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What is a Chemical Peel?

A chemical peel is one of the least invasive ways to improve the skin's texture and appearance, especially for the face, neck or hands. A chemical peel involves the application of a special chemical solution to remove or exfoliate the damaged outer layers of the skin or epidermis. There are various levels of chemical peels, including light, medium or deep applications. Penn dermatologists use a safe chemical solution to remove the damaged outer layer of the skin to give it a lightened and refreshed appearance or to soften and smooth fine lines or other uneven textures.

Also called chemexfoliation or derma peeling, chemical peels can help create a smoother and refreshed appearance from problems related to:

  • Acne scarring
  • Aging skin
  • Dull or discolored skin
  • Fine lines near the eyes and mouth
  • Freckles
  • Mild scarring
  • Rosacea
  • Uneven skin tones
  • Wrinkles from aging, sun exposure or heredity

What To Expect During a Chemical Peel

Prior to treatment, some patients may be asked to stop taking certain oral medications or to use a topical skin solution.

The treatment involves cleansing the facial area and brushing a safe chemical exfoliation solution on the skin. It is left on for a specified time period followed by washing, neutralizing and moisturizing. There are various levels of chemical peels that may require additional steps or a greater time commitment. A Penn dermatologist carefully examines every patient prior to the procedure to determine the best treatment approach.

Some mild stinging or tingling sensations may occur during the chemical application process. In addition, some patients' skin may turn reddish or brownish in color after the procedure for a short period of time. Patients often opt to return on a regular maintenance schedule to maintain their healthy and newly refreshed skin.

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