Face peels

Picture of man having face peel

Face peels

Face peels can help improve the skin, but getting the right peel is important…..

What are face peels?

Face peels are where a cream or fluid is put onto the face, and left for a specific time, causing the top layer of the skin to peel away. This leaves fresh-looking new skin, and can help with the appearance of pigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles, acne, and even fine scars. Whilst the lighter peels are available to buy and can be used at home, the deeper peels are generally prescription-only and best performed by a trained specialist

What types of face peel are there?

Broadly speaking, there are 3 different types of face peel:

Light (superficial) face peel – these are usually comprised of AlphaHydroxy Acids (AHAs), which include glycolic, lactic, salicylic, or fruit acids. The recovery time is usually fairly quick after these peels, and they are usually used for fine lines and wrinkles, pigmentation spots, and acne.

Medium face peel – these peels are usually trichloroacetic acid (TCA), and similar to light peels are useful for fine lines and wrinkles, and pigmentation. 

Deep face peels – as their name says, these are the deepest and strongest peels, and use phenol (carbolic acid). They are generally used for coarser lines and wrinkles, and pigmentation blotches. The deep peels take longer to perform (1-2 hours) and take longer to heal, but usually have more dramatic results than lighter peels. As these peels are deeper they do carry higher risks such as skin lightening, and so tend to best be performed by an experienced specialist

How are skin peels performed?

The skin is cleaned, and if required a topical anaesthetic applied (for example anaesthetic cream). For deep peels, sedation may sometimes be needed. 

The peel solution is then put onto your face, and a tingling or stinging sensation may be felt. The solution is left in place for a specific amount of time, depending on your skin needs and the solution being used. After this time, the peel solution is washed off with water and a soothing ointment put on your face.

The specialist will then advise on any specific aftercare and pain relieving medicine may be prescribed, especially if a deep peel has been performed.

How long is the recovery after a face peel?

The recovery time after a face peel usually depends on the type of peel used.

Light peels tend to cause very little down-time and you will usually be able to return to normal activity on the same day.

Medium peels take a little longer, and after the skin has flaked it takes a few days for the new skin to grow back. The skin is usually fully healed by 2 weeks

Deep peels take longer, with new skin appearing 7-10 days after treatment, and full healing taking around 2 months. You may need to take about a week off from work after a deep peel

How do I best look after my skin after a face peel?

Your specialist should give you advice and instructions on how to look after your skin, but generally in the first stages you should avoid anything that will irritate the skin, such as retinol. A good moisturiser will help soothe and hydrate the skin, and you should stay out of the sun, or use suncream with a high SPF if you are planning to go out in the sun for sports etc

The information in this article is for general information only and does not replace that of a qualified specialist. You should always seek the advice of a professional before having a face peel and carefully follow any instructions given

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