Chemical Peel Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What do chemical peels do?

A: Chemical peels can improve the texture and look of the skin, treat fine lines and wrinkles, improve the appearance of mild scarring, treat certain types of acne, reduce age spots, freckles or dark pigment due to hormones (melasma), and help reduce the risk of some skin cancers.

Q: How are chemical peels performed?

A: In preparation for a chemical peel, our aesthetician will perform a thorough skin care analysis and consultation and may place you on a skin care program for 2 weeks prior to your peel. Your skin will be cleansed to remove any surface oils and dead skin. A peel solution designed for your skin concern will be applied to the treatment area. The strength, time, and type of peel will vary from client to client.

Q: Does a chemical peel hurt?

A: You should expect to feel a slight tingling sensation, warmth, and tightening of the skin. Occasionally a stinging or pin pricking sensation is experienced. The deeper the chemical peel the more intense sensation or activity you will feel. Your aesthetician will use an activity scale from 1 to 5 to gauge your sensitivity and to keep you comfortable during the procedure.

Q: What is alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) and beta hydroxy acid (BHA) Peel?

A: Alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) is an organic carboxylic acid found in many foods and includes glycolic acid (sugar cane), lactic acid (milk), and citric acid (citrus fruits), among others. AHA compounds exhibit exfoliating properties. Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs), such as salicylic acid, are very similar to AHAs but are lipid-soluble instead of water-soluble. This characteristic allows it to penetrate into the skin through sebaceous follicles and may cause some flaking and light peeling.

Q: What is the typical recovery time for a peel?

A: Each individual is different and the recovery time will depend on the type and strength of peel you receive. Treatments may cause redness, tightness, peeling, flaking, light scabbing, or dryness. However, some clients may not experience any side effects at all, other than a smooth, radiant complexion. It is recommended that you avoid sun exposure, strenuous exercise, hot tubs and saunas several days following your peel and follow all post treatment guidelines. Usually after 3-10 days your skin has fully recovered.

Q: What should I stop using or doing before my peel?

A: Stop using any topical prescription gels or creams, retinoids, alpha hydroxy or beta hydroxy acids 5-7 days prior to your peel. Avoid any facial injections or waxing at least 72 hours before your peel.

Q: How many peels will I need to see a difference?

A: This depends on the quality of the skin and the goals of the client. Healthier skin may require only one superficial peel.  Skin with more damage may require a series of treatments over the course of several weeks or months.

Q: How long will the chemical peel results last?

A: The longevity of the results is dependent on how well you care for your skin after the peel. The skin will continue to naturally age, therefore, a good home care program and monthly maintenance facials or peels are essential to keeping the skin healthy and beautiful.

Q: When can I wear makeup after a chemical peel?

A: Makeup can be worn the next day.

Q: Should I take any medications before a chemical peel?

A: If you have a history of cold sores or herpes virus around your mouth area, you should take medications to prevent the recurrence of the virus. A chemical peel may cause an outbreak that can be prevented by these medications.

Q: Can a chemical peel reduce the risk of skin cancer?

A: Routinely receiving chemical peels may reduce skin cancer by exfoliating the mutated cells up and off of the skin. Areas of sun damage, which may contain pre-cancerous lesions, may also improve.

Q: What is the difference between a chemical peel and a facial?

A: Both are very beneficial treatments for your skin. The chemical peel applications performed at Skin Therapy of Charlotte are medical grade peel solutions to help correct a variety of skin conditions and maintain your skin’s health by increasing cellular renewal rate. A facial is a much more relaxing and lengthy treatment done to maintain healthy skin that is not in need of as much correction.