There is so much out there about chemical peels but if we were to summarise, we would say there are three things you need to know about chemical peels. Here they are:

1. Chemical skin peels are a good addition to many skin care plans

You don’t have to have something “wrong” with your skin to benefit from a #chemicalpeel.
Chemical peels are topically applied chemical formulations that rejuvenate the skin surface by creating an even and controlled exfoliation or shedding of the skin cells. Chemical peels can help with things like acne, sun damage, and skin aging but are best combined with a tailored skin care plan.

2. Not all chemical skin peels are created equal
There are many different types of chemical peels containing different actives. The ingredient used, the concentration, the number of layers applied, and pre- and post-peel skin care all influence the results of a skin peel. Combination ingredients can also be used in skin peels, but it is important to work out what problem you are targeting and trying to improve so the right ingredient and concentration can be chosen and paired with the right skin care ingredients for at-home use.
Some examples of peels are listed below.

Very superficial peels: Salicylic acid, retinoid acid, lactic acid and citric acid. These are great for subtle exfoliation and increased luminosity of the skin and have no downtime.

Superficial peels: Alpha-hydroxy acids like glycolic acid, mandelic acid and lactic acid in concentrations of 30-50%, salicylic acid at a concentration of 30% and low concentrations trichloroacetic acid. Again, minimal downtime with these make these a great semi-regular skin care option for skin brightening, radiance and improving blackheads and whiteheads

Deeper superficial peels: Trichloroacetic acid in concentrations of 10-20%, and alpha-hydroxy acids in concentrations of 70% and Jessner’s peels will produce some redness and visible exfoliation but are still well tolerated and can assist with uneven skin tone and very mild wrinkles and sun damage.

Other medium depth and deep peels have largely been replaced by laser skin resurfacing which is safe and offers better results.

3. At home skin peels are not the same as in clinic dermatology-grade peels
Home skin peels are low strength and low concentrations so only affect the top layer of the skin. Things like glycolic and salicylic acid are often used.
But, at-home skin peels have downsides.


Firstly, picking the wrong peel limits the benefits and can irritate the skin. Secondly, the safety of the peel is influenced by how well you are mixing the chemicals and applying them. Unfortunately, we see a lot of complications from at home peels so beware and be careful.


People that do not have any specific skin problems and are blessed with ‘normal’ skin or with mild concerns may benefit from at home peels, however they usually carry more risks and have fewer benefits. If you have sensitive skin, eczema or dermatitis, it is best to get a dermatology assessment of your skin type, skin colour and any background skin problems that might affect the choice of peeling agent that we might use. We will then optimise your skin care before the peel so we get the most out of the peel itself. We can also adjust the formulations to address specific skin concerns.

Got questions about the suitability of peels for your skin?  Chroma Dermatology  are here to help so feel free to reach out to us.

The information contained in this blog post is intended as a guide only and should not substitute seeking medical attention. Please see your healthcare provider for more information on suitability of products, treatments or procedures.

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