Chemical Peels

Environmental factors, stress, and aging all have an impact on the texture and appearance of the skin on your face, neck, and hands. This can affect your self-confidence and quality of life. Chemical peels are non-invasive, effective treatments that may correct some of these concerns.

Chemical peels are the third most popular cosmetic procedure in the United States, with hundreds of thousands being performed every year. The popularity of the treatment lies in the ability to help with a range of skin concerns, including fine lines and wrinkles, dark spots, uneven tone, and even acne.

If you’re considering a chemical peel, it's important to understand the treatment and how to achieve the best possible results.

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What is a Chemical Peel?

A chemical peel is a cosmetic treatment with certain acids that may be used for the face, neck, and hands to improve the appearance and texture of the skin. A chemical peel works by removing the damaged layers of skin, stimulating cell turnover, and boosting collagen development. This exposes new skin that is smoother with improved tone, softer wrinkles, and less damage.

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What Can Be Treated with a Chemical Peel?

Chemical peels are used to treat skin concerns, including: Sun damage, Acne scarring, Wrinkles and fine lines, Hyperpigmentation, Melasma, Uneven skin tone, Redness, Age spots, Skin discoloration, Scars Dullness or roughness.

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The Advantages and Disadvantages of Chemical Peels

Pros: Reduces wrinkles, Corrects hyperpigmentation, Improves skin ton, Customized to match your skin concerns and skin type, More affordable than comparable laser treatments, Light peels have little to no downtime.

Cons: May not be suitable for sensitive skin and darker skin tones, Risks include scarring, permanent changes in skin color, infections, and increased risk for heart, kidney or liver damage.

Frequently Asked Questions About Chemical Peels in Oklahoma City, OK

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  • What are the different types of chemical peels?

    The three main types of chemical peels are light peels, medium peels, and deep peels.

    Light peels typically use a mild acid, such as alpha-hydroxy, to gently exfoliate the skin. Superficial peels only penetrate the outermost layer of your skin.

    Medium peels use glycolic acid or trichloroacetic acid and penetrate to the outer and middle skin layers.

    Deep peels often use phenol or trichloroacetic acid to penetrate through to the deeper layers of the skin, effectively correcting deep wrinkles and other flaws.

  • How is a chemical peel performed?

    In most cases, a chemical peel will be done in-office, although deep peels may be done in a surgical facility on an outpatient basis. Before starting the procedure, your doctor or aesthetician will tie back your hair, clean your face, and cover your eyes with goggles or gauze.

    The treatment area may then be numbed with a topical anesthetic, particularly if you have a medium or deep peel. For deep peels, your doctor may elect to use a local anesthetic to numb the area.

    Light Peels

    Using a cotton ball, gauze, or brush, a chemical solution, such as salicylic acid, is applied to the treatment area. Once the solution has been applied, the skin will start to whiten and may sting slightly. The chemical solution is then removed, and a neutralizing treatment is applied.

    Medium Peels

    To apply a medium chemical peel, a gauze, special sponge, or cotton-tipped applicator is used to apply the solution to your face. It may contain trichloroacetic acid or glycolic acid. If trichloroacetic acid is used, a blue color may be added, which is where the term ‘blue peel’ comes from. As the skin begins to whiten, your doctor will apply a cool compress. You may notice a stinging or burning feeling for up to twenty minutes after the treatment. A neutralizing solution may be applied to the skin to stop the peeling process. If you have had a blue peel, your skin may have a slightly blue tint for a few days.

    Deep Peels

    A deep chemical peel is applied with a cotton-tipped applicator. The acid, usually phenol, turns the skin white or gray. The procedure will be done in 15-minute intervals to limit your skin’s exposure and control the treatment time.

  • How do you prepare for a chemical peel?

    Before the treatment, you will have a consultation with your skincare specialist to help you determine the best peel for your skin and discuss the details of the treatment. The consultation may also include a brief medical history to identify any factors that may affect the treatment. This includes any acne medication that you have taken and whether you scar easily. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not have chemical peels.

    Before Your Appointment

    • Stop using any retinol treatments for at least 48 hours, preferably longer
    • Discuss any medications you are taking with your skincare specialist
    • Stop using acne medication for at least six months

    Patients with Certain Risk Factors

    Depending on your risk factors, you may also need to:

    • Use a preparatory glycolic acid lotion to improve the treatment outcome
    • Take antiviral medical if you have a history of cold sores or fever blisters
    • Use a retinoid cream to prevent skin darkening from the treatment
    • Stop using exfoliants and facial scrubs for at least a week before the treatment
    • Stop bleaching, epilating, waxing, and using depilatory hair removal products a week before the peel
    • Arrange for a ride home after the appointment if you have a medium or deep chemical peel that will require sedation
    • Take any prescribed painkiller or sedation medication according to your doctor’s instructions before the appointment


  • How long does it take to recover from a chemical peel?

    Your recovery time will vary depending on the type of chemical peel.

    Light Peels

    You may not need any recovery time. It may take four to seven days for your skin to return to normal. You may notice that your skin is light or darker temporarily.

    Medium Peels

    Initial recovery from a medium chemical peel can take five to seven days. Noticeable redness after your chemical peel may last for several months. You may notice some initial swelling. It is normal after a medium chemical peel to have some crusting and scabbing on the skin, as well as brown-colored blotches. This indicates that new skin is forming after the peel.

    Deep Peels

    Deep chemical peels produce significant swelling and redness initially. It’s also common to experience burning and throbbing sensations. Your eyelids may also swell, making it difficult to keep your eyes open. White spots or cysts may be noticeable for several weeks, and the redness can last for a few months. New skin starts to emerge after two weeks.

    For any type of chemical peel, follow the recovery instructions carefully, including how often to wash your face, when to moisturize, and which products to use. You will need to avoid the sun while your skin heals. Avoid using make-up and perfume until the skin is completely healed. If you experience any discomfort, gently apply ice packs to the area. A small fan may also help relieve the discomfort.

  • Who is a good candidate for a chemical peel?

    There are a number of different chemical peels available, so the treatment can be customized to match your specific needs. An experienced skincare specialist will match your skin requirements with an acid solution that will offer the best results. For those with sensitive skin or dark complexions, Medium and deep chemical peels are usually not recommended for those with sensitive skin or dark complexion due to higher risk of scarring and hyperpigmentation.

  • Is a chemical peel painful?

    If you have a light peel, you may notice a burning sensation that lasts five to ten minutes, followed by some stinging. Gently apply cold compresses to the area to relieve the discomfort. If you are having a deeper peel (a medium or deep peel), you may need prescription or non-prescription pain medication during and after the treatment.

  •  What are the side effects of chemical peeling?

    The most common side effects are temporary redness, burning, stinging, slight swelling, changes in skin color, and dryness.

    Other less common side effects of a chemical peel include:

    • Scarring
    • Infections
    • Higher risk of heart, kidney or liver damage
    • Permanent darkening or lightening of the skin color 
  • Does chemical peel remove dark circles?

    A glycolic peel (light peel) can reduce the appearance of dark circles caused by hyperpigmentation. Medium and deep peels are not recommended for the delicate skin of the eye area.

  • How do you care for your skin after a chemical peel?

    To speed up the healing process and reduce discomfort:

    • Avoid touching your face with your hands, as this may increase the risk of scarring, infection, and breakouts. Your skin may be sensitive and itchy after a peel, especially as it starts to peel.
    • Keep hair off your face. Hair touching your face may lead to irritation or itching.
    • Use a recommended moisturizer. Your skin is likely to be dry and sensitive following a chemical peel, so make sure you’re moisturizing regularly with a cream or lotion approved by a skincare specialist. Regular moisturizing will minimize itching and irritation, as well as support the healing process. Apply the moisturizer gently with clean hands to avoid irritating or damaging your skin, as well as to prevent scarring.
    • Don’t use too much moisturizer. Your skin needs to peel, and using too much moisturizer will delay this process.
    • Always wear sunscreen. Stay out of the sun as much as possible as your skin heals. If you need to go outside, wear a hat and sunscreen. Your skin is more sensitive after a chemical peel, and there is a higher risk of sun damage.
    • Don’t remove loose skin or use an exfoliator. This may increase the risk of scarring and skin damage.
    • Follow a simple, basic skin care routine. Use a high-quality cleanser and moisturizer. The cleanser should be free of sulfate, and toners should not contain alcohol. Follow cleansing with a serum and moisturizer.
    • Avoid strenuous activities. Your skincare specialist may recommend avoiding exercise after your peel because sweating may cause stinging and irritation.


  • Can I go to work after a chemical peel?

    If you have had a light chemical peel, you may experience some mild redness and slight swelling, so you might choose to take the rest of the day off from work. Light chemical peels take around one to seven days to heal.

    If you have had a medium-depth or deep chemical peel, you should be able to return to work after a week, although your skin may take a few months to heal fully.

  • How often should I get a chemical peel?

    Light chemical peels are recommended every two months or less depending on the condition being treated. A follow-up medium chemical peel can be done after three to nine months. You can only have one deep peel in your lifetime.

  • Is a chemical peel safe?

    While all chemical peels carry some risks, they are considered very safe when performed by an experienced, qualified professional. You can minimize your risks by informing your skincare specialist of any history of keloids (overgrowth of scar tissue), unusual scarring, cold sores, a family history of skin discoloration, or hormone medication use.

  • How much does a chemical peel cost?

    Light peels cost between $150 and $300. A deep peel can cost up to $3000, especially if the treatment requires anesthesia or an in-patient stay. 

  • What are the alternatives to a chemical peel?

    Microdermabrasion, non-ablative laser skin resurfacing, dermabrasion, ablative laser treatments, and IPL® are non-surgical treatments that offer similar results to a chemical peel.

    Microdermabrasion exfoliates the top layer of dead skin cells to brighten your complexion. A chemical peel may be performed after microdermabrasion.

    Fractional non-ablative lasers vaporize columns of skin tissue in the treated area, stimulating self-heling of the skin through collagen production. This can be used for improving skin texture and pigmentation, as well as fine lines, skin discoloration, and mild acne scarring. Fractional non-ablative laser treatments are comparable to medium chemical peels in terms of results, side effects, and downtime.

    Dermabrasion is a deeper level of exfoliation that works by removing damaged skin cells down to the dermal layer. It’s an alternative to a deep chemical peel, and it is often used for skin discoloration, crow’s feet, and acne scarring. 

    An ablative laser treatment removes the top layers of skin, and it is used for age spots, scarring, and deeper wrinkles. It is associated with higher risks and has a longer downtime.

    Intense Pulsed Light (IPL®) focuses on pigmentation and discoloration, including liver spots and sun damage. It can also be used for broken capillaries. This makes it a popular alternative to chemical peels for people who have birthmarks, rosacea, and skin redness. It can be used in combination with a light chemical peel.

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There are so many positive things I could say about Dr. Courtney that I thought it would be best to write a review considering reading other reviews before my procedure is how I came about choosing this place. Beforehand, I had went to several Doctors for consultations and all told me that they wanted me to split my procedure up into two sessions. One for the lift and then to come back six months later for the implant. I personally thought that was too expensive and secondly two recoveries. Now I’m already heavy chested but I still wanted an implant along with a lift. As soon as Dr. Courtney walked in the room, it was literally love at first site. She did reserve the right that safety does come first and that if in the process, she felt that it wouldn’t be safe to add and implant than she would not do so. I was ok with that. When I would up from my procedure, I saw that she gave me exactly what I wanted and more. I am VERY pleased with the excellent customer service provided and will definitely come back again soon. Thank you so much Dr. Courtney!

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