Essex Private Doctors

Caring, professional, expert GP Service


Chemical Peels

What is a professional chemical peel?

A chemical peel involves applying a cosmeceutical solution to the skin in order to cause the outer damaged layers of skin to slough away. This will leave you with younger, smoother, glowing and more evenly pigmented skin.

What sort of chemical peels are there?

We classify chemical peels according to the depth at which they work.

Light peels most commonly use Alpha- and Beta-Hydroxy Acids (such as Glycolic Acid, Lactic Acid, Malic Acid, L-Ascorbic Acid or Salicylic Acid). Different brands of peel use different combinations of these acids. These peels involve minimal discomfort and minimal downtime – a typical ‘lunchtime’ treatment. We recommend a course of 6 peels spaced 2 weeks apart for maximum results.

Medium peels usually use TCA (trichloroacetic acid). These peels cells from slightly deeper layers of the skin, having more dramatic effects on sun-damaged skin and pigmentation problems. They can feel slightly more uncomfortable than a light peel, and may involve some downtime.

Deep peels usually involve phenol. These peels should be performed under anesthesia in a surgical environment.

What skin conditions can be treated with chemical peels?

Chemical peels are a useful part of most skincare regimes, and can even be used to give your skin a red carpet glow for a special occasion. The following conditions in particular can benefit from chemical peels:

Sun damage / Inflammatory acne / Blackheads / Rosacea / Pigmentation problems (such as melasma or freckles) / Dry and dehydrated skin (but we do recommend a patch test if you have severe eczema)

Will my chemical peel hurt and will I be left all red and peeling?

In most cases people experience a mild to moderate tingling or burning sensation. This will only last a few minutes. You may take some simple painkillers before your treatment if you are concerned. There is not downtime at all and you can even wear light make-up after your treatment.

Do I need to do anything to prepare for my chemical peel?

Most of our chemical peels don’t involve any preparation. However some of the peels we use do require skin preparation, which may involve a course of home skin care prior to the treatment. We can advise you about this following your consultation.

Will my skin actually peel after a chemical peel?

 The degree of skin sloughing depends on the depth of peel and on your skin’s response to the treatment. In general a light peel will produce no peeling, although some people may experience some very light flaking around day 3 after treatment.

Who should avoid chemical peels?

 There are very few contra-indications to chemical peels, but the following people should avoid treatment:

Pregnant women / Breastfeeding mothers / People who have been prescribed Roaccutane in the last 6 months / those with bad skin conditions such as eczema should discuss it with us first.

What are the risks of a chemical peel?

When performed by qualified a medical practitioner here at Essex Private Doctors, chemical peels are a safe procedure.

There can be more complications associated with the deeper the peel such as: Hypo-pigmentation (pale discolouration) /Infection / Uneven skin tone / Outbreak of cold sores/Scarring

What will my appointment involve?

 We will conduct a thorough consultation to determine your concerns and then advise you on the best course of treatment for you, including advice on ongoing skincare. The exact process of the treatment will depend on the type of peel we advise for you.

Is there any downtime after a chemical peel?

 This will depend on the depth of your peel. A light peel may leave you looking a little red and occasionally mildly swollen – in most people this lasts less than 24 hours, but can occasionally be more prolonged.

What should I do to look after my skin after a chemical peel?

 Use a gentle cleanser twice a day and use a cold compresses to reduce any initial discomfort or swelling.

Avoid picking at the peeling skin as this delays healing and can cause scarring.

Apply an SPF to your skin daily.

Do not use saunas, steam rooms or have hot baths or showers for 48 hours after treatment – you may find your skin is more sensitive to heat.

For more information on this treatment and the chemical peels that we offer please call: 01277 201001 or email:

Independent Doctors Federation General Medical Council