Chemical Peels: What Are They And Are They Right For You?

Written by Aaron Guldager — February 15, 2019

Chemical Peels: What Are They And Are They Right For You?

Imagine it. You wake up in the morning to smooth, irresistible skin. You see fewer fine lines and wrinkles in the mirror. And you finally manage to reduce the discoloration and pesky marks from acne scars, sun damage, or age spots.

Ahh...that sounds kind of like a dream, doesn’t it? It might be more attainable than you think!

If you want all of the above (and who doesn’t!), you’ve probably explored options like masks, exfoliants, microneedling, and collagen cream. But with so many options out there, it’s hard to know what’s right for you and your skin care goals.

If you’re wondering what chemical peels are and if they’ll do the trick for you, stick around. We’re here to help! In this article, you’ll find out how chemical peels work and if they’re right for you.

What Are Chemical Peels And How Do They Work?

Before we explain chemical peels, you need to know that there are two ways to exfoliate your skin: physical exfoliation and chemical exfoliation.

woman receiving a chemical peel treatment at a dermatologist office

Physical exfoliation involves physically removing (usually by scrubbing off) old, dead skin cells so that the fresh skin underneath can strut its stuff. Your bottle of exfoliant scrub and your pumice stone are both physical exfoliants.

Chemical exfoliation is the other way to get rid of that dull top layer of skin. Chemical peels are in this category. The peel exfoliates as the acid causes the top layer of your skin to dissolve and peel off (yep, that’s where the name comes from).

So a chemical peel is exactly what it sounds like — a liquid chemical solution that makes the surface of your skin peel off.

The end result of both types of exfoliation is the same: uncovering your healthy, smooth skin hiding underneath a layer of old, dull skin.

woman applying product to her face with a cotton pad after a chemical peel treatment

What To Expect From A Chemical Peel

What happens when you get a chemical peel, and what can you expect if you go for one? Just like many other facial treatments, it’s best to visit a professional.

They’ll assess your skin and recommend the best peel for your skin type. When the liquid is applied to your face, you’ll probably feel a little stinging sensation — this means those chemicals are hard at work doing away with the top layer of skin.

Besides removing makeup and prepping your skin, the treatment itself simply consists of the peel sitting on your face for a few minutes. It’s a relatively quick treatment, and you should be in and out within 30 minutes to an hour.

During and after the peel, you might notice that stinging feeling, redness, dryness, slight swelling, and, of course, peeling or flaking. That’s all normal.

Peels come in three different strengths: light, medium, and deep. Your recovery time depends on the type of peel you choose.

Light peels are the easiest on your skin and recovery time is short. But if you opt for a medium or deep peel, it might be a few weeks before your skin is back to its normal self.

Be sure to ask your dermatologist if there is anything special to keep in mind before or after your treatment. For example, a peel can leave your skin extra dry, meaning you may need to double up on your sun protection or stop using certain products.

dermatologist examining woman's skin before applying a chemical peel treatment

What Are The Drawbacks Of Chemical Peels?

Chemical peels definitely have their drawbacks and negative side effects. Light peels are the safest, but with any peel, you run the risk of damaging your skin.

First, because a peel is a chemical soaking into your face, it’s possible to damage your healthy skin cells as the peel works to get rid of the dead cells. Plus, if you have darker skin, the treatment might leave you with light spots on your face.

Second, a peel can result in sensitive skin. Even if you use a light peel, you’ll have a dry and sensitive face for a few days and will need to be extra careful about sun exposure.

And if you use a stronger peel, your face may be red and flaky for several days up to a couple of weeks. That doesn’t sound too glamorous.

Third, peels aren’t exactly cheap. The cost of a light peel begins around $100, but deep peels can cost you up to $4,000.

happy woman determining whether a chemical peel is right for her

Is A Chemical Peel Right For You?

Now you know what chemical peels are. But exactly which skin woes will they help? And how can you know if they’re right for you?

Taking into account the above risks and drawbacks, a chemical peel might be right for you if…

1) You Want Smoother Skin

Say goodbye to dead skin cells and hello to a fresh, glowing face!

Chemical peels resurface your skin, which means they get rid of the dull, rough top layer and give you a smoother complexion. Think smaller pores, tighter skin, and brand new skin cells.

2) You Want To Do Away With Fine Lines And Pesky Wrinkles

Who doesn’t want fewer fine lines and wrinkles? Chemical peels are often used as an anti-aging treatment because they resurface the skin, reducing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.

If a more youthful, vibrant face is your goal, another anti-aging treatment option to add to your toolkit is SiO Beauty patches. Just wear these patches while you get a good night of sleep and take them off in the morning. It’s as simple as that!

woman wearing SiO Beauty patches to increase moisture after a chemical peel

SiO’s medical-grade silicone patches work while you sleep, drawing moisture up from the lower levels of your skin to fill, plump, and hydrate the top layer. All that moisture and plumping fills in and smooths those little lines and wrinkles.

3) You Want To Even Out Your Skin Tone

Chemical peels improve the appearance of acne scars, age spots, and skin discoloration.

Dr. Michelle Levy, MD FRCPC, a dermatologist in Toronto, says chemical peels “remove some of the pigmentation and signs of sun damage and give the skin a ‘fresher’ appearance.”

4) You Want To Regenerate Skin And Encourage Collagen Production

Dr. Levy also notes that chemical peels “can also unclog pores and (modestly) stimulate collagen production.”

If you’re wondering what collagen is, it’s a protein in your skin that plays a big role in keeping your skin tight, youthful, and full. The problem is that we lose collagen as our skin matures.

So what don’t peels do? And when should you look for a different treatment?

Dr. Levy continues to say, “Peels are generally not helpful for treating deeper wrinkles, especially those caused by facial expressions.”

A chemical peel may not be right for you if your main concerns are deeper wrinkles and expression lines. If your goal is to make those wrinkles less noticeable, choose a different treatment or product.

Start by creating skin-healthy routines, and get in the habit of treating your wrinkles from the comfort of your own home (if you use SiO patches, you can treat wrinkles without even getting out of bed!).

SiO Beauty patches not only hydrate your skin by pulling moisture up to the surface, but they also reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Apply the patches before bed and wake up to more youthful-looking skin!

You’ll notice results after just one night with SiO patches, but the longer you use them the more you’ll love what you see!

So now you’ve got the scoop on chemical peels and you’re ready to decide if they’re right for you or not. Plus, now you also know that you can reduce fine lines and wrinkles, hydrate your skin, and give your face a regenerating boost with SiO Beauty patches.

Get started today and you’ll be on your way to the skin you’ve been dreaming of!