Medical skin peeling (Medical strength chemical peels) is a dermatological procedure that deals with various common skin issues such as:

  • Photodamage (Sun-damaged skin).
  • Pigmentation.
  • Redness & Rosacea.
  • Fine lines.
  • Enlarged pores uneven skin tones.
  • Acne and scarring.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are the Various Types of Chemical Peels?

There are three types of medical skin peels that are used more commonly:

  1. Superficial or light peels

Superficial or light medical peels are the mildest and gentlest type of peels available and one of the procedures that can be performed during the lunchtime. They gently take off the top, dead layer of the skin called the epidermis. They give your skin a brighter look instantly as well as give a smoother, more even texture.

Light peels are commonly made using Alpha or Beta Hydroxy Acids, called AHAs and BHAs and include glycolic acid, lactic acid and salicylic acid. These days it is also common to use fruit enzymes and acids from natural sources like pumpkins, cranberries and pineapples as peeling agents.

  1. Medium-depth medical peels

Medium-depth peels provide results that are more dramatic than superficial peels. Generally derived from TCA (Trichloroacetic Acid), they penetrate deeper into the skin and can be used for the treatment of sun-damage, pigmentation, and fine lines. The drawback of medium depth peels is that you will have a longer recovery time of about 3 to 5 days.

  1. Deep medical peels

Deep peels are the strongest type of chemical peel that are available and can help achieve amazing outcomes for sun-damage, scarring and deep lines and wrinkles. They usually make use of carbolic acid (phenol peels) or high strength TCA to penetrate to the deeper layers of the skin.

  1. Common medical peeling agents:

TCA (Tri-chlor Acetic Acid) is one of the most largely used chemical peels in cosmetic dermatology. The concentration of the solution and contact time with the skin determines how deep the TCA will penetrate into the skin. TCA targets pigmented cells and stimulates the production of collagen. It is an excellent peeling agent for sun-damaged skin that exhibits sun spots, fine lines, and wrinkles.

Glycolic acid is one of the most commonly used peeling agents in the dermal therapy setting. It comes in varying strengths (30% – 90%) and different pH levels (levels of acidity) which will determine how deep it will penetrate and how much peeling you get. It can be used for the treatment of fine lines and wrinkles, sun damage, enhancement of skin texture, skin brightening.

Salicylic acid differs from other hydroxy acids in a way that it can penetrate deeper into the oil glands causing exfoliation even in the oily areas of the face and scalp, making it perfect for treatment of acne and oily skin.

Lactic acid occurs in a natural way in human skin and is also found in milk. It is less irritating than other AHAs and provides a natural moisturizing effect on the skin. It is perfect for skin brightening. It can be used for the treatment of pigmentation, dry or dehydrated skin, sensitive skin, and rosacea.

Fruit enzymes can also be used in the form of peeling agents. Commonly used fruit enzymes are obtained from fruits like papaya, pineapple, pumpkin, and cranberry. They have antibacterial properties, promote cell renewal and can digest oil from spots (sebum) and dead skin. They can be used for the treatment of acne, rosacea, dehydrated skin, hyper-reactive, and sensitive skin.

Tartaric acid comes from grapes and is a less irritating alternative when compared to glycolic acid for a milder exfoliation of the skin. It can also help enhance hydration. It can be used for the treatment of acne, photo damage, rosacea, superficial pigmentation, and eczema.

Malic acid is obtained from fruits such as apples and pears and like tartaric acid is a weaker AHA than glycolic acid. It can be used for the treatment of acne, photo damage, rosacea, superficial pigmentation, and eczema.

Citric acid is obtained from lemons and oranges and works in a similar way as tartaric and malic acids. It can be used for the treatment of acne, photo damage, rosacea, superficial pigmentation, and eczema.

Am I a Candidate for Medical Skin Peels?

Peels can enhance the appearance of your skin making it look healthy, vibrant, and fresh.

If you have any of the following problems, you could be a suitable candidate for a peel:

  • Dry skin.
  • Oily skin.
  • Acne.
  • Acne scarring.
  • Lines and wrinkles.
  • Pigmentation, redness & rosacea.
  • Sun damage.
  • Dull or lifeless skin.

If you have a history of poor skin healing and keloid scarring you may not be appropriate for a peel, especially a stronger, deeper peel. If you have any infection on your face, you may be best advised to wait until it goes away before having a peel. People having acne who have been using isotretinoin (Roaccutane) within the last 6 months are not appropriate.

The best way to determine if a peel is correct for you is to have a consultation with one of our aesthetic practitioners who can assess your skin and discuss about your concerns before advising what type of peel may best suit your needs.

What Do I Have to Do Before a Chemical Peel?

Before you go for a chemical peel, it will be required by you to have a consultation with one of our clinicians. This will be your opportunity to talk about your skin concerns so we can decide what type and depth of peel will suit you the best.

A medical history will generally be taken to ensure there are no reasons you should not be having the treatment. We recommend that you avoid exfoliating your face, sunbathing or using tanning beds and changing your normal skincare routine unless instructed to do so by us.

It is important to understand that with some types of peel you will have to prepare your skin beforehand. This will involve the use of homecare products for about two weeks before treatment and avoiding exposure to the sun.

Please ensure you strictly follow the routine given to you by our practitioners as this will enhance your results and reduce downtime considerably.

How is the Procedure Performed?

This is based on the type and strength of the peel you are having. The general procedure with a superficial peel is that your skin will be cleansed, and the peeling solution will be applied. In some cases, this is removed after a few minutes and in others, you may leave the clinic with it on and take it away at home later. When the peel is applied you should feel nothing more than a mild tingling or stinging sensation. With many superficial peels you will not feel anything. The treatment is fast and easy and can require as little as 10 minutes.

When applying medium-depth peels, the skin is also thoroughly cleansed before the peeling solution is applied. We apply numbing cream beforehand and a fan is used for cooling the face during the procedure. After this the peel is then neutralized and removed. As this is a medium-depth peel, you can expect the treatment to be more uncomfortable than a light peel. You may experience some temporary stinging, burning and irritation during the procedure.

What Should I Expect After a Medical Peel?

With superficial peels, you may get a slight bit of pinkness and some mild skin peeling for a couple of days, but in most cases, you will be able to get back to normal activities immediately.

With medium-depth peels, there is a more extended recovery period, generally 3–8 days, (although, very rarely, your skin can remain pink for a few months). A medium-depth peel will give you more peeling.

Your face might get sore and swollen and feel tight following the treatment. You can take painkillers to for its control and use an antibiotic ointment to reduce the risk of infection. You must avoid scratching or picking off any peeling skin as it may cause your skin to bleed and be left with scars.

With all chemical peels, you should not sunbathe afterwards and make sure you wear a sunscreen whenever you go out, even if it is not sunny, as you may develop brown marks on your skin called hyper pigmentation. We also recommend our clients to use medical makeup to camouflage the redness and facilitate healing.

What Do I Need to Do After Being Treated With Medical Peels?

Just like all skin resurfacing procedures, it is crucial to stay out of direct sunlight and keep the treated area well moisturized.  Avoid exfoliation or use of skin products with active ingredients such as vitamin A (retinol) until the skin is fully healed.

For most superficial and medium-depth peels, the treated area will appear slightly red and have a slight sunburn sensation, possibly coupled with some swelling. This usually persists 2 to 24 hours and can be soothed with cold gels, ice packs and special post peel soothing creams recommended by our staff.

Keep skin clean and make use of a sun block with a minimum of SPF 30+ and mineral makeup. You may experience peeling a few days after your peel.

What Are the Possible Side Effects?

There are very few risks related to light or superficial peels. Some people may experience occasional mild allergic reaction or hypersensitivity to the peeling agent.  This usually self-limits. On rare occasions, some people develop hyper pigmentation (brown marks on the skin) but this can be avoided by making sure you wear sun protection, even when it is not sunny outside.

There are some risks related to medium-depth peels. These are usually related to the healing process after the peel. This may involve prolonged redness, hyper-pigmentation and skin sensitivity.

However, there are several risks related to deep peels, the most common of which is hypo-pigmentation (loss of pigment in the skin). This can be permanent and is especially bad if you have a darker skin type, as it will be very noticeable.

As with all peels you are also at risk of hyper pigmentation so ensure you religiously apply sunscreen with a high SPF. Scarring is also another risk. Deep peels can be very traumatic to the skin, so it is important you go to a highly experienced doctor to have your treatment.

How Much Does It Cost?

Each patient is distinctive and requires a distinctive combination of chemical peels. This is assessed at the time of your consultation with the treating doctor. A treatment plan is formulated for each patient and the cost can be assessed at this time and this could start from $100 onwards.