Chemical Peels at THE SPA at the Laser + Skin Institute in Chatham, NJ
What to expect from a Chemical Peel at THE SPA at Laser + Skin Institute

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What should I expect before, during, and after my Chemical Peel?
If you want to diminish fine lines and wrinkles, skin discoloration, a dull complexion, or rough skin, your Dermatologist or Medical Aesthetician may recommend a cosmetic procedure called a chemical peel. The following explains what happens before, during, and after this procedure.



What should I do before getting a Chemical Peel?
A consultation is essential. Your provider of service will take a complete medical history. Be sure to tell them if you are prone to cold sores, have had a cosmetic procedure in the past, scar easily or have ever had a type of raised scar known as a keloid, or took isotretinoin (a prescription medication used to treat severe acne). These can have a tremendous effect on what you see after a chemical peel.

After the consultation and a physical exam that includes a close look at your skin, your provider will tell you if a chemical peel will help diminish the signs of aging that concern you and if a chemical peel is right for you.

If a chemical peel is appropriate, one of the following types of peels that the Medical Aestheticians perform in THE SPA at Laser + Skin Institute will be recommended:

Type of Peel What it Does May Contain Signs of Aging Treated
Superficial — also known as the lunchtime peel Penetrates only the outer layer of skin to gently exfoliate
  • Glycolic acid (often contains alpha-hydroxy acid)

  • Jessner’s solution

  • Salicylic acid

  • Trichloroacetic acid (TCA)
  • Mild skin discoloration

  • Give the face, neck, chest, or hands a refreshed look

  • Smooth rough skin
Medium Penetrates the outer layer of skin and reaches into the middle layer of skin to remove damaged skin cells
  • Glycolic acid

  • Trichloroacetic acid (TCA)
  • Age spots

  • Fine lines and wrinkles

  • Freckles

  • Moderate skin discoloration

  • Modest tightening for lax sun-damaged skin

  • Smooth rough skin

  • May remove some actinic keratoses


Most medium chemical peels require pre-peel skin care. Usually prescribed for 2 to 4 weeks before the peel, this skin-care plan helps the peel deliver the best results and reduce potential side effects. The plan should be carefully followed.

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What happens during a Chemical Peel?
Superficial and medium-depth peels are performed in a dermatologist’s office, typically by a Medical Aesthetician.

Before applying the peel, the skin is prepped. Once the skin is ready, the Medical Aesthetician quickly and evenly applies the peel.

As the peel works, the Medical Aesthetician watches the skin carefully so that the peel can be stopped and removed at the appropriate time. After the peel is removed, cool compresses may be applied to help soothe the skin. These are usually not necessary for a superficial peel.

A mild lotion or cream may be applied after a superficial or medium-depth peel to help soothe the skin.

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4 Tips for Better Results After a Chemical Peel

  1. Do not scratch or rub the treated skin. While the skin may burn, itch, or swell, it is important to resist the urge to scratch or rub. Scratching and rubbing tend to diminish results. To alleviate the discomfort, apply a cold compress.

  2. Keep your skin moist and supple. This will give you better results. If the skin dries out and cracks, scarring may occur.

  3. Do not pick at scabs. After a deep peel, the face tends to scab, but picking at scabs can increase the risk of an infection, skin discoloration, and scarring.

  4. Wear sunscreen daily once your skin heals. Applying sunscreen before your makeup will help maintain the results.

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What should I see after my Chemical Peel is performed?
The chemical used in this cosmetic procedure causes the skin to peel off. Over the next 1 to 14 days, new skin will appear.

All peels require some follow-up care. You will be given specific instructions to follow, which will include everything from how to wash your skin to sun protection. It is important to keep in mind that sun exposure and smoking after a chemical peel can cause unwanted side effects, including infection and scarring.

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The following table shows what to expect after each type of peel.

Type of Peel Healing Time At-home Care Can Wear Makeup Follow-up
Superficial 1 - 7 days

Skin will be red.

After the redness disappears, scaling may develop, which lasts 3 – 7 days
Lotion or cream applied until the skin heals, followed by daily use of sunscreen Usually immediately after the peel, but sometimes the next day No. However, 3 to 5 light peels may be necessary, so you may need to return once every 2 weeks for awhile to see desired results
Medium 7 - 14 days

Skin will be red and swollen

Swelling worsens for 48 hours

Eyelids may swell. Blisters can form and break open.

Skin crusts and peels off in 7 – 14 days
Daily soaks for a specified period

Apply ointment after each soak

Take an antiviral medication for 10 – 14 days

Apply mild lotion or cream Total avoidance of the sun until skin heals
5 – 7 days can wear makeup Yes. Follow-up visit may be recommeded after the procedure.

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Are you ready to learn more about Chemical Peels?

* Remember to stop using ALL retinol products 1 week prior to receiving your Chemical Peel. To schedule an appointment with our Aestheticians, Call our scheduling staff at: 973-635-5050

Request an appointment


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Laser + Skin Institute : Chatham, NJ Laser + Skin Institute
417 Main Street
Chatham, NJ 07928
Tel 973-635-5050

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Laser + Skin Institute - Dermatology in Chatham, NJ