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How are chemical peels done?

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You can get a chemical peel in a doctor's office or in a surgery center. It's an outpatient procedure, meaning there's no overnight stay.

The professional who does your peel will first clean your skin thoroughly. Then, he or she will apply one or more chemical solutions -- such as glycolic acid, trichloroacetic acid, salicylic acid, lactic acid, or carbolic acid (phenol) -- to small areas of your skin. That creates a controlled wound, letting new skin take its place.

During a chemical peel, most people feel a burning sensation that lasts about five to ten minutes, followed by a stinging sensation. Putting cool compresses on the skin may ease that stinging. You may need pain medication during or after a deeper peel.

From: Chemical Peels and Your Skin WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

Mayo Clinic: "Chemical peel."

American Society for Dermatological Surgery: "Chemical Peels Information."

American Academy of Dermatology: "Chemical Peeling."

FDA.

Reviewed by Debra Jaliman on August 27, 2019

SOURCES:

Mayo Clinic: "Chemical peel."

American Society for Dermatological Surgery: "Chemical Peels Information."

American Academy of Dermatology: "Chemical Peeling."

FDA.

Reviewed by Debra Jaliman on August 27, 2019

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What should you expect after the chemical peel?

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