What are chemical peels?

are concentrated facial treatments that remove dull and dead skin. Using chemical-based exfoliants, chemical peels work to improve the overall texture and appearance of the skin. This treatment continues to surge in popularity, so we're here to address any questions or hesitations you may have.

What kinds of chemical peels are there?

There are various types of skin-resurfacing chemical peels and patients can discuss with their cosmetic provider what will best fit their needs.

Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) peels are mild and typically used for treating acne, fine lines, hyperpigmentation, and dry skin.

Glycolic acid peels are the most common peels. Their small molecular size allows them to penetrate the skin deeply and can provide rejuvenation and exfoliation in varying strengths. On the other hand, lactic acid has a larger molecular structure and is less irritating to the skin. This can be a good option for those new to chemical peels.

Beta Hydroxy Peels (BHA) peels work well for oily skin types, as they are able to penetrate deeply due to their lipid base. Salicylic acid is one of the most common types of BHA due to its anti-inflammatory properties, which can clear up congested and acne-prone skin.

Trichloroacetic (TCA) peels are medium strength chemical peels commonly used to treat concerns from sun damage to discoloration resulting from pregnancy. It may take up to one week for the TCA to peel and heal, and two weeks for the redness to diminish. These use a non-toxic acidic formula that causes the top layer of cells to dry up and peel over a period of several days to one week once post-treatment.

Are chemical peels safe?

Yes! With your CosmeticPerks membership, we connect you with our network of board-certified dermatologists and licensed cosmetic providers, all of whom will provide you with a safe treatment. Patients may experience side effects, however, these are usually mild and quickly dissipate.

What happens during a chemical peel?

During the treatment, a chemical solution is applied to the skin that triggers it to remove old skin cells that have been overexposed to the sun, free radicals and additional environmental damage. The new layer of skin then comes back firmer, less wrinkled, and smooth. This skin is typically more sensitive to the sun so take extra care in protecting it with SPF and a hat.

Who is eligible for a chemical peel?

Chemical peels can treat uneven skin tone, facial wrinkles, and acne scars by removing the outer layer of the epidermis. Peels are safe for individuals with a variety of skin types and concerns, including dermatitis and rosacea, so it can be safely applied depending on different skin needs.

How long does an average procedure take?

Depending on the type of chemical peel you are receiving, the treatment time can last from 30 minutes to an hour.

What are the most common side effects?

Side effects are generally mild to moderate, but can include: redness, stinging, burning, slight swelling, and dryness.

How much do chemical peels cost?

Typically, one session will cost between $100-$550 per area. As a CosmeticPerks member, your session will cost around $80-$440, depending on the size of the area being treated.

chemical peels
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With your CosmeticPerks membership, you also receive free consultations with any of our network of 100+ board-certified cosmetic providers. Take advantage of this to find your perfect match! During your consultation, you can discuss your goals and desired results to learn the best treatment regimen for your needs.


The length of your visit may vary depending on the type of peel you are receiving. Patients generally feel a tingling sensation as the provider applies the peel to the treatment area. While many procedures will take less than an hour, deeper peels may take up to 90 minutes.


Your healing time varies on the type of peel you receive. The process as a whole can take anywhere from a week to a month. During your recovery time, your post-peel skin will be extra-sensitive to any topicals and especially to the sun. Discuss with your cosmetic provider what precautions you should be taking to keep your skin protected and what products are okay to use.


It may take anywhere from several weeks to several months to see full results from the peel post-treatment and maintaining a good skin care regimen while using sun protection all year round is essential. This is one of the best ways to keep your skin looking and feeling its best in between chemical peels and other facial treatments.

Next Steps

Discuss with your cosmetic provider how often you should be receiving in-office chemical peels. Using a gentler version of acidic exfoliants in at-home products may also help maintain your results between treatments. We recommend Peter Thomas Roth Peptide 21 Amino Acid Exfoliating Peel Pads or SkinMedia's Rejuvenative Toner.