Types Of Chemical Peel | Brighten Up Your Complexion

Cosmetic procedures use various types of chemical peels to apply a chemical solution to the skin, causing the top layers to peel off and reveal healthier younger-looking skin. Chemical peels effectively diminish skin imperfections such as fine lines and wrinkles, sun damage, acne scars, and many others.


There are three major categories of chemical peels: 

  1. Superficial/light Peel
  2. Medium Peel
  3. Deep Peel


A diverse range of types of chemical peel can be used selected based on the patient’s skin type and preferences. The treatment intensity determines the primary categories of peels: light, medium, and deep peels including chemical peels treatment. 


Superficial peels, known as light chemical peels, use gentle peeling agents to exfoliate the skin. These peels typically contain alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) like glycolic or salicylic acid that only affect the epidermis or top layer of skin. They are best for individuals with minor skin concerns, such as slight discoloration or mild acne. While they can help improve skin texture and tone, they do not significantly improve more severe skin issues.

  1. Alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) peels: Alpha-hydroxy acids, including citric acid (found in citrus fruits), lactic acid (found in fermented milk), malic acid (found in apples), and tartaric acid (from grapes), exfoliate the skin and stimulate collagen production. Glycolic acid, derived from sugar cane, is the most widely used AHA for peels among them. Its small molecular structure allows it to penetrate multiple layers of the skin, providing an effective exfoliation. The strength of the glycolic acid peel can be adjusted to ensure optimal results while minimizing skin sensitivity.
  2. Beta-hydroxy acid (BHA) peels: The formulators create BHA peels with a lipid base that binds the solution to the skin’s natural oils, allowing it to penetrate more deeply into the dermis than many AHA peels. The primary acid in BHA peels is usually salicylic acid, which helps to clear out pores and has anti-inflammatory properties that reduce the redness associated with acne.
  3. Jessner’s peels: Jessner’s peels’ strength depends on the acid concentration used. Other acid mixtures, such as mandelic, phytic, and lactic acid, can be used. Almonds are a good source of mandelic acid, while phytic acid is suitable for hypersensitive skin. Lactic acid is useful for lightening and hydrating the skin. Facial chemical peels include can cause help rosacea patients by adjusting acid concentrations.
    Image source: Instagram @sjraesthetics


    Medium chemical peels, which are more intensive than superficial peels but less so than used in deep peels, often make use of trichloroacetic acid (TCA). These peels can help in correcting severe skin imperfections such as deep wrinkles, sun damage, and acne scars. The recuperation period for a medium peel may last several days, and the skin may appear red and inflamed during this phase.


    Deep peels intend to reach deeper into the layers of the dermis. It can make your face look younger and healthier for a long time, but they usually take longer to heal. Patients considering a deeper peel may also want to explore laser resurfacing to revitalize their skin. Skin rejuvenation using laser resurfacing has become popular, safe, and effective.

    Image source: Instagram @sjraesthetics


    Besides the commonly known chemical peel, there are a few others that are used in specialized contexts.


    Carbolic acid serves as a peeling agent in phenol peels. You can change the concentration of carbolic acid or mix it with resorcinol or salicylic acid to get great results from phenol peels, which are the most potent chemical peeling solution and produce dramatic results. The power of the phenol peel can bring about life-changing effects, but in some concentrations, it can only be used once.


    Glycolic acid, a fruit-derived AHA, is an excellent chemical peel must  ingredient due to its small molecular size that enables deep skin penetration. It effectively removes dead skin cells and sebum from pores without causing redness and is available in various strengths. Many users report significant improvements in skin appearance and texture after using glycolic peels.


    Through its ability to dissolve epidermal dead cells, lactic acid can be used as an exfoliant. When compared to peels using other acids, lactic acid is much more gentle on sensitive skin. Lactic acid helps the skin retain its natural moisture, making it more supple and healthy. Skin texture, tone, clarity, and fine lines may all benefit from a lactic peel.

    Beta-chemical peels rely heavily on salicylic acid, a beta-hydroxy acid (BHA) found in willow bark. Its natural antimicrobial properties make it useful for exfoliation, oil balance, and inflammation reduction. Because it dissolves in oil, it can fight the bacteria and sebum that cause acne and clogged pores.

    The anti-inflammatory effects of salicylic acid make beta-hydroxy acid (BHA) peels more tolerable than alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) peels. Each person’s skin is different, so it’s best to talk to a dermatologist or other skin care expert to determine what will work best for you.


    The “revitalization” process involves reinforcing a person’s vitality and health. To some extent, a vitalized chemical peels can work improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, scars, dark spots, rough patches, and overall skin tone. Salicylic acid, lactic acid, citric acid, and even retinoic acid are all used in conjunction with one another in chemical peels (retinol).

    A vitalized peel is not as strong as lactic or beta peels but less harsh than other peels. It’s a great place to start if you’ve never tried a peel or any other form of chemical exfoliation before. Vitalize chemical exfoliation is gentle on the skin and results in minimal peeling. After just one vitalized peel treatment, many people notice a difference in their skin tone, and continued treatments yield even better results.


    Chemical peels that even out pigmentation use a similar multi-AHA/multi-BHA combination as revitalizing peels. They help to even out skin tone and reduce brown spots, making them a popular treatment for hyperpigmentation (skin darkening) and Melasma (discoloration). Acne scars and wrinkles are two more cosmetic issues that can benefit from a pigment-balancing peel.

    It’s important to remember that a pigment-balancing peel may require multiple applications before you notice a difference in your skin. First, you might find that your skin tone is more even and your complexion is smoother; then, over time, you might see a decrease in the appearance of age spots. Wearing sunscreen daily is essential because sun exposure can aggravate hyperpigmentation.


    Choosing a chemical peel that uses depends on how bad your skin problems are, how sensitive your skin is, and what results you want. If you’re new to chemical peels, it’s best, to begin with, used as a superficial peel and progress to deeper peels as your skin adjusts. Also, it would help if you ensured that the person doing your chemical peel is licensed and has much experience. Chemical peels can be very effective, but they can also be dangerous if not performed correctly.

    Your skin care professional should do a full consultation and skin analysis before recommending a particular chemical peel. Following a chemical peel, it is essential to adhere to your skincare professional’s post-treatment care instructions. This may entail avoiding direct sun exposure, using gentle skincare products, and avoiding harsh exfoliants for a few days following your peel.

    Image source: Instagram @imageskincareaus


    Your skin care needs and goals will determine the type of chemical peel you get. Before undergoing a chemical peel, it is recommended that you speak with a licensed and experienced skincare professional who can help you determine the best treatment plan and ensure proper aftercare.

    Read More: Chemical Peel Benefits | Secret Weapon Against Aging



    Overproduction of the skin pigment melanin causes the skin condition known as melasma, which manifests in brown or grey patches. Melasma is often found on the face, and a Cosmelan peel is an effective chemical treatment method. Kojic acid, azelaic acid, arbutin, phytic acid, and ascorbic acid are the five main ingredients in the Cosmelann peel.

    They all work together to prevent melanin production by the skin’s melanocytes. The chemical peel also helps exfoliate the skin’s pigmented layer, revealing brighter, smoother skin.


    TCA chemical peels, one of the most potent peels available, can help remove the dark marks left after a pimple or other forms of skin injury, known as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation in dermatology. This chemical peel causes deep skin peeling, which helps skin to remove damaged skin cells and replace it with fresh, new skin cells.

    If the PIH is at a deeper level, stronger TCA skin peels can help to break up the pigmentation and encourage the migration of the pigmented skin cells to the surface, where they will eventually be shed.