Chemical Peel

  • Medical Author:
    Gary W. Cole, MD, FAAD

    Dr. Cole is board certified in dermatology. He obtained his BA degree in bacteriology, his MA degree in microbiology, and his MD at the University of California, Los Angeles. He trained in dermatology at the University of Oregon, where he completed his residency.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

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Are at-home or over-the-counter chemical peels as effective as professional chemical peels?

As a general rule, so called over-the-counter peels do not damage the skin and therefore cannot produce the same sort of results that a peel performed by a physician is likely to achieve. On the other hand, they are safe products and are unlikely to produce any skin damage.

Who is a good candidate for a chemical peel?

The most common candidate for a chemical peel is a person with sun-damaged skin, uneven pigmentation, and/or actinic keratoses. Sun damage results in fine wrinkling, skin thinning, sun spots (liver spots or solar lentigines), and very early percursor to skin cancers called actinic keratoses. Skin peels may also be used to treat acne scarring.

Who should not get a chemical peel?

Individuals with darkly pigmented skin should be very cautious about having chemical peels. This is because there is a significant chance that the pigmentation of the newly healed skin will be substantially different from their current skin color.

What are the benefits of chemical peels?

If performed correctly in appropriate patients, the appearance of the treated skin will have a more youthful texture with a uniform coloration that will blend with their untreated skin.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/20/2015

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