Chemical Peels (Light / Superficial Peels)

Immediately after treatment:

  • Right after application of a chemical peel, the skin will sting or burn. The color of the skin after treatment will depend on the type of peel:

    • If the peel contains any amount of TCA, the treated skin will be white or have a “frosted” appearance with some redness visible underneath the white
    • If the peel does not contain TCA, the treated skin will be red
  • Immediately after treatment with a chemical peel containing TCA, the skin looks white or “frosted” with some background redness visible through the white.3
  • After treatment, the skin will be sensitive to sunlight, so it is important to avoid sun exposure.
  • No dressings are necessary after treatment with a light peel.

Days and weeks after treatment:

  • In the days after treatment, the skin may be red and will begin to peel (desquamation will occur).
  • Peeling (desquamation) in the days following treatment with a chemical peel (image from Pinterest)
  • Patients should avoid or minimize sun exposure and apply sunscreen for about 3 weeks after the treatment.
  • If the skin feels dry, patients may apply moisturizing cream to the skin. Patients are also allowed to apply make-up to camouflage redness and skin peeling.

Longer term:

Skin darkening (hyperpigmentation) and redness (erythema) may continue to be present for months after treatment.