Triple Board-certified Expertise


Triple Board-certified Expertise

All You Need to Know About Chemical Peels

BY Shereen Timani Jun 9, 2022

All You Need to Know About Chemical Peels

Chemical peels are so underrated or misperceived! Peels had bad press based upon social media  or unpleasant experiences. Many patients of mine seem to be misguided by misconceptions and myths. My sister Nancy was one of them!

Nancy has oily skin, and as a teenager, she suffered from acne that left acne scars. And, in her mid-twenties she caught chickenpox, which left her with a few chickenpox scars on her cheeks and forehead. So, when she was visiting me several years back in the month of October, I had decided to gift her a series of chemical peel treatments, and yes, I could see in her eyes that she was worried. My sister has a very low tolerance for pain, and she had a major New Year party to attend that she did not want to show up to with an alarmingly red face and flaking skin! And she had doubts that the peels would help her scars and manage her oily skin on a long-term front. One chemical peel treatment was enough to put her worries and misconceptions aside!

Yes, a customizable, advanced medical-grade chemical peel has that gentle transformative power to safely and effectively manage acne, acne scars and even a wider range of skin conditions. If you are considering a medical-grade chemical peel, here are my answers to my patient's frequently asked questions.

Any chemical peel or a customized medical-grade chemical peel?
Your skin is very unique in texture, tone, and healing. So are your goal.
Chemical peels have evolved tremendously and just like our options with skin care and makeup ,now  we have more choices .

What is the difference between a medical-grade chemical peel and a none medical grade chemical peel?
They are usually administered by a licensed medical provider like a physician or a physician assistant. They include ingredients that are only accessible to a physician’s office.

How do medical-grade chemical peels work?
Chemical peels exfoliate the top layers of the skin allowing your skin to regenerate healthier skin from the beast to the top. This allows your skin to shed skin layers with abnormal pigmentation, fine wrinkles and some types of scars. The skin that comes through is usually much healthier.

What areas of the body can a medical-grade chemical peels be used for ?
Most of you are familiar with chemical peels for the face, but there are chemical peels for the chest, back and the extremities as well.
In fact there are chemical peels for the eyes and lips too.

Do medical-grade chemical peels hurt?
Most medical-grade chemical peels sting slightly, but calming balms can be applied during the treatment. They are very soothing. This sensation improves very quickly over few minutes. I have never had a patient say they would not repeat a chemical peel because of Discomfort or healing.

How often should I perform a medical-grade chemical peel?
A series of 4 to 6 chemical peels is recommended for ideal results. Usually the peels are performed 4 to 6 weeks apart. If you are not able to keep up with the pace of the chemical peels, stretching out the frequency or skipping a season is not detrimental at all! the benefit will not be lost.

Are the results long-lasting?
I recommend chemical peels for active problems and for prevention as well.
We use chemical peels routinely for prevention of acne, pigmentations, fine wrinkles and pre cancers. In fact, the benefits from prevention far exceed the benefits once the damage has happened.

Are medical-grade chemical peels safe for skin of color?
You have probably heard me say this over and over, I was very nervous about approaching my skin type with chemical peels until peel evolved. 
We have to be very careful with the darker skin because it heals in a very special way. we have to avoid any worsening of pigmentation. But yes there are chemical peels for all shades of skin these days.
Careful selection of a physician that understands your skin type is crucial.

Do I need any treatments before a medical-grade chemical peel?

There are certain skin types that need priming.

The priming routines usually include special medicated creams that are applied a few weeks prior to the chemical peel. These may maximize the results. Of course, every skin type is unique. But no matter how unique sunscreens are critical before, during and after the treatment.


How is the healing from medical-grade chemical peels?

Typically, the patient will be dry the next day, and the peeling starts in 48 to 72 hours. Different zones of the face peel differently, and different areas of the body peel differently as well. The flaking Ranges from fine scales to thick scales. But even these can be managed with amazing Post procedure kits. In fact, these days the downtime is minimal to none


Are medical-grade chemical peels good for acne? 

They are a great adjunct to medical treatments in all stages of acne including that type that is active.

It is an amazing option for some types of acne on the back as well. And Is a great option for acne in the young adolescents.

Please consult with your dermatologist to see if you are a candidate.


Are medical-grade chemical peels good for pigmentation and melasma? 

Chemical peels can be valuable tools, most cases of hyper pigmentation are challenging to start. So, the selection of the right patient and the right chemical peels in the hands of an expert are critical.  They are especially nice for patients with progressive freckles and sun patches, that make the skin look blotchy and uneven.


Are medical-grade chemical peels effective for wrinkles and sun damage?

Chemical peels can be effective for many attributes of sun damage including very fine wrinkles but they are not necessarily effective for deep wrinkles. My patience thoroughly enjoyed them especially on the chest and décolletage area where there are much less options than the face.


Are medical-grade chemical peels effective for scars?

There are several types of scars, it really depends on the nature of the scar and the color of the scar as well.


Are medical-grade chemical peels effective for precancers?

This is a favorites topic of mine and close to my heart, our daily practice to prevent pre-cancerous and skin cancers. We use chemical peels all the time as a tool to combat actinic keratosis and other harmful.


Are medical-grade chemical peels effective for precancers?

This is a favorites topic of mine and close to my heart, as we strive in our daily practice to prevent pre-cancers and skin cancers. We use chemical peels all the time as a tool to combat actinic keratosis and other harmful effects of sun damage.


Can men have medical-grade chemical peels?

.This is a great option for both women and men, and the proportion of men seeking cosmetic options has tremendously increased, most men will be surprised that it is an option but they are usually motivated and satisfied as well.

A medical-grade chemical peel must be performed in a controlled setting under the guidance of a medical professional. At Springs Dermatology MD, we use medical-grade peels available to medical doctors only. They are highly customizable. We apply special ingredients, combinations, and concentrations for improved results. We like to pretreat and post-treat with prescription-strength topical agents for added efficacy of the peel.

Whenever a friend, family member, a patient, or a new acquaintance questions chemical peels, I reply with the same answer.

#1 Trust your skin ONLY to a Board-certified Physician.

#2 Ask as many questions as you want

#3 Have clear and realistic expectations

#4 know all of your options.


Shereen Timani, MD

Doctor Shereen Timani is an award-winning, triple board-certified physician specializing in Dermatology, Dermatopathology, and Mohs Surgery. Dr. Timani is board-certified and an active diplomat...
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