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Peels (also called Chemical Peels)

What is a chemical peel and what can it do for me?

Chemical peels are performed to achieve better skin tone and remove fine lines. They are the most commonly performed cosmetic procedures in North America. Sun-damaged skin, age spots, facial wrinkles and fine lines are great reasons for considering a chemical peel.

How does it work?

Chemical peels use a variety of products to essentially dissolve the top layer of skin, allowing a new layer to grow. This new layer of skin is smoother, fresher, and more youthful looking.

Are there different kinds of chemical peels?

There are different kinds of chemical peels. The difference depends not so much on the product used but on the depth of the peel. Peels can be superficial, medium, or deep.

Superficial peels:

These are glycolic acid peels, which are offered at our clinic. These peels are very effective at providing a youthful glow over the course of a few treatments. Treatment sessions are short, about 15-20 minutes, and there is a sensation of minimal heat for a few seconds.

There is no “down time” or recovery needed after superficial peels. Patients return to normal activities immediately with minimal redness and no bruising. Several treatments are usually recommended to attain the desired results. The noticeable change in the skin is a youthful glow that remains natural.

Superficial peels are an inexpensive, non-invasive, and constitute a great maintenance treatment for a smooth, less textured, more radiant skin.

Medium-depth chemical peels:

The goal is to remove a superficial layer of skin, at a deeper level than a Glycolic Acid peel, to target wrinkles and more sun-damaged, aged skin. They are also effective at reducing and improving superficial acne scarring, though this may require two or more peels, performed 6-8 weeks apart. A variety of substances can be used to perform a medium depth chemical peel, with the most common being TCA.

Unlike Glycolic acid peels, medium-depth chemical peels are not considered a maintenance treatment. The effect of the peel lasts several years.

Because of the deeper level of peeling, medium-depth chemical peels are associated with a raw skin surface and redness for 5-7 days as the peeled skin layer sloughs off and a new layer grows. During this period, the skin is cared for by cleaning and lubricating. The “down time” is therefore one week, after which make-up may be applied and patients can resume work and daily activities.

Deep chemical peels

Deep chemical peels are seldom performed because they are associated with a long recovery and prolonged redness of the skin. For most patients who have deep acne scarring, repeated medium-depth chemical peels are preferred. Dr. Samaha does not perform deep chemical peels.


Are peels safe?

Chemical peels have been performed for decades and have a well-established safety record.


Am I a good candidate?

For superficial peels, most people can benefit with minimal risk.

For medium-depth peels, certain types of skin are suited while others are not. Darker skin tones are more at risk for color irregularities. This means either darker or lighter coloring in certain areas.