A Guide to Chemical Peeling Procedure

Chemical Peeling is a Medical Procedure to Treat Acne as well Acne Scars/Marks.

A Chemical Peel involves application of a chemical solution on the skin and it is allowed to penetrate the skin for a few minutes. By doing this the new skin regenerates thereby destroying dead skin cells, unclogs pores which due leads to improvement in acne and hyperpigmentation.

The penetration of chemical peel depends on the type of peel used. The time for which the peel is left on the skin depends on type& concentration of peel, skin tolerance and degree of acne/pigmentation. Initially lower concentrations of the chemical peeling (salicylic acid,glycolic acid peel) is done and then gradually the concentration is increased. Depending upon the skin condition, it is moved to stronger peels like TCA peels, Phenol Peels. Nowadays with constant innovation, various kinds of peels & permutations are available in gel forms which are safer, not runny liquid with minimum side effects as they are buffered solutions.

Type Of Peels:

There are various kinds of peels (AHA’s and BHA’s):

  •  Salicylic Acid Peels:

Salicyclic acid is Beta Hydroxy acid(BHA).It is commonly found in cosmetics and products like Saslic,Sebonac,Keracynl etc.This is a start up peel. Various concentrations of Salicylic acid is used to bring acne under control. It is a keratolytic agent which unclogs pores and kills the acne causing bacteria. It also helps with blemishes left behind by acne. This is suitable for Mild/Moderate Acne.

  • Glycolic Acid Peels:

It is one of the most popular treatment of acne commonly found in Facewashes,Acne Creams(Glyco 6/A,Keracnyl,Avene Diacneal/Triacneal). Glycolic acid is a Alpha Hydroxy acid (AHA)helps with various skin conditions like Acne,Pigmentation,Anti-Ageing. It is for suitable for all degrees of acne.

  • TCA Peels( Trichloroacetic acid):

This is one of the strongest peel for acne because of the high concentration of acid ranging between 20%-50%.Unlike AHA and BHA peel ,this peel cannot be left on skin for long time because of the high concentration as it could lead to scarring, burning of skin. Normally it is left on the skin for a minute or two maximum. This peel is for hyper pigmentation issues like sun damage, acne marks, melasma. This is suitable for moderate/severe acne.

  • Phenol Peels:

It is the these strongest chemical peel and it may require administration of anesthesia. The penetration of this peel is the highest in the skin level. This is one of the most effective peel. The healing time is the longest for this peel, has it takes months. This is for severe acne.

  • Fruit Acid Peels:

Fruit acid derivatives like Citric Acid, Lactic Acid, Malic acid etc are also used along with salicylic and glycolic acid. It is a mild peel and helps with skin lightening.

Duration Of Healing Time

Healing time is regeneration of new skin cells. It is different for different type peels. Normally AHA and BHA peels(Mild& Medium peels) are need 10-15 days. TCA/Phenol peels take a approximately 2 months or more since they are very strong deep peels.Only after this duration next session is done.


1)Chemical peel is applied on cleansed face.

2) Vaseline jelly is applied using a Q-tip bud near sensitive areas like eyes, nose, mouth corners so that peeling agent does not enter these areas.

3) Eyes are covered with cotton.

4)The peel is applied using a soft brush and left on skin for few minutes(Normally 5-10 minutes). Duration  & Concentration are gradually increased  depending on tolerance of skin.

5)Then a Neutralizer is sprayed and Cold Compress is given with Ice. The peel is wiped off.

6)Usually it is followed by applying Soothing Cream/Face mask(depends on the Doctor) for 10-15 minutes.

7)Face is cleansed again and sunscreen is applied.

Duration of the Procedure:

So entire Duration of procedure is 20-25 minutes. Approximately costs Rs 800- Rs 1500 per session. Cost varies as per peeling agent used and Clinics.

Side Effects:

  • Dryness/Flakiness/Skin Peeling.
  • Redness of Skin.
  • Photosensitivity/Sun-Sensitivity.

Areas of Chemical Peeling

Chemical Peeling is just not for face. It can be done on neck, hands, legs, back also.Cost is also more because of the area of coverage of peel on the skin.

Precautions to be taken for Chemical Peeling

1.Acne cream to be discontinued 2 days before and after Peel.

2.Immediately after Peel, Sunscreen application  is a must. Re-apply if necessary.

3.Avoid Sun exposure as much as possible and wear protective clothing like hoodies /jackets,scarf ,umbrella etc.

4.Do not wash your face for 24 hours after peel.

5.Use a neutral & mild cleanser(Kaya soothing gel cleanser/Sebamed cleansing foam/Cetaphil cleansing lotion) to wash your face.

6.Apply a oil free moisturizer like Aloe Vera Gels if necessary.

7.Do not use treatment cleansers (salicylic/glycolic acid cleansers) for 2-3 days after peeling as it could cause more dryness.

8.After 2-3 days you can resume you acne regimen.

9.If you see any redness, give a cold compress by wrapping ice cubes in a cloth.
10.If you face any irritation, consult your Doctor right away.

11.Avoid swimming for 2-3 days after peeling.

12.Avoid make up for 2-3 days. Eye and Lip make up only can be resumed after peel.

13.Avoid getting parlour procedures like Facials, Bleaching 3 days before/after Peel.

14.Men could skip Shaving for a day or two before/after peel.

15.If you see any skin peeling/dryness ,do not panic. It is normal after chemical peeling. Just add a moisturizer at regular intervals. Avoid washing face with cleanser repeatedly, instead face it with plain water preferably cold water. Hot water can cause slight burning sensation and more dryness.


Chemical peeling is not a permanent cure for acne. It is one of the medical procedure which treats acne at a faster rate and after that a proper regimen if not so rigorous like before has to be followed to maintain the skin. Some improvement can be seen after one session. It only gets better after few more days. Minimum 6-8 Sittings is required to see significant improvement in acne and blemishes. Overall the Condition and Texture of Skin becomes very good.  Even after acne heals, once in a way its good to get chemical peeling done instead of acnegenic facials in parlours. Chemical peeling is safer and good for acne prone skin as it treats acne and dark marks. Chemical peeling works well on acne and dark marks. Chemical peeling isn’t just for acne prone skin. Chemical peeling helps with oil control and removal of tan as well.

Pitted-Acne Scars

Sadly no, it cannot do much for pitted or indented scars unless it is high concentration of peels like 50%-80% Glycolic/Retinol(TCA) peels. Micro-Dermabrasion, Fillers, Subcision, Laser are few options available for pitted acne scars.

Safety Concerns

Chemical peeling can be done from Teens onwards. Chemical peeling cannot to be done on pregnant/lactating mothers. It is very important that you mention any medications you are taking like Thyroid,PCOS,Isotretinoin etc . Always get chemical peeling done from Medical professionals only. Some of the parlour offers these kind of services but they are not equipped with the right facilities nor do they do know the right procedure. Home chemical peel kits are available as well but do not try these on yourself as it could lead to severe burning/scarring. They do come with their own side effects so a Doctor can help regarding that. It is safe procedure under medical supervision. Also the duration and type of peel & concentration depends on individual skin type so that a doctor can analyse and do it accordingly.

Final Verdict:

I undergo Chemical peel at regular intervals as it helps skin type:Oily and Acne prone.It definitely helps keep my acne in check.It makes a lot of difference with my dark marks/blemishes,sun tan issues.

My Rating:


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