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A chemical peel is a skin-resurfacing treatment to restore, rejuvenate, and refresh aging skin. A deep chemical peel produces a dramatic degree of skin regeneration, with the new skin appearing significantly smoother and younger in appearance.

Deep Chemical Peel at-a-glance

  • Surgery time: 60 to 90 minutes
  • Anesthesia: IV sedation and local anesthesia
  • Typical recovery: 7-14 days
  • Can be combined with other treatments

What is a deep chemical peel?

Phenol based peels are the deepest chemical peels available. The formula penetrates the skin deeper than AHA peels or TCA peels, significantly rejuvenating skin quality and appearance. This peel can repair blotchy skin, hyperpigmentation, wrinkles, folds, creases, and smooth acne or trauma scars. The chemical solution removes skin from the epidermis and from portions of the mid to lower layer of your skin. A deep chemical peel will achieve dramatic results, with only a single treatment needed.

How is a deep chemical peel performed?

A deep chemical peel is performed by our board-certified facial plastic surgeons, in our private outpatient clinic. You will be under IV sedation and local anesthesia and will not be uncomfortable or experience any pain. A cotton-tipped applicator will be used to apply the peel liquid to your face. The peel liquid is made by carefully mixing solutions to create a “Baker-Gordon Formula” or phenol based formula. It may require up to 90 minutes to complete if the entire face is treated. At the end of the procedure your facial skin is soothed with a special gel.

Who is a candidate for a deep chemical peel?

Not everyone is a good candidate for a deep chemical peel; some people will achieve better results with a medium depth chemical peel or skin resurfacing treatment such as microdermabrasion. The bleaching properties of phenol make these peels inappropriate for those with darker skin tones.

What does a deep chemical peel treat?

A deep phenol peel can restore:

  • Extensively sun-damaged skin
  • Etched-in wrinkles
  • Facial scars
  • Uneven skin tone
  • Pre-cancerous skin growths

What is the recovery like after a deep chemical peel?

After a deep chemical peel, you can expect your facial skin to be swollen, red, and slightly uncomfortable. A crust will form several days after treatment. You can manage discomfort with prescription pain medication in the early stages of healing. You will have a unique, post-peel ointment to apply to keep your skin softer and encourage peeling and sloughing off of dead skin. A steroid medication will also be prescribed to limit inflammation and foster healing. The peeling effect appears in about 48 to 72 hours.

After seven to ten days, the crust flakes off, revealing a fresh, bright, new layer of skin, bright pink in appearance. Ensure you avoid any sun exposure and do not touch or pick at your skin during healing. The pink coloration will fade over the course of two to three months, leaving you with fresh, even, and smooth skin. After your deep chemical peel, you will be seen the day after surgery, one week after surgery, and one month after surgery.


Can a chemical peel be done on a limited area of the face?

Yes, usually we can do a peel on a specific area of the face such as under the eyes or around the mouth.

How long before I can apply makeup?

You cannot apply makeup to your treated skin for at least two weeks.

How long is the downtime after a deep chemical peel?

You should plan on two to three weeks before you will feel ready to venture out and engage in social activities. People heal at varying rates, but this is an average.

Is a deep chemical peel better than a laser procedure?

A peel may be a better choice for severe wrinkles; a laser may be less effective and require several treatments.

When will the swelling go away?

Swelling may increase for a few days, peaking on the third day before it begins to subside.

How long will I feel stinging after my chemical peel?

The stinging feeling should dissipate after about eight hours.

How long will it take for my skin to appear normal after a deep chemical peel?

You can expect to need about two to three weeks for the skin to shed, and new skin to be revealed. The new skin will look pink, but as the days pass, it will slowly fade to a natural tone.

Will I be able to shower after my chemical peel?

Yes, we encourage you to shower only with water numerous times per day and pat dry afterward. This will help your body slough off the old skin, promoting fresh new skin.

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