Peeling Techniques: What Are The Conditions Treated?

In chemical peels, the top layers of skin are burned off to expose brand-new, healthy skin. The treatment can visibly reduce fine lines, mild acne and light scarring and minimize dark spots such as age spots or melasma. The best type of peel for you will depend on your skin tone, condition and needs.


During a light chemical peel, alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) or beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs) are applied to the skin to exfoliate and brighten it. It assists in balancing skin tone and lessens the visibility of dark spots. The peel may also contain a pigment-fading ingredient, such as tretinoin, hydroquinone or other resorcinol derivatives. A medium chemical peel removes the outermost layer of skin and part of the middle skin layer. It treats uneven or moderate skin discoloration, sun damage (actinic keratoses), fine lines, wrinkles, and scarring. After a chemical peel, it is common for the skin to look red and feel irritated. A protective ointment is often needed to soothe the skin. The skin can take one to two weeks to heal after a deep peel. It is important to wear sunscreen and avoid picking or scrubbing the treated area, as this could make the dark spots darker or spread to other places. Dermatologist can recommend a good skincare routine that will help keep your discoloration under control after your peel. People of color considering a chemical peel should discuss it with our doctor to determine if a lighter or medium peel will work best for their unique complexion. They should also consult chemical peel treatment in Franklin, TN, such as lasers or micro-needling.

Wrinkles & Fine Lines

Chemical peels that are applied superficially, like a glycolic peel, address wrinkles and fine lines brought on by age or exposure to the sun. These types of peels encourage new skin growth to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, but they won’t tighten sagging skin or remove deep wrinkles. Medium-intensity peels treat other aging symptoms, including sun damage and lackluster skin. These types of peels promote the growth of new, healthy skin that improves the tone and texture of your face. They also help remove actinic keratoses, rough patches of skin that are precancerous and can be released to decrease your risk for skin cancer.

You’ll want to talk to your medical professional about your goals for treatment and what type of peel would be most effective for you. It’s important to discuss any medications you’re taking, including acne and supplements, and tell your doctor if you scar easily or have had a cold sore that keeps coming back. You’ll also want to arrange a ride home from your treatment, especially for a medium or deep peel, as these treatments may cause redness and swelling that can last months. Also, be sure to wear sunscreen to protect your newly treated skin.

Sun Damage

People with sun damage, uneven skin tone, fine lines, and wrinkles are good candidates for chemical peels. You and your dermatologist will determine the depth of peel that’s best for you based on the condition of your skin. A light chemical peel can improve mild sun damage and even skin tone, removing the outermost layer and upper part of the middle skin layer to give your face a fresh appearance. It can also be used to treat scarring and enlarged pores. You may experience some redness after a light peel, and the area can take up to a week to heal. Ice packs and over-the-counter pain-relieving medication, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB) and naproxen sodium (Aleve), can help reduce discomfort.

More extensive sun damage, deeper lines and scars require a medium or deep peel. These peels employ trichloroacetic acid (TCA), which can remove dark spots, discoloration, and other abnormalities by penetrating deeper layers of your skin. These peels can also be helpful for precancerous scaly spots called actinic keratosis, rashes and rough skin caused by sun exposure, age or taking birth control pills. For a deep peel, your doctor will apply phenol to small areas of your skin for 10 to 20 minutes. Phenol can damage your heart, kidneys and liver, so it’s used only by a physician or a trained esthetician under the supervision of a dermatologist.


Acne is one of the most common skin problems that can be easily treated with chemical peels, especially light and medium peels. They help fade the red and brown spots left behind by acne or scarring and give your skin a smooth, even look. The outermost layer of your skin is only removed by light peels, frequently performed in series. As a result, there is little to no downtime afterward, and the skin heals rapidly. They are ideal for treating fine wrinkling, uneven skin coloring and removing rough, dry sun-damaged skin. They also work well for stubborn brown spots that don’t respond to over-the-counter treatments like ointments and creams.

A medium peel goes a little deeper, removing the top layer of your skin and the upper portion of your middle layer, leaving you with smooth and healthy-looking skin. It’s best to have moderate wrinkles, uneven skin coloration, brown spots or acne scarring that won’t fade with other treatments. Deep peels are reserved for those with more extensive sun damage, deeper lines and significant wrinkling. They can be performed at a medical spa or doctor’s office and contain stronger combinations of chemicals, including TCA and phenol, to reach the lower layers of your skin. Depending on the depth of the peel and your skin type, you may need to take pain medications during and after treatment.

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