What are they? A type of chemical exfoliation that involves using controlled acids on the skin to digest dead skin cells as well as deliver other benefits. There is an array of acids that could be used in chemical peels that address different skin concerns. Peels vary in strength with some causing the patient to experience extreme shedding of the skin and some causing no visible shedding at all.
Peels can help:
• Correct sun damage
• Reduce mild scarring
• Reduce fine lines
• Improve skin tone and texture
• Dissolve open comedones (blackheads)
• Reduce excessive oil production
Peels cannot help:
• Improve skin discoloration in skin types IV-VI (4-6)
• Diminish the appearance of blood vessels
• Decrease pore size
• Reduce keloid scars
• Remove deep wrinkles
The type and strength of the peel given should be determined by your esthetician based on your skin type, condition, concerns, and other factors. Professional peels usually contain 10-20% active ingredients, while at-home peels contain 1-5% active ingredients.
Mild to moderate strength chemical peels usually contain at least one of the following acids:
• Glycolic Acid – an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA)
• Salicylic Acid – a beta-hydroxy acid (BHA), best for those with oily/acneic skin
• Lactic Acid – an AHA, best acid for sensitive skin and the most hydrating
• TCA (Trichloroacetic Acid) – derived from acetic acid
Jessner’s Peel’s contain a combination of salicylic acid, lactic acid, and resorcinol.
To prepare for a chemical peel, products and procedures that can cause skin sensitivity should be avoided a few days before the procedure. This includes retinol and glycolics. The treatment itself should take between 30 and 45 minutes. Tolerance to each peel varies from a few minutes of slight tingling to a burning sensation, but a handheld fan is used to make the treatment comfortable.
After the procedure, a mild redness is expected, which can last until the peeling has subsided. Peeling usually begins about 48 hours after the procedure and can range from mild flaking to the skin peeling in sheets. The patient will receive all the benefits of the peel no matter how much skin actually peels off.
Usually peeling lasts for 3 to 5 days, and during this time a mild cleanser, moisturizer, and SPF 30+ should be the only products used. SPF should be applied every 2 hours throughout the day. You can continue your regular skincare regimen once the peeling has subsided. Most peels can be done in a series of 3 to 6 every 4 to 6 weeks.


Nikki Catania, LE