Inclusive Clinical Skincare
Inclusive Clinical Skincare
FREE SHIPPING on U.S. orders $50+   Learn More

Chemical Peel Before and After: See All the Benefits

woman getting a face peel

So you have your skincare routine: your old reliables, your most-loved, your new-and-excitings, your I’m-never-buying-something-from-TikTok-agains. Maybe you have a few splurges in your arsenal, a couple of sheet face masks, a special something that you only break out for an occasion.

The point is, even if you have the perfect skincare routine for you, and even room for a little experimentation, we’re always learning and growing when it comes to something as important as making our inner glow an outer glow.

One way to get our glow on that’s becoming more and more popular is a chemical peel. The word ‘chemical’ should be familiar, because chemical exfoliators like our Advanced Even Tone Day & Night Treatment are an important part of a well-rounded skincare regimen, especially if you struggle with dark spots, severe acne or other skin blemishes.

Chemical peels are similar in that they rely on a skin-safe chemical to exfoliate your skin and remove dead and dull cells to encourage your body to produce new ones—just like chemical exfoliators.

A chemical peel is like a chemical exfoliator turned up to 10. If you’re looking to solve serious skin issues, or just want to take a stronger step toward glowing and gorgeous skin, a chemical peel is a great option to consider.

What Is a Chemical Peel?

Like we touched on before—chemical peels  work similarly to chemical exfoliants. The idea is that by removing damaged skin cells, you get a clearer, brighter complexion.

If you struggle with hyperpigmentation, acne, acne scars or any sort of skin roughness, a chemical peel may help you address some of those issues. It’s like an extreme version of exfoliating, although you can get chemical peels in varying degrees of strength.

Chemical peels can be superficial, which is effectively just chemical exfoliation: it usually uses Alpha Hydroxy Acid, and only penetrates the outermost layer of skin.

You could get a medium chemical peel that goes a bit deeper—this gets to the middle layer of your skin, making it a bit more heavy-duty than your average chemical exfoliation.

A deep peel will completely penetrate your middle layer of skin and clear out your damaged skin cells. These peels typically utilize chemicals such as trichloroacetic acid or phenol.

Are There Any Risks or Side Effects?

Sounds too good to be true, right? Chemical exfoliation, but better and brighter. Before you run out your door to your nearest aesthetician, let’s talk about the possible side effects.

Because the chemicals and concentrations used in peels are somewhat stronger than the ones you would typically get from a chemical exfoliator, chemical peels naturally have a bit more risk to them. People with darker complexions are at greater risk of having their skin permanently lightened or darkened by a chemical peel, as it could permeate too deeply and affect your pigmentation. Chemical peels could also cause scarring, and even heart, liver, or kidney damage, especially with deep peels, where the chemical phenol might spread and cause damage. If you have herpes simplex, a chemical peel could cause a flare-up.

The best way to defend against such side effects is to make sure you do your research! Don’t just book the cheapest or soonest appointment if you’re receiving a medium or deep peel from a licensed aesthetician. When it comes to your health and potentially permanent side effects, it’s important to feel confident that you’re in safe hands.

What Happens After a Chemical Peel?

Unfortunately, there isn’t a magic wand for perfect skin. You won’t get your chemical peel and immediately walk out of your aesthetician and dermatologist offices with perfect, baby-smooth skin and all thoughts of your acne scars but a distant memory. At first, your skin might seem, well… a little worse.

Depending on the depth of your peel, recovery can last between a few days and several weeks for deep peels. You may have swelling, peeling, flaking, and redness—this is your old skin cells being shed and replaced. It’s important to follow your aesthetician’s advice for aftercare to the letter and to avoid the sun until your skin has fully healed. If you get a deep peel and are really struggling with redness, swelling, or pain, using an ice pack can help!

How Much Does a Chemical Peel Cost?

Unless you’re clever enough to convince your insurance company that a chemical peel is a medical necessity, it’s considered a cosmetic procedure, so you’ll have to pay upfront.

Although prices for cosmetic procedures always vary based on things like location, timing, and experience, in general, you can expect to pay between $100 and $200 for a superficial or light peel, whereas a deep peel can go as high as a few thousand. An estimated average cost for chemical peels rests at an expensive, though not wallet-crushing, $673.

But what if you don’t want to break the bank?

Doing a Chemical Peel at Home

If those prices have you looking back to your own skincare regimen and thinking you don’t need to try anything new, don’t worry. There are definitely options for doing a chemical peel on your own. However, given the side effects we mentioned above, it’s important not to experiment too much here. That’s why we recommend going with a trusted brand.

Enter our Dermapeel Smooth and Glow Treatment 2 Step System . It’s aesthetician approved, and totally easy to do at home in just two easy steps. Although it’s a safe process, it’s not recommended if you have sensitive skin—but if you either spot test the product first, or are sure your pores are hardy enough to handle the chemicals, this is a great option to resurface your face and revolutionize your skincare routine.

The Dermapeel System includes two steps. Step one is the Dermaplaning Tool, a small, easy-to-use facial tool that makes it super simple and quick to remove any build-up of dead skin and any annoying peach fuzz to get your face as smooth as can be before any chemicals are even involved.

The second step involves the star of the show: Complexion Correction Peel Pads . These babies are packed with ingredients you know and love like Glycolic Acid, Salicylic Acid and Retinol. It’s as easy as prepping your face with the Dermaplaning Tool, and then using the pre-soaked Peel Pads to apply the chemical solution to your face. Depending on your skin’s sensitivity, you can use the Smooth and Glow Treatment System once or twice a week. You may experience peeling and flaking after use—which is totally normal! Just take good care of your skin afterward, including the application of a moisturizer and sunscreen, and it should clear up shortly, revealing a glowing complexion. Worth it? We think so.

How Do You Care For Your Skin After a Chemical Peel?

Luckily, this part isn’t too complicated! If you get a deeper chemical peel, it’s important to check with your aesthetician or dermatologist about the best way to care for your skin and recover moving forward. But in general, the advice for caring for your skin after a chemical peel tends to be fairly intuitive and should be familiar to you.

First, the golden rule applies: protect yourself from the sun! If you get a deep peel and your skin feels too raw and sensitive to slather with sunscreen, make sure you avoid being outside without some kind of protection.

If sunscreen is still in the cards, try something that’s also deeply moisturizing, like our Complexion Protection Moisturizer SPF 30 to pamper your skin while it’s recovering.

Second, since chemical peels damage layers of your skin, the protective barrier that keeps it moist and healthy can take some time to recover. Be sure to stay hydrated, and keep your skin properly moisturized—maybe even more than you’re used to!

We love the thick, luxurious Mega Moisture Illuminating Night Cream to help keep your skin on the path to recovery, even when you’re sleeping.

Third, post-chemical peel is a good time to let your body recover, too. Strenuous workouts, or places where you’re likely to work up a serious sweat, like saunas or steam rooms, can irritate your now-sensitive skin.

Lastly, lay off the exfoliation for a little while! You’ve just done the most you could possibly do when it comes to exfoliation—so while your skin is recovering, wait for any redness and flakiness to subside before working exfoliation back into your routine. And when you do, be sure you re-introduce it to your face gradually.

In Conclusion

If you’re struggling with serious skin issues, and aren’t getting the results you’re craving with your usual routine, chemical peels can be a super-effective next step. However, they can be expensive, and come with more than a couple of potential downsides, including a potentially long and uncomfortable recovery.

But as you can see from anybody who has tried a chemical peel, the before and after is a seriously persuasive argument in the chemical peel’s favor! Just be sure to do your research before and after, and bright, even, and glowing skin can be just around the corner.