Questions About Chemical Peels


What is a chemical peel?

A chemical peel removes damaged or aged skin layers, revealing softer, more youthful skin. The procedure may use one of several exfoliating solutions, including Trichloroacetic acid (TCA), Phenol or Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs).

Are there different types of chemical peels?

Three types of peels are available.

  • A superficial peel is the mildest chemical peel and safe for all skin types. Glycolic acid or dry ice is the exfoliating solution used to perform a superficial peel.
  • A medium peel goes a bit deeper than a superficial peel and may cause a second-degree skin burn. The peeling agent used in a medium peel is trichloroacetic.
  • A deep peel penetrates several layers of skin using the peeling agent known as Phenol. Because a deep peel may cause skin bleaching, this procedure is not recommended for dark-skinned patients.

How is the chemical peel procedure performed?

The chemical peel procedure typically begins by prepping the skin with a specific skin care treatment or with microdermabrasion. Your skin will be scrubbed and a mild toner will be used to remove oils before gently applying the acidic solution designed to peel away dead, dull skin layers. The solution is left on your face for a set amount of time, then your skin is wiped clean and an antibacterial cream is applied to assist you with healing and feeling more comfortable.

What can I expect during recovery from a chemical peel?

The recovery time depends on the type of chemical peel you have received. Following Dr. Mandraccia's post-procedure instructions carefully will help you heal faster and more comfortably. Generally speaking, your skin will likely feel tight or sunburned. Using sunscreen and carefully cleansing and moisturizing as directed will speed up the healing time and help you achieve optimal results. You will be instructed to avoid sun exposure for several days, as well as avoiding excessive facial expressions that can cause the skin to tear and bleed. Loose skin will appear as it does with sunburn. Do not attempt to remove this skin, as this can cause scarring.

What risks might I face with a chemical peel?

Side effects are generally rare. However, a chemical peel does present some risk, particularly with a deep peel. Some side effects include:

  • Redness lasting several months
  • Skin discoloration causing darker or lighter patches around treated areas
  • Swelling
  • Crusty or scaly skin
  • Scarring
  • Infection
  • Allergic reaction
  • Increased sunlight sensitivity
  • Heart, liver, or kidney failure (rare)

If a chemical peel sounds right for you, please Schedule a chemical peel consultation with Fort Myers, Florida cosmetic surgeon Dr. Mandraccia.