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Aesthetics Practice Today

Peeling After a Peel

Published October 22, 2013 3:32 PM by Kimberly Cray
Frequently Asked Aesthetics Question: I didn't peel after a chemical peel. Is this normal?

A common misconception in aesthetics is that you must peel after a "chemical peel." I hear this all the time and this is just not so. There are many types and strengths of chemical peels. The term "peel" actually refers to a multitude of products that are available to qualified providers at a medical grade concentration. The term "peel" does not imply that you will peel, should peel or need to peel. 

Superficial peels, such as glycolic acids and salicylic acids, may induce little to no peeling. This does not mean that the peel was not performed properly. This means that the peeling agent is superficial (think little down time, less pain, etc.) and working microscopically to induce positive changes in the skin. 

These peels are excellent before an event when a patient wants a glow and little down time. Especially when performed in a series (every 2 to 4 weeks depending on the type), these peels can achieve great results.    

Deeper peels, such as TCA (Trichloroacetic Acid) peels, are much more likely to cause peeling or significant sloughing of the skin. Depending on the percentage and the contact time, skin after this peel tends to darken or crust before the skin is fully exfoliated off.

Not all skin types are a candidate for this depth of a peel because of potential adverse reactions (hypo or hyper pigmentation, etc). This depth of a peel also comes with more discomfort (think "burning sensation"); however, most patients tolerate these peels well with the use of a hand held fan.

While the name may imply otherwise, a chemical peel may or may not cause physical peeling of the skin to occur. If the proper peel and technique are used on an individual patient, the results should be noticeable regardless of any actual "peeling." The most important things to consider are what agent is going on your skin and what it will do for your skin.

What are your favorite peels? Did you peel after the treatment? In my next post, I will discuss some of my Go-To Peeling Agents.

posted by Kimberly Cray


I use home chemical peels from I use the Green Herb Skin Peel and I always get a peel (5 days). I just wouldn't feel like I would get the 'brand new skin' appearance if I didn't peel.

Jodie Baker October 23, 2013 2:13 AM
East Brighton

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About this Blog

    Occupation: Physician Assistant/Nurse Practitioner
    Setting: Miami & Upland, Calif.
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