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What are Chemical Peels?

October 6, 2017 - YorkshireHA

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A chemical peel works by removing the top layers of problematic skin revealing the fresh new skin underneath it’s kind of like getting an intensive facial exfoliation where the effects will last longer. Chemical peels can help reduce scarring and hyper-pigmentation.

Is it right for you?

A consultation at Yorkshire Health and Aesthetics will help determine if it is the right course of treatment. As it is important to evaluate each patient’s skin type using the well-known Fitzpatrick scale. This scale refers to the ability of skin to acquire a tan or burn after UV light exposure.

Skin types 1 to 3 are excellent candidates for undergoing chemical peels as they don’t usually develop post-inflammatory hyper-pigmentation however Skin types 4 to 6 have a much higher risk of hypo- or hyperpigmentation complications.

If you skin does fall into skin types 4-6  not to worry as there are other effective treatments to reduce scarring such as micro-needling.

It is also important to discuss in the consultation  any contraindications to chemical peeling which include poor healing due to open lesions, diabetes and photosensitizing medications (e.g., doxycycline, exogenous estrogens). Use of isotretinoin (Accutane) is a strict contraindication for chemical peels for at least one year. Oral contraceptives may predispose a patient to hyperpigmentation and should be stopped, if possible, pretreat patients with any history of herpes simplex with oral antiviral medications starting one day prior to the chemical peel and until re-epithelialization is complete.

Types of Chemical Peels

Glycolic Acid – Glycolic acid acts by thinning the stratum corneum, promoting epidermolysis, and dispersing basal layer melanin. Glycolic acids are systemically safe and nontoxic and produce superficial peels capable of significant effects, but with few complications. They are also well-tolerated by patients. It  can be used in daily skincare in low concentrations of 5 to 15%. The higher the concentration the more deeper the peel. These are generally well tolerated. The best results to remove acne scars is using concentrations of 70% every 2 weeks and can take 5-6 sessions

Trichloroacetic acid (TCA)– The application of TCA to the skin causes epidermal cellular necrosis and necrosis of collagen in the papillary to upper reticular dermis, depending on the concentration of TCA. Concentrations vary for TCA 10-20% is used for superficial peels and 35% is a medium depth peel. Concentrations higher than this are not recommended. TCA application to the skin causes protein denaturation which can be observed as frosting. The degree of the frosting usually correlates with the depth of solution penetration.

Level 1 is speckled white frosting with mild erythema and corresponds to superficial penetration. This should heal after 2 to 4 days of light flaking.

Level 2 is characterized by an even white-coated frost with background erythema. This degree of frosting is usually desirable for medium-depth peels, a full-thickness epidermal peel that heals after about five days.

Level 3 is solid white opaque frost with little or no background erythema the peel has extended to the papillary dermis, and this takes up to seven days to heal.

Salicylic Acid

Salicylic acid is usually one of the safest and effective peeling agents for the treatment of acne scars. The most effective course of treatment is 30%  with 3 to 5 sessions every 3 to 4 weeks. The side effects of salicylic acid peeling are mild and transient. These include erythema and dryness. Persistent postinflammatory hyperpigmentation or scarring are very rare.


Before coming in for your chemical peel appointment make sure your face is free of all make-up and cosmetics, we recommend you only wash you face with soap and fresh water this is so that there is nothing between the peel and you face allowing for better results.

We also recommend that you do not plan any extraneous activities that may cause excessive sweating at least for up to a week after the peel has been applied, this is because the peel is essentially opening little wounds on the skin which may be aggravated by sweating. And if you can’t leave the house without your face on am afraid you’ll have to stay indoor as your skin will be extremely vulnerable as it peels, we discourage the use of any products aside from those recommended by the clinician.  Stronger peels need a longer period recovery before you can go back to

The peel is not suitable for pregnant or nursing women or people who suffer from psoriasis/dermatitis, furthermore, if you are currently using any other medication/products which contain any form of acid you may have to postpone its use for up to 48 hours before the treatment. Clients who suffer from cold sores may also risk aggravating the issue as cold sores live deep within the skin and peeling back skin exposes them. Please notify your clinician of any condition you may suffer from or any medication you may be taking (including birth control).



On the day of your treatment the clinician will want to discuss your main areas of concern, problematics areas may require more layers of peel or a stronger peel solution all together depending on where the root if the problem lies. Then, once the clinician has described the process and determined the areas of concern, you’ll be asked to lay back and relax.

First, to ensure you face is completely clear of everything your face and neck will be wiped using sterilising wipes. Next a watery solution, which is the concoction of chemicals, will be applied to the skin in layers using cotton buds or a spatula. As the layers dry you will feel a tightening effect, slight stinging sensation as the chemicals get to work and you will be a little hot to the touch as fresh blood rushes to the surface of your skin. As the peel dries the stinging sensation will subside.



Chemical peels are not removed once they have dried unlike regular masks instead you get to go home with them on your face.

Your clinician will give you a moisturising and washing routine and the products to use, it is vital that you follow their instructions to ensure that your skin stays well hydrated and clean as it will be highly exposed while the peel is on. You will be told to apply sunscreen regularly.

You won’t actually experience any ‘peeling’ until 2-4 days after the peel had been applied, up until then you will feel a discomfiting tightness.

Avoid tugging the peeling skin at all costs, no matter how tempting. We suggest while washing and moisturising to use patting motions rather than pulling.

The peel should naturally shed itself within a week- remember, timings vary depending on the type of peel used.


Peeled and Pretty

Once all your old skin has peeled back you’ll be rewarded with glowing baby-soft skin. Some say they now feel much more confident even without make-up, not bad for those who dreaded the thought of a week without it.

Peeling can help reduce fine lines and wrinkles, tighten pores and get rid of scarring and dark spot for a smoother and more even skin tone, with just a couple of treatment you can get dramatic results that not even a lifetime of products could get you.

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