Do Chemical Peels Hurt? What You Need to Know

Apr 30, 2024

Our skin is the largest organ in our body, covering about 22 square feet and weighing around eight pounds for the average adult. In the United States, skincare is a big part of the cosmetic and beauty industry, accounting for 37% of the $84 billion spent annually.

But some acne treatments, like chemical peels, can sound scary because of the word “chemical.” People often wonder, “Do chemical peels hurt?”

What Is a Chemical Peel?

A chemical peel is a skin treatment that helps to make your skin smoother and glowing. It uses special chemicals like alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) or beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs) to remove the top layer of your skin.

Sometimes, people get chemical peels to treat skin issues, while other times, they just want their skin to look better. Doctors like dermatologists and skilled estheticians can do chemical peels. Only doctors do the stronger ones.

Types of Chemical Peels

There are three types of chemical peels, and each has its own advantages. Face peels for acne are straightforward and simple, while peels for deep wrinkles are more complicated.

  • Superficial/Light Peels:

    These peels work on the top layer of your skin, called the epidermis, by removing dead skin cells. They’re simple and easy, often called “lunchtime peels” because they’re quick. They use mild acids like Alpha Hydroxy or Beta Hydroxy acid. You might have some peeling for 3-4 days afterward, but there’s hardly any downtime. They’re less expensive than other peels and can help with things like fine lines, acne, and dry skin. You might need one every two to five weeks for best results.

  • Medium Peels:

    These peels go deeper into your skin than light peels, removing dead skin cells from both the epidermis and upper dermis layers. They’re stronger and might be a bit uncomfortable. They use Trichloroacetic acid (TCA). They cost more than light peels and take about a week to recover from. They can help with wrinkles, acne scars, and uneven skin tone. You might need another one every three to nine months.

  • Deep Peels:

    These are the strongest chemical peels and should only be done by a certified doctor. They use Phenol, which can deeply penetrate your skin. They’re the most expensive and have the longest recovery time. They can even lighten the top layer of your skin, so they’re not great for darker skin tones. Usually, they’re only done once, and they’re best for severe wrinkles, scars, or growths on your face.

Do Chemical Peels Hurt on the Face?

Many people worry about whether chemical peels will be painful. While deep peels might require pain control, light and medium peels usually don’t hurt much. Usually, light and medium peels might cause a bit of discomfort for 3-5 minutes. It can feel like tingling or a slight burning sensation, but it’s not too bad.

These feelings go away once the procedure is done. If you’re worried about pain, it’s best to talk to the doctor and staff at the place where you will be getting the procedure.

How Long Does a Chemical Peel Take to Heal?

After a medium chemical peel, it takes about seven to 14 days for the treated areas to heal. However, you might have redness for several months. With a deep chemical peel, you will have severe redness and swelling. You might also feel burning and throbbing, and the swelling might even make your eyelids swell shut.

Wrapping Up

If you are interested in skincare treatments, chances are you also wish to benefit from chemical peels. The biggest concern that drives most away is, “Do chemical peels hurt?” Not if they are done by professionals who know every little nuance of the treatment.

Visit Dr. Harman Buttar at Vital Clinic and Spa for VI Purify with Precision Plus Peels. Our doctor’s cosmetic treatments are designed to accurately fit your needs. Call us at (832) 533-8404 to book an appointment.