A chemical peel is a procedure in which a chemical solution is applied to the skin to remove the top layers. The skin that grows back is smoother. With a light or medium peel, you may need to undergo the procedure more than once to get the desired results.
Chemical peels are used to treat wrinkles, discolored skin and scars — usually on the face. They can be done alone or combined with other cosmetic procedures. And they can be done at different depths, from light to deep. Deeper chemical peels offer more-dramatic results but also take longer to recover from.
A chemical peel is a skin-resurfacing procedure. Depending on the issues you’re addressing with the procedure, you’ll choose a chemical peel in one of three depths:
Light chemical peel: A light (superficial) chemical peel removes the outer layer of skin (epidermis). It’s used to treat fine wrinkles, acne, uneven skin tone and dryness. You might have a light peel every two to five weeks.
Medium chemical peel: A medium chemical peel removes skin cells from the epidermis and from portions of the upper part of your middle layer of skin (dermis). It’s used to treat wrinkles, acne scars and uneven skin tone. You might need to repeat the procedure to achieve or maintain the desired result.
Deep chemical peel: A deep chemical peel removes skin cells even deeper. Your doctor might recommend one for deeper wrinkles, scars or precancerous growths. You won’t need repeat procedures to get the full effect.
Chemical peels can’t remove deep scars or wrinkles or tighten sagging skin.