What is a Facial Peel?

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  • Written By: Carrie Grosvenor
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 29 October 2018
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A facial peel is a cosmetic, chemical treatment that can be performed at by or with a dermatologist to help lessen the appearance of blemishes, freckles, age spots, light scarring, and any number of other skin irregularities on the face. Also called chemical peels, they can improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and give new life to sun-damaged skin.

Commercial facial peel creams and dermabrasion systems can be purchased at drugstores or beauty supply shops. These products offer a mild concoction of chemicals and alphahydroxy acids that remove dead skin cells, uncovering layers of new skin that look fresher and more even in tone. The cream is applied to the face and left for several minutes to work, then scrubbed or rinsed off with water. Some systems come with a dermabrasion tool that works the facial peel into the skin, sloughing off dead skin cells in the process. Allergic reactions are possible with topical peel treatments, so always test a small patch of skin first before proceeding.


For a deeper peel, a dermatologist can recommend a professional facial peel to be performed by a plastic surgeon. These can be done with stronger chemical creams, or even with laser surgery. Generally speaking, a professional peel will remove more layers of skin, thereby removing or at least lessening the appearance of deeper and darker blemishes. The procedure is most successful with superficial skin marks and scarring; those with deep scarring or large patches of dark pigmentation are not good candidates for a chemical peel. These procedures are also effective in reducing wrinkles without having to undergo a complete facelift.

There are some risks involved with having a chemical facial peel. Some of the chemicals used in them can cause bleaching of the skin, and there is a slight risk of infection and even scarring. After a chemical peel, the skin will appear red and swollen, and feel tender to the touch. Scabs may form as well, since layers of the skin are burned off with the chemicals. Normally these side-effects will resolve themselves after a few days, but with very deep facial peels the recovery time is much longer.

Facial peels are purely cosmetic in nature. They do not slow down the aging process, nor do they cure chronic skin conditions. Mild peels can be repeated every three to six months, but deeper peels require more time between procedures to allow the skin to recover and renew itself. As with any surgical procedure, consult with your doctor before undergoing a chemical facial peel. Make certain that your plastic surgeon is qualified and capable, and pay close attention to the information you'll receive regarding care and treatment for your face once the procedure has been completed.


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Post 15

I am 37 years old. I have a black spot on my face and sun damaged skin. Which type of peel is suitable for me and what is the cost of that treatment?

Post 14

I was born in the Fiji Islands. It is a tropical island and I never had any problems growing up. In 1986, I emigrated to the USA and I don't know much about the weather. I still use the Dove brand for my sensitive skin.

In 1994, I had ovarian surgery and later I had spinal surgery in 1999. I do not know if taking the medication caused it or what. In 2001, I saw the skin doctor and he wrote a prescription for me. The name of the RX was TRI-Luma. I used the day cream and the night cream.

I was having light peeling, but I was very happy with the result. In 2004 I moved to Missouri

, and in 2005 I had a car accident and the air bag hit my face.

Since then, the darkness I have is very painful and the cream I was using in not working at all. I would like to know what should I apply. Your cooperation will be highly appreciated.

Post 13

Lemon is very useful for human benefits because it is having citric acid in it so that is why it makes the human skin fresh and fair and makes the immune system much much better.

Post 12

Facial peels are done for hyper pigmentation and acne. They are very effective methods of getting rid from pigmentation, dark spots and acne. Facial peels come in various varieties. They also make our skin glow and clear the complexion. I did it once. I always prefer a good dermatologist for a facial peel.

Post 9

i had crystal peeling five times and was still having dark spots. What can i do then? chemical peeling or continue crystal peeling?

Post 8

I am a 26 year old Indian student and I underwent a chemical peel from a local spa. After the peel I have dark spots on my skin which I think is hyperpigmentation (or may be I am wrong. It is on my temple and on my chin. Please suggest me something that can help get rid of these.

Post 7

I would like to know like is there any treatment for hereditary problems of the skin. I have dark spots all over my face and day by day its increasing, it's because my father's family have this skin problem as a hereditary. Is there any treatment which can solve my problem? Please help me out.

Post 6

I am a 16 year old girl and need to find out which kind of peel, like like fruit or diamond will remove the dullness of my facial skin?

Post 5

How many times is it safe to go for a peel?

Post 4

My dermatologist has suggested that I do a fruit peel treatment once every 2 weeks. Is that safe?

Post 3

I am a 37 year-old light-skinned woman. I would like to know if some drugs would enhance the side-effects of a light peeling program. For example, antihistamines, vitamin A, luthein, and sedatives to induce sleep.

Thank you.

Post 2

I had a diamond peel once to resolve my melasma. I am 45 yo male. My patch advanced close to my ear on both cheeks. Do you think the peel made it worse? I did not diligently use the sunscreen the dermatologist gave me as it is too strong for my nose. Instead I used a lotion with UVA/UVB protection. I stopped the peel after reading the possible side effects.

Post 1

I would like to find out more about facial laser surgery.

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