Ask Cutis: What are the benefits of a chemical peel?

Chemical peel in Hamilton Ontario.

Our laser technician dishes on one of her favourite treatments.

Have you considered getting a chemical peel, but you’re intimidated by what you’ve heard about them? Our laser technician and skincare specialist Amanda will put your mind at ease.

“Chemical peels definitely get a bad reputation. I attribute this to that one Sex & The City episode where Samantha goes for a chemical peel and receives a deep depth and very intense peel treatment. Obviously her technician did not inform her of the clinical expectations or explain what “downtime” is. Peels can range from superficial/light to moderate/medium or intense, deep depth peels. That’s definitely one of the priorities we have here at the clinic. We explain what to expect and tailor the treatment to your skin’s needs and your goals. There are so many skin health benefits to be enjoyed from a chemical peel. I’m going to share them and answer common questions for you here.”

The benefits of a chemical peel.

  • Beneficial for all skin types (even darker skin tones and sensitive skin)
  • Great for first time patients, teenagers, large treatment zones, or those that are unable to undergo laser procedures (time, money, medical issues, fear)
  • Incredibly versatile and customizable based on skin concern
  • Reduces excess oil production in the skin and can clear up active acne blemishes
  • Can reduce inflammation or irritation and accelerate the healing process
  • Increases the penetration of skin care products
  • Increases cellular turnover (this slows down as we age resulting in a dull or lackluster appearance)
  • Superior when it comes to giving a noticeable result post treatment (get the glow)
  • Great compliment to laser resurfacing, injectables, skin health
  • Prevents the formation of pre-cancerous lesions (Actinic Keratosis)
  • Can be used to treat all different areas of the body
  • Used to treat a wide variety of skin concerns ranging from acne, oily skin, dehydrated skin, dull complexion, hyperpigmentation or brown spots, scarring, sebaceous gland hyperplasia, actinic keratosis
  • Improves rough, callused skin, or uneven skin texture from acne lesions
  • Diminishes fine lines and wrinkles, improves skin laxity
  • Improves the appearance and depth of scars
  • Great for maintenance or in between more intense procedures

How often should you get a chemical peel?

  • A series of 4-6 sessions will yield the best results. These are normally spaced 2-4 weeks apart.
  • A homecare routine is also recommended to achieve and maintain your results.
  • Most patients find the visible results that they are hoping for are seen following the third session.
  • The skin condition being treated and your individual goals and expectations will determine how many sessions you require and how frequently. This will be discussed and a treatment plan laid out during your consultation.

Can chemical peels remove brown spots?

Brown spots or hyperpigmentation, typically have many different causes. Sun or daylight exposure, medication, previous scarring or injury to the skin, acne or hormones can all contribute to an overproduction of colour in your skin. A multi-pronged approach is best to treat this persistent skin condition. There are specific peels that can help to improve the look of mild brown spots, lighten pigmentation, and improve the overall tone and evenness to the skin.

  • For patients who are looking for a true “removal” of brown spots, a series of laser resurfacing treatments (Halo, Fraxel, Clear & Brilliant) is a better option.
  • Using an advanced serum such as the Vivier Seequin serum or SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic is important for the clearance of brown spots.
  • SPF is the most important step to stop the brown spots from darkening and help improve the appearance of the discolouration. SPF 30 or higher is recommended to be used 365 days/year, regardless if you are “out” in the sun. Most of our exposure happens from incidental, 5 minutes here and 10 minutes there, in the car, running back and forth from work. We have a wide range of SPF options using chemical sunscreens, physical blocks or a combination of the two, for even the most selective of skin care users.

Will my skin peel?

The purpose of a chemical peel is to accelerate the exfoliation of dead skin cells, allowing for a faster turnover of fresh, baby cells to come up to the surface. The “peeling” process is a side effect of the treatment and not its main purpose. Your skin’s post peel reaction will be unique to you. Some experience moderately dry skin post treatment while others experience full on shedding and flaking for up to 14 days post treatment. The amount of peeling your skin does is not indicative of a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ treatment. It is simply your skin’s reaction to the treatment process.

Our skin peels on its own, however this peeling is typically only visible on a microscopic level. After having a chemical peel this process of natural flaking is sped up. Some patients will have visible peeling, some will not, while others may have a mild reaction to the procedure. The type of skin condition that is being treated, which peeling agent is used and the level of intensity of the procedure will determine your skin’s probability of visible peeling.

Everyone is different and everyone heals in their own unique way. Having a peel patch test done prior to your first session can sometimes give you an indication of the amount of peeling your skin will experience. We gradually increase the intensity of the peels as your series progresses so we achieve optimal results.

Following post treatment instructions is the best way to ensure you will have a safe and effective treatment experience.Approved home care products will be recommended and reviewed prior to your first treatment.The hard and fast rules post peel are: DON’T PICK, MOISTURIZE OFTEN AND NO SUN/DAYLIGHT (and listen to your technician!)

Start your journey to skin health.

As Amanda has shared, there is a lot to be gained from integrating this treatment into your regular skincare routine. Contact us to book your chemical peel appointment today.


DISCLAIMER: Individual outcomes, results and number of treatments recommended may vary based on individual patient needs, medical history, and circumstances. Cutis Cosmetic & Laser Centre cannot guarantee exact or permanent results or cures.