions of the skin, sun damage, smoking history, climate, etc.

The most common side effects of redness and irritation should subside within 24 hours of treatment. With stronger strengths, patients may experience blisters, erosion, peeling, and possible crusting. Patients should wash with a gentle cleanser. Use a healing moisturizer for a minimum of 3 days after your peel. You may resume your normal skin care regimen, including retinols and glycolic acid, as soon as your skin feels normal (usually 3-7 days after a peel). It is important to refrain from tanning/direct exposure to the sun for 4 weeks after treatment. Avoid picking or helping the peeling skin off with your fingers or a loofah/washcloth. The skin will come off when it’s ready.

How many treatments will I need?

Most patients benefit from a monthly peel until their condition has significantly improved or resolved. This commonly takes a minimum of 3 peels. Your practitioner may make adjustments to the peel ingredients or strength based on your response to the prior peel. Several treatments may be needed to see optimal results.