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What is a Chemical Peel, and How Does it Work?

Facial peels improve the appearance of your skin. Peels are all about exfoliation. A chemical solution causes the outer layer to exfoliate, or peel off. This reveals new skin, which is typically smoother, less wrinkled, and less blemished than the old outer layer of skin.


What Types of Features and Conditions Can be Improved with a Chemical Peel?

Chemical peels can improve:

  • Acne and acne scarring
  • Fine lines and wrinkles
  • Age and sunspots
  • Hyperpigmentation
  • Melasma
  • Rosacea
  • Enlarged pores
  • Oil balance
  • Overall skin health

Are Chemical Peels Safe? Is it Safe for All Skin Types?

Yes, chemical peels are safe if done properly by the right hands. Generally, chemical peels are safe for most skin types, even for most patients with sensitive skin. Whether you are a candidate can be determined as part of a thorough consultation.

Are All Peels the Same?

No. Peels are designed to be superficial (surface), medium depth, or deep. Depth of penetration usually correlates with the cost and quality of the peel. A thoughtful evaluation of skin type and conditions you wish to treat allows the practitioner to determine which type of peel is best for you.

What is a VI Peel?

The VI Peel is a gentle yet powerful medical-grade chemical peel. The VI Peel consists of a blend of trichloroacetic acid (TCA), Retin-A, salicylic acid, phenol, and vitamin C. TCA peels are used for stronger peelings, removing wrinkles, blemishes, and pigment problems.

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I’ve Heard…

There’s no shortage of chemical peel myths and misconceptions. Do chemical peels hurt? There should be no discomfort. Tingling and a feeling of tightness may occur, with slightly increased sensitivity over the next few days, but pain is rare. Patients also want to know if they need to go into hiding after a peel. Not with modern peels. Visible peeling is minimal, and redness is usually mild.

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What Are the Benefits of a Chemical Peel?

A flawless, more youthful layer of skin is lying just below the surface, and a chemical peel is a fast way to reveal it!

  • Improves skin texture and tone
  • Stimulates new collagen formation and the growth of healthy new skin
  • Safe, non-surgical
  • Quick results, typically within 48 hours
  • Reduced pigmentation from sun damage
  • Short downtime
  • Reduced appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
  • Fraction of the cost of fractional laser skin resurfacing
  • Impressive results after a single treatment
  • Can make your skincare products work better (no dead skin cells preventing absorption)
  • Low risk, safe for any skin color
  • Ends acne and improves acne scars
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Chemical Peels at Face Forward Medical Aesthetics in Lexington, MA

At Face Forward Medical Aesthetics, we believe that the best results are achieved when a true partnership forms. As part of your consultation, our Nurse Practitioner will listen to your concerns, learn what you perceive to be problem areas, and explain the most effective and realistic anti-aging treatment options. In addition to the Vi Peel, we offer ZO 3 step and TCA Peels. Your peel will be tailored to your skin type. If you are new to aesthetics, we can offer suggestions to fit any budget.

When skin resurfacing is the goal, multiple solutions exist beyond peels, including microneedling with or without PRP, BBL, and Halo. A proper consultation can align your needs with the most effective solution.


What can I expect after my peel? When can I expect results?

How often should I get a peel?

What are the side effects of a chemical peel?

What is the downtime?

Are chemical peels only for women?

What can I expect after my peel? When can I expect results?

Three days after your VI Peel, the skin will begin to flake. This part of the process will take from three to four days, after which time new, healthy tissue will begin to show. About seven days after the peeling has finished, the final effects from your VI Peel will be visible.

How often should I get a peel?

For optimal results, a series of three of our four peels spaced 4-6 weeks apart is recommended. This way, deeper layers can be targeted with even more effective exfoliation.

What are the side effects of a chemical peel?

Some might consider skin peeling to be a side effect – really, it’s the intended effect! Peeling usually starts on day 3 and ends on day 7.

What is the downtime?

People can go to work and go about their normal routine immediately after a Vi Peel. On day 1, you will have a “sun-kissed” look and should avoid direct sunlight. On day 2, the skin will feel tight but no peeling. Manageable peeling occurs from days 3-5.

Are chemical peels only for women?

No! Chemical peels are increasingly popular for men. This New York Times article from 2015 entitled, “Are you man enough for a peel?” describes this trend well.

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