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chemical skin peel

Chemical peels aim to improve the skin of the face or body by using a chemical solution, resulting in controlled destruction at a specific level of the skin. The result is usually the sloughing off of the dead skin with regeneration of newer healthier tissue. The regenerated skin is smoother, less wrinkled and has less pigmentation than the old skin. At Beautoxology we offer a range of skin peels and we will advise what we believe will be effective following an in-depth skin consultation.

Chemical skin peels are one of the oldest cosmetic treatments performed, dating back to ancient Egyptian times when, natural acids derived from fruit and milk were applied to the skin in the name of beauty. As knowledge and science have advanced, chemical peels are much more sophisticated and specific to a variety of skin problems, including uneven pigmentation, dull, dry or oily skin, wrinkles, blocked pores and acne. 




Chemical peels are usually classified according to depth of penetration and injury caused.

Superficial Peels - Alpha hydroxyl acids (AHA) act on the superficial uppermost layer of the epidermis with temporary results.

Medium/deep depth Peels - Trychloroacetic acid (TCA) penetrates through the five layers of the epidermis and acts on the uppermost layer of the dermis. If the TCA peel is applied for five minutes it will act as a superficial peel, if left for 15 minutes it has a deeper peel effect. This causes a stinging or burning sensation. TCA peels should only be performed by a qualified Nurse or a Doctor.

The diagram below illustrated how different strength peels affect the different layers in the skin.



Chemical Peels are used to treat the following:

  • Dull, tired looking skin

  • Hyperpigmentation and sun damaged skin

  • Oily or dry skin conditions

  • Fine lines and wrinkles

  • Acne prone skin

  • Open pores

  • Sun damaged and photo aged skin




Prior to application the skin is cleansed and thoroughly scrubbed with an antimicrobial solution. This is to remove all sweat and sebum and to reduce the incidence of infection. The peel is painted onto the skin using a cotton applicator. The end point is identified when the skin changes to a white frosting effect. At this point the peel is neutralised using an appropriate cooling ointment. This ointment will help cool the skin and reduce some of the dryness of the skin post treatment.

Superficial peels (AHA) are managed in the same way but frosting of the skin does not occur and the chemical peel is neutralised with cool water.



Immediately after a medium depth chemical peel, the skin can be swollen and feel tight. Continuous application of moisturisers several times per day are recommended. The top layer of the skin will separate from the underlying skin on around the third day and there will be associated serous fluid and crusting.

After the superficial layer has cleared, patients usually notice the new skin is brighter and more even. Pigmentation and blemishes should have reduced and fine lines and wrinkles should have lifted. The process of new skin remodelling is ongoing and will result in stimulation of new collagen after about 6-8 weeks.

Depending on the amount of photo damage and ageing, further peels may be recommended to continue the rejuvenation and to achieve optimal results.



Superficial peels- you may be pink, this will settle within hours. Your skin may become a little dry and tight, but you may not be aware of any obvious peeling.

Medium depth peels- you may be pink, your skin will feel tight and dry. It may darken in patches prior to peeling, much like a sunburn peel. The peeling usually begins on day 3 or 4 and may last for up to 10 days.



Your clinician will provide you with advice on aftercare and treatment regimens/courses recommended for best results. Such advice will vary depending on the peel used.

It is very important that you follow the aftercare advice of your practitioner to help make the procedure as successful as possible and to reduce the risk of complications.

Post treatment advice would be:

  • Using tepid water to cleanse the face for the first 48 hours following treatment and drying the area by gentle patting with a clean dry towel.

  • Ensuring that hands are always clean when touching the area treated, to avoid infection.

  • Not applying conventional make-up products to the skin for the first 12 hours following treatment, some mineral based make-up products are able to be applied as recommended by your practitioner

  • Applying a rich moisturiser several times per day as this will reduce recovery time.

  • Applying a sunscreen product with a high SPF (30-50).

  • Not picking at the exfoliating epidermis as this may cause scarring.

  • Vigorous exercise, sun exposure and sun beds should be avoided for 48 hours post treatment, or as advised by your clinician.

  • No steam room or sauna for 2 weeks post treatment



Superficial peels may sting, prickle or feel hot for a brief minute or two, but are not described as painful.

Medium depth peels can sting and do feel hot, a cool fan helps you manage this unpleasant sensation and it passes within minutes.



All treatments carry a degree of risk. All risks and complications will be discussed with you at consultation and prior to any treatment being agreed.

A great deal of knowledge is required in order to assess skin type, identify any contraindications (medical or medicines), diagnose the skin condition, prescribe the appropriate peel for the right skin, to prepare the skin appropriately and to ensure appropriate aftercare in order to minimise risk and ensure good results are achieved safely.

Side effects include, but are not limited to

  • Redness

  • Tenderness

  • Dryness

  • Itching

  • Peeling

  • Altered pigmentation patches

All the above are expected to be temporary and settle spontaneously after 10-14 days.

Although rare, loss of pigment may occur and may be permanent.

Misuse of peels can cause permanent skin damage, increased and long-term sensitivity, altered pigmentation, infection and scarring.



Results will depend upon a number of factors, including the type of peel, skin preparation and aftercare, whether a single treatment, or a course of treatments.



Your practitioner will take a detailed medical history and an assessment of your skin type, needs and expectations to ensure this is an appropriate treatment for you, and to select the right peel for your skin type and expectations.

Treatment is not recommended:

  • If you are suffering from any skin infection in or near the treatment area or are unwell in any way (even a cold

  • If you have previously experienced allergic reactions to any ingredients in the peel solution.

  • If you are taking any medications that cause photosensitivity.

  • If you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

  • If you are currently or have recently completed a course of Roacutane (acne treatment) in the last 18 months.

  • Chemical peels on the face can trigger the cold sore virus. If you are a sufferer, you must advise your clinician in advance of treatment.

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