Are Chemical Peels Safe for My Skin?

Mar 14, 2024
Are Chemical Peels Safe for My Skin?
You’ve heard the hype, but are worried about what chemical peels will do to your skin. Your concerns are valid, and we’re here to help address them. Keep reading to get answers to your chemical peel questions.

Your skin issues have been bothering you for years, but your arsenal of creams, ointments, and DIY treatments aren’t cutting it. You need something stronger — you need chemical peels

But we understand if you don’t want to swap one set of skin issues for another. 

Kathleen J. Smith, MD, and our Dermatology Specialists of Atlanta team want our patients to feel comfortable before receiving treatment, especially if it’s their first time. 

In this blog, we dive into exactly how chemical peels work so you can assess the risk for yourself. 

The ins and outs of chemical peels

Chemical peels involve a solution we apply to the surface of your skin. The chemicals in the solution remove the top layer of skin cells to improve a wide range of skin problems. 

We recommend chemical peels for wrinkles, scars, sun damage, and other imperfections that develop in the outer layers of your skin. 

The proteins and lipids break down as the chemicals work, loosening skin cells so they “peel” off. As your skin heals, newer, healthier skin cells emerge to replace the old ones, and you see fewer flaws.

You may be concerned about intentionally applying a chemical solution to your skin, but rest assured that chemical peels are perfectly safe if you get them from a trained professional. 

How we keep your skin safe

We never recommend chemical peels to patients with existing skin or health conditions impairing their ability to heal. We also ensure you’re in general good health and not pregnant before recommending chemical peels. 

If you’re a candidate for chemical peels, our next step is determining which type or depth of chemical peel is right for you. 

Chemical peels come in three depths: light (superficial), medium, and deep. 

Light chemical peels use alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) to exfoliate your skin and reduce minor skin imperfections such as: 

  • Sunspots
  • Mild acne
  • Crepey skin 

Medium and deep peels use trichloroacetic acid (TCA) as well as AHAs and BHAs to go much deeper into your skin and provide more dramatic results. 

Light chemical peels cause the least damage to your skin — you can even repeat them every few months. But medium and deep peels disrupt your skin more and should only be used to address more prominent skin problems. 

It’s crucial to only see a trained professional for chemical peels. Dr. Smith has years of experience and advanced training in administering chemical peels. She never recommends a peel if it’s not right for you or your skin’s needs. 

What to expect

Regardless of the peel you get, you can expect your skin to react. At the very least, your skin will be irritated, red, and flakey — but it won’t last forever. 

Over a few days or weeks (depending on the depth of peel you received), your skin will both heal and become more radiant. We ensure you’re fully equipped to handle the aftermath with at-home strategies and care tips. 


If you have more questions about chemical peels and want to see if they’re right for you, call or click to schedule an appointment with the team at our Decatur, Georgia, office today.