What Is A Chemical Peel And Is It Right For You?

What Is A Chemical Peel And Is It Right For You?

If your goal is to brighten your complexion and reduce the appearance of dark spots or fine lines, contact Afzal Clinic. Our team of licensed specialists are on hand to discuss whether a chemical peel is right for you. 

Chemical peels are one of the most popular outpatient plastic surgery procedures in the United States. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgery, 1.4 million chemical peels were performed in 2017. 

Contrary to popular belief, the term “chemical peel” does not refer to one specific treatment,. It encompasses an array of chemicals that vary in concentration and application. For this reason, you should always consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon to ensure the best results. 

At Afzal Clinic, our clinicians are experienced and highly qualified to perform chemical procedures safely and effectively. Make an appointment with us today and get one step closer to the skin of your dreams.  

Chemical Peel


A chemical peel is a cosmetic procedure wherein a chemical exfoliant is applied to the skin of the face, neck, or chest. 

The exfoliant works its way into the skin and causes the natural process of cell growth to accelerate. It creates tiny tears that stimulate the growth of more collagen, resulting in faster regeneration, i.e., brighter, dewier skin. 

After the healing period, which varies depending on the treatment, the new skin looks less wrinkled, soft, and glowing. 


One of the reasons that chemical peels are so popular is because they are low tech, non-invasive outpatient procedure with fast recovery times. 

Peels are proven to have many benefits, including: 

  • Reducing the appearance of sunspots, hyperpigmentation, age spots, crow’s feet, fine lines, wrinkles, and melasma
  • Treating acne and pimples
  • Stimulating collagen and promoting new skin cell growth

Chemical Peel


It’s essential to do your research and consult with a trained clinician for your chemical peel. 

While most people are excellent candidates for this treatment, you might need to discuss other options if you have extremely sensitive or hyper-pigmented skin. 

Before your treatment, meet with your doctor so she/he can assess your skin, discuss your skin goals, and recommend a type and level of chemical peel. 

There are three levels of peels that can be applied, depending on your goals. 

  1. Superficial Peel

A superficial peel often referred to as a “lunchtime peel,” can be completed in as little as 30 minutes. It is the gentlest treatment available. 

If you have sensitive skin or a very low pain threshold, it’s best to start with the mildest procedure. Consult with your physician about applying a topical numbing cream or gel before the peel if you’re so inclined. 

This kind of treatment is an excellent choice for anyone looking to tone and smooth the skin without committing to an invasive procedure. 

A chemical – usually glycolic, citric, malic or lactic acid – is applied to the skin and penetrates the outer layer. 

2. Medium Peel

For a medium peel, the same chemicals used in the superficial procedure are applied to the skin in higher concentration. 

The treatment penetrates the outer AND middle layers of skin and requires sedation during the procedure. 

It’s highly effective in brightening, toning, and reducing the appearance of large pores. 

3. Deep Peel

Deep chemical peels use strong acids that produce noticeable and dramatic results.  On the down side, they require a more significant rest and recovery period. 

A potent chemical – for example, trichloroacetic acid or phenol – is applied and deeply penetrates the middle layer of the skin.

Because of the intensity of this treatment, it can only be performed once, and also requires sedation. 

This procedure is often used to treat severe age lines, remove freckles, and reduce the appearance of scars. It is not recommended for the hands or neck because the skin is more fragile than the face. 
Chemical Peel


It is crucial that you have an open and honest consultation with your clinician before your peel.

Be sure to discuss the following topics: 

  • Whether you suffer from recurring cold sores (herpes simplex II) and are at risk for developing a sore following the procedure. If so, your doctor should prescribe herpes medication proactively to reduce the chance of a flare-up
  • Whether you take Accutane or other acne treatments
  • The complete list of all medications and supplements you currently take
  • If you have a history of scar tissue overgrowth (keloids) or unusual scarring 
  • Your complete skin history, including any family history of skin cancer, chronic conditions like eczema, rosacea, or psoriasis and known sensitivity to 0ver the counter products
  • Your pain tolerance and the potential need for a prescription painkiller post-treatment

Also, your doctor may prescribe some actions to take the week before your peel, to ensure the best results. Some common recommendations include:

  • Apply a retinoid cream to prevent dark spots from forming
  • Use a weak glycolic acid lotion to improve outcomes
  • Stop waxing, bleaching, shaving, scrubbing, and exfoliating


Each person responds to treatment differently. It’s impossible to know precisely how long of a recovery period you’ll need. Your doctor can give you an informed estimate. 

For any procedure, regardless of depth, your doctor will prescribe you a specific cleansing and moisturizing routine. Follow this process diligently to experience the best results. 

After superficial and medium peels, many patients will experience a stinging or burning sensation that lasts for 5-15 minutes. The skin might likely be red, dry, and slightly irritated or swollen. 

You can treat these symptoms with a cold compress, a soothing ointment such as Vaseline, and over-the-counter painkillers. 

Typically, the skin takes one week to heal after a mild peel and two weeks for a medium peel. The treated area may be temporarily discolored or blotchy during the recovery period. 

The aftercare period for a deep chemical peel is significantly longer. Your clinician will apply a waterproof dressing to the treated skin and likely prescribe painkillers for your comfort during recovery. 

Your skin will be swollen and sore for days after the treatment. New skin will start to form in about two weeks.  

Chemical Peel


The talented and licensed physicians at Afzal Clinic are experts at obtaining fantastic results from minimally invasive procedures like chemical peels. We have served the Twin Cities area for more than seven years, and our staff has 75 years of collective physician experience. 

Book a consultation today at our Edina or Fridley locations and see the difference Afzal  Clinic can make in your life. 

We offer Saturday appointments,. Our patient care coordinators will help you navigate insurance and HSA questions with compassion.

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