Among the most common and ancient aging concerns are skin condition and complexion. As the years go by, dulling sagging skin, wrinkles, fine lines, and age spots appear. Despite modern advances in technology and science, sometimes treatments stemming from ancient techniques work the best.

Hailing as far back as the middle ages, skin resurfacing techniques were used to restore a youthful appearance to an aging face. Luckily for us, the methods of performing skin resurfacing have greatly improved. However, one ancient treatment that still reigns today are Chemical Peels.

The acid solution in a chemical peel treatment removes dead and damaged upper skin layers, which smooths and refines the skin’s texture. Highly versatile, chemical peel procedures can be combined with other methods for an improved effect.

Please continue reading to learn more about this treatment, including its history, benefits, potential side effects, and getting started with chemical peels.

98% say “Like it”. Based on 12,114 reviews.
$150-$400 average cost.
Superficial peels: 1 to 7 days to heal; Medium peels: 7 to 14 days to heal; Deep peels: 14 to 21 days to heal.
Patients may see results in as little as a few days.
The information on this page has been reviewed for medical accuracy by
Dr. Allen Silanee, MD, FACOG
Allen Silanee, MD, is board-certified in obstetrics and gynecology (OBGYN) in Florida. Dr. Silanee has more than 18 years of experience in the obstetrics and gynecology field. Dr. Silanee is an expert in women’s health, specializing in general women’s OBGYN care and sexual wellness, as well as minimally invasive gynecology surgery, including robotic-assisted procedures.
Chemical Peels history

History of Chemical Peels

Technically, chemical peel procedures have existed since ancient Rome. One of the most famous users of a chemical peel treatment was Cleopatra. She used the lactic acid in sour milk in conjunction with tartaric acid (which is in wine) to give herself a chemical peel treatment. While there are other examples of ancient chemical peels, there is perhaps none as famous as this one.

Fast forward to more modern times, scientists learned that both sour milk and wine contain alpha hydroxy acids that are still used today in mild chemical peel treatments. We know that in the early 20th century, Americans and Europeans received mild chemical peels from salons. However, the peeling solutions were kept a secret which hindered progress. By the 1950s an official peel called the phenol peel was developed and by the 60s dermatologists began the search for other agents to use in making chemical peels solutions.

For the purposes of FDA approval, a chemical peel is a broad concept. There are multiple peel solutions, each having different levels of FDA approval. Fortunately, by now enough research and testing have been conducted for chemical peel procedures to be approved by the FDA as safe for use overall. It’s important to note that lighter peel solutions are considered safer for patients because it only goes into the superficial layers of a patient’s skin. There are three types of chemical peels that are regulated today:

  • Superficial peels: For this lighter peel a mild acid is used to create an exfoliating effect on the external skin.
  • Medium peels: Deeper than the superficial peel, this level of peel removes damaged skin layers and is effective in smoothing out rough and damaged skin. For people desiring to look younger, this level of chemical peel is a great option.
  • Deep peels: The most invasive of all peels. This level of peel addresses harsh skin issues including fine lines and freckles.

As research continues, chemical peels treatments will become more refined and therefore even safer for patients to use.

chemical peels benefits

Chemical Peels Benefits

Chemical Peels present many benefits for patients. They reveal brighter and smoother skin. Additionally, they improve the overall look and feel your skin after just one treatment.

Benefits with Chemical Peels include:

  • Improved skin color
  • Improved skin tone and texture
  • Stimulates new collagen
  • Promotes healthy skin cell growth
  • Lessens sun damage discoloration
  • Clears breakouts
  • Smooths fine lines and wrinkles
  • Improves skin hydration

Keep in mind when considering the benefits is the chemical peel itself. Depending on your goals, you may want or need a superficial, medium, or deep peel. Working closely with your provider can help you determine which peel is best for you.

Happy Consumer

I’m 42. This is the most dramatic improvement I’ve experienced from any skincare product or treatment I’ve tried.

Maria C.
Chemical Peels Q&A
Getting Started with Chemical Peels

Getting Started with Chemical Peels

Finding an expert is as simple as visiting our online community. With AgeEnvy, valuable information detailing chemical peels, as well as qualified providers for this treatment, are at your fingertips. Keep in mind that your health and safety comes first with any treatment. That’s why our mission is to give customers control over their health by getting them connected with providers that are licensed, verified experts focused on chemical peels.

Potential Chemical Peels Side Effects

This treatment involves the removal of layers of your skin and your skin is a living changing organism. This means that there are possible side effects to consider when getting a chemical peel treatment.

The possible chemical peels side effects include:

  • Redness
  • Scarring
  • Changes in skin color
  • Infection
  • Heart, kidney or liver damage

The different levels of chemical peels have additional considerations to be aware of before starting treatment.

  • Superficial peel: This peel requires one to seven days for healing. The treated area will be red and scale. Make sure to use lotions and creams to help the healing process. Makeup can be applied the next day, but don’t forget the sunscreen.
  • Medium peel: Requiring 7 to 14 days to heal, the treated skin will be swollen in addition to being red. Expect the swelling to worsen before subsiding; blistering is not uncommon. You will also have to soak your skin and apply ointment to facilitate the healing process. Avoid makeup for a week and sun exposure until completely healed.
  • Deep peel: Requires 14 to 21 days needed to heal. Your practitioner will need to bandage the skin and you will need to soak the skin 4-6 times a day. You will also be prescribed an antiviral medication and you should avoid the sun for 3-6 months. This peel is very invasive and requires numerous follow-up appointments to check healing progress.

Only certified medical chemical peel doctors can legally perform chemical peels. The real danger with chemical peels lies in being administered improperly. A skilled, licensed, and certified medical practitioner that specializes in chemical peels is your best option for success.


Here you will find answers to our user’s most common questions. Our goal is to keep you easily informed as you research ways to realize your age management potential. If you have a question that isn’t answered here, please feel free to contact us.

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How much do chemical peels cost?

The cost varies widely depending on the level of chemical peels you elect. A superficial peel averages between $150-$400. However, deeper peels that require a licensed practitioner can be as much as $6,000. This is mainly because of the medications, follow-up appointments, and overall care needed for the more intensive peels.

Consult with your practitioner to determine payment plans or finance packages that may alleviate the financial burden while you get treatment.

How many chemical peels treatments will I need?

The number of treatments needed depends greatly on the condition being treated as well as the level of chemical peels you are getting. In general, for the superficial and medium peel levels, you can expect about six peels to achieve the desired effect.

Your practitioner can determine the exact number of treatments you will require as well as the timing of each peel to maintain your safety without compromising results.

How long is the chemical peels treatments recovery time?

The recovery time depends on what level of peel you choose as well as your individual ability to heal. A superficial peel takes up to seven days to be fully healed and recovered. However, you can do many normal activities within a couple of days.

Medium peels require additional care. It takes between 7 and 14 days to heal from medium level chemical peels. A deep peel is very invasive and requires 2 to 3 weeks to heal properly. You will need to make arrangements for your deep peel recovery time ahead of the treatment.

How quickly will I see results from chemical peels?

Some patients may see results in as little as a few days. This is more common for the superficial peels as the deeper ones require much more healing at first to see results. However, your starting point and desired results will affect how long it takes to see the results you want.

Consult with your practitioner to determine if you are responding quickly enough if you feel like the results aren’t fast enough.

How long will my chemical peels results last?

The length of results varies between peel levels. A superficial chemical peels usually lasts about 1-2 months and is designed as a maintenance and preventative treatment. Medium peels last about a year or two and a deep peel is meant to last for up to 20 years.

Keep in mind that your adherence to medical orders and your lifestyle can impact the length of results. Patients who go into the sun regularly or smoke often will see a reduced length of time in their results.

Are there other similar options to chemical peels?

There are many skin resurfacing treatment options available for patients. These options range from exfoliating scrubs to microdermabrasion treatments. However, chemical peels are unique in their methodology and application.

Many patients choose to combine chemical peels with other skin treatments to maximize their results. Keep in mind that this is not optional for anyone doing a deep peel.