What is a Chemical Peel?

Happy November! Ok there is no fighting it any longer, it is officially cold outside! Now that you will be spending some more time indoors it is the perfect time to do a chemical peel.

What is a chemical peel?

A chemical peel is a technique used to improve the appearance of the skin. A chemical solution is applied to the skin that causes it to exfoliate and eventually fall (peel) off. The new, regenerated skin is much smoother, even and less wrinkled than the old skin. 

Why You Should do a Chemical Peel

There are many benefits to receiving a chemical peel. Not only do chemical peels reveal a brighter, smoother and more refined complexion, they also improve the overall look and feel of the skin in just one treatment however better results are achieved with a series spaced 2-8 weeks apart depending on the depth of the peel.

“As that topmost layer is shed, signals are sent to the living cells below to multiply and move up, to increase collagen production, to make more hyaluronic acid—to act younger,.”

Benefits of a Chemical Peel

  • Improving the skin’s color, clarity, tone and texture
  • Stimulating new collagen and healthy skin cell growth, resulting in a radiant complexion
  • Reducing discoloration caused by sun damage
  • Helping to clear up breakouts
  • Smoothing away the look of fine lines and wrinkles
  • Increasing hydration of the skin
  • Addressing visible skin imperfections and superficial scars
  • Reduce fine lines under the eyes and around the mouth
  • Treat wrinkles caused by sun damage and aging
  • Improve the appearance of mild scars
  • Treat acne
  • Reduce age spots, freckles, and dark patches (melasma) due to pregnancy or taking birth control pills
  • Improve the look and feel of skin
  • Makes your skin care work better

How Does a Chemical Peel Make Skin and Skin Care Work Better?

Acids lift away dead cells and trigger a lovely chain reaction: “As that topmost layer is shed, signals are sent to the living cells below to multiply and move up, to increase collagen production, to make more hyaluronic acid—to act younger,” says David Bank, an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Columbia University/Presbyterian Hospital in New York City, tells Allure. A thorough sloughing offers smoother skin that’s both more radiant and more receptive to products since there are no dead skin cells to block penetration.

Which Chemical Peel is Right for Me?


Enzymes are made from papaya, pineapple and pumpkin. When applied topically to the skin it digests the outermost dead skin cells that will eventually slough away. Enzymes work really well to smooth and soften the skin.

Glycolic Acid

Glycolic Acid is derived from sugar cane and improves your skin’s texture, rebuilds collagen and can help reduce uneven coloration due to acne, age spots and sun damage. Its small molecules allow it to penetrate deeply into your skin.

Mandelic Acid

Mandelic acid (derived from almonds) is effective for clogged pores, blackheads and acne and is gentler than glycolic acid. Like most peels, it flakes away the top layer of skin to reveal a brighter layer underneath. Mandelic acid peels also help you fade dark marks and other discoloration.

Beta Hydroxy Acid (Salicylic Acid) 

Salicylic Acid is derived from willow bark and is great for rejuvenation and treating all grades of acne. Salicylic Acid slows oil production, cleanes clogged pores, and has antibacterial properties to fight blemishes. It is also effective on discoloration due to acne. 


Retinol is a form of vitamin A that encourages the growth of skin cells once it is applied. A retinol peel can also help unclog pores, reduce acne outbreaks, treat sun-induced wrinkles and pigmentation associated with aging skin. It increases blood flow and strengthens blood vessels, giving the skin a healthy glow. 

TCA (Trichloroacetic Acid)

TCA, or trichloracetic acid, is from the same type of acetic acid you find in vinegar—but is far more potent. TCA applied to the skin dries up the top layer of cells so it sloughs off.The lifting away of the dead skin is quicker with TCA than with an AHA. The skin that appears from underneath the old cells is smoother and more even in tone. If you have hyperpigmentation due to sun damage or melasma, TCA is usually a good option.

Chemical Cocktails

There are chemical peels that are safe to use on every skin color without risk of hyperpigmentation (usually a worry with darker complexions). Estheticians have plenty of premixed cocktails to choose from. Many peels offered by SUGARED are a mix of a few different acids to target more than one skin concern. You can also enhance the effectiveness by adding chemical peels to other advanced services like lasers and microneedling we recommend trying Lira’s natural microneedling alternative Green Power Rebuilder.  Talk to your esthetician to find out which treatment is best for you.

Before and After a Chemical Peel


Since a chemical peel is an in-depth form of exfoliation, it’s important that you don’t exfoliate for at least a week or more before your appointment, that means no scrubs, acids or retinol and no waxing, sugaring, lasers or botox  prior to your peel. It is also smart to use SPF before getting a peel because you don’t want your skin to be inflamed by the sun for your treatment. Your skin should be well-hydrated on the day of your chemical peel. Stop using any products that could be drying out your skin at least a few days before your appointment. 

What to Expect

Depending upon the type of chemical peel, a reaction similar to sunburn occurs following the procedure. Peeling usually involves redness, followed by scaling that ends within three to seven days. 

Protect the Progress

After a peel, skin is temporarily more sensitive to the sun. You should avoid the sun completely during 48 hours after the treatment since your skin might be too sensitive.   Wear a broad spectrum physical SPF 30 or higher like, Lira Clinical Solar Shield 30 Oil-Free with PSC, And limit your time in the sun, especially between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., and wear a wide-brimmed hat.

Don’t Force the Process


Do not reach for the Clarisonic, acids, or exfoliating scrubs to speed up the process. You cannot do anything to force the process. If you exfoliate or pick off flaking skin you are at risk of post-inflammatory hyper-pigmentation, we recommend using a tyrosinase inhibitor like  Lira Clinical Lite Serum with PSC to help diminish this risk. Use a mild, gentle cleanser such as Eminence Stone Crop Gel Wash with your hands and gently massage your face and air dry or pat dry. We also recommend Lira Clinical Recovery Balm as a universal first aid gel and hydrator to help the healing process. 

Sugared | South Lake Tahoe

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