Chemical Peels 101

Chemical Peels

A chemical peel is a professional skin resurfacing procedure in which an acid or enzyme solution is applied to the skin in a controlled environment to remove the damaged layer of the epidermis and accelerate cell regeneration. Chemical peels are truly the most straight-forward and effective method to getting your skin looking better than it ever has.

History of Chemical Peels

Chemical peeling is a centuries-old practice, rooted in ancient Egyptian medicine. Queen Cleopatra, was famously known to bathe in sour milk to improve the look and texture of her skin. Today we know that sour milk is a lactic acid, a naturally occurring Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA).1

Although the ancient Egyptians used various herbs and chemical extracts as treatments to rejuvenate and beautify the skin, peeling agents such as salicylic acid, resorcinol, phenol, and trichloroacetic acid (TCA) were not scientifically described until 1882 by the work of German dermatologist P.G. Unna.2 As you can see, chemical peels have been in use for centuries and are still a core staple of the skincare industry.

Who are peels for?

Everyone, whether your skin is dry, oily, combination or even sensitive, there is a chemical peel treatment that will work for you. However, at Impressions MedSpa we don’t just put a chemical peel on and hope for the best, we begin by determining the optimal treatment for your unique skincare needs by analyzing your skin using Visia technology. Through the use of Visia we are able to determine not only what is visible to the naked eye but also what lays beneath the surface of the skin. This allows us the ability to develop a comprehensive plan to meet your personal needs.

What do peels improve?

Why do you need a peel?

Your skin naturally exfoliates, gently shedding dead skin cells so subtly that most of us don’t even notice. However, as we age, this process tends to slow, resulting in a dull complexion that makes your skin look older than it truly is.

How do peels work?

Chemical peels speed up the exfoliation process, encouraging cell turnover that leaves the skin looking fresh and healthy. As a result of the exfoliation, after the treatment you may experience a form of peeling or flaking that lasts a couple of days.

What benefits can you expect from a chemical peel?

Chemical peels have a variety of benefits, some that can be noticed and some that subtly occur under the surface of the skin. When you consistantly follow a peel program that is specifically tailored to meet your individual needs you will experience:

How often should I receive a chemical Peel?

For optimal results it is best to receive a peel every four to six weeks. But if you suffer from acne there are some peels that can be done every two weeks until you get the results you are seeking. Generally, it is a great idea to purchase a series of four peels up front so that you can achieve the treatment results that you want.

Myth vs Truth

Myth:  Chemical peels may make your skin hurt.

Truth:   The chemical peels used at Impressions MedSpa are formulated with unique ingredient blends that work with your skin to allow for comfortable treatments      without sacrificing efficacy. The result is increased cell turnover and fresh, healthy skin is revealed.

Myth:    Chemical peels are just for wrinkles.

Truth:   Chemical peels can improve and prevent most skin concerns, including discoloration, aging, and even rosacea and acne.

Myth:    Chemical peels leave your skin red and require a lot of downtime.

Truth:   There are many different types of peels available. Some of these peels are very mild with no visible exfoliation or downtime at all including alpha and beta    hydroxy peels. These peels leave you with a healthy glow, not bright red, they have minimal downtime. Some clients even schedule them during their lunch break. Then there are deeper peels such as Jessners or TCA that are stronger and may leave visible peeling and slight redness.

Myth:    Chemical peels can be performed at home.

Truth: Just because there are peels available on-line or at the local drug store, does not mean they should be performed at home by untrained individuals. The superficial peels sold at the local drug store, although still dangerous in the wrong hands, cannot give you the results you would get from a professional peel. However, there are many websites that are selling professional level peels to anyone, even those without a license. Chemical peels in the wrong hands can cause irreparable damage to the skin, including hyper or hypo-pigmentation and even scarring. Also, there are contraindications that must be considered, such as, if someone is prone to cold sores or has an active cold sore, applying a chemical peel can cause a herpetic breakout over the entire face that can eventually lead to scarring. In the end you may find yourself spending more money on expensive medical appointments and cosmetic treatments to try to repair the damage.

Next Steps

Call to schedule your complementary consultation, I will sit down with you to discuss your specific skincare concerns and challenges. Prior to your consultation, you will receive a Visia skin analysis that will provide the foundation for determining a customized plan that not only addresses what we see on the skin's surface but also what lies benneth the surface. Please feel free to contact me directly at 941-444-5505 with any questions you may have.



  1. Susruthi Rajanala, BA, Neelam A. Vashi MD. Cleopatra and Sour Milk – The Ancient Practice of Chemical Peeling. JAMA Dermatology, October 2017, Vol 153, Number 10
  2. Obagi Z., The Art of Skin Health Restoration and Rejuvenation, Second Edition, CRC Press


About the author

Karen Boncha holds a Masters Degree in Nursing and is also a licenced Aesthetician. Karen's passion is partnering with clients to assist them in meeting their skincare goals and developing a plan that meets their unique needs. Karen also provides foundational education to assist clients in the understanding of skincare treatments and products.


Karen Boncha RN,BSN,MSN, Aesthetician

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