Chemical Peel FAQ

Please note, Face Clinic London no longer offers Chemical Peels. Please use this post as a guide. To find a safe, trusted clinic to perform this treatment, please head to


Frequently Asked Questions about Chemical Peels

If you are considering a chemical peel please take a look at our Q&A. If you have a questions, not listed below please contact one of our friendly team

What Is A Chemical Peel?

A chemical peel is a skin treatment; which is used to improve and smooth out the surface of the facial skin. A chemical solution is used to remove top layers of skin, which allows the dead surface skin to peel off. The peeling process leads to new skin growth – usually smoother, healthier and less wrinkled compared to the old skin. Chemical peels should only be performed by aesthetic professionals, such as aesthetic doctors, nurses and beauty therapists.

Which Peel is Right For Me?

There are three different types of peel: superficial, medium and deep peels. These are categorised by the strength of the acid solution used in the peel and how deeply they penetrate the skin. Deeper peels penetrate the skin further and require greater recovery time. At Face Clinic London we only perform superficial peels, as these has minimum side effects and recovery time.

Superficial Chemical Peel?

Superficial peels are a good option for many people as they have a gentler effect, require no pain relief, and can be used in more skin types, including darker skin tones, with little or no recovery time. Medium and deep chemical peels cannot be used in darker skin types and it may also take a few weeks for the skin to recover from the effects of the peeling, inflammation and redness. At Face Clinic London we use three types of peel, the Skinceuticals Gel Peel SM, recommended for all skin types; the  Skinceuiticals Micropeel, containing either 20% or 30% gycolic acid, which is great for reducing the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, age spots and dull skin. Finally we offer the stronger Skinceuticals Pigment Balancing Peel for treatment of pigmented skin and uneven skin tone.

The Skinceuticals Gel Peel

The skinceuticals Gel Peel SM is a superficial chemical peel that uses a combination of salicylic and mandelic acid, which work together to exfoliate the skin and remove dead skin cells, while decongesting pores and reducing irritation. Mandelic acid penetrates the skin evenly to help prevent inflammation and irritation that can sometimes occur with chemical peel use. Salicylic acid penetrates the pores to dissolve oily skin coating and remove excess dead skin cells and skin debris. This peel is great for skin prone to acne or breakouts.

The Skinceuticals Pigment Balancing Peel

The Skinceuticals Pigment Balancing Peel contains a mixture of a pigment balancing solution containing 40% Glycolic acid and, a 27% Vitamin C masque that, when combined, become a peel which is specifically designed to brighten pigmented skin. This treatment is effective for skin with uneven tone. This is a stronger superficial peel with a combination of skin brightening, anti-inflammatory and peeling agents to stimulate new skin cell growth and reveal healthy skin below.

The Skinceuticals Micropeel

The SkinCeuiticals Micropeels contain either 20% or 30% gycolic acid, which is great for reducing the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, age spots and dull skin. If you use either the 20% or 30% it still remains a superficial peel with little to no downtime.

Gycolic Acid is the most common and the safest form of AHA (alpha hydroxy acid), which removes the outer layer of skin cells bringing fresh skin to the surface. It’s also used to help skin discoloration and pigmentation.

How Do Peels work?

The peel speeds up your natural skin’s healing process by stimulating the production of collagen and improving elastin fibres- these are what give skin it’s youthful form and shape. It also revitalizes sensitive skin and helps improve the appearance of irritated or inflamed skin.

What Skin Conditions are Peels used for?

  • Acne– Superficial chemical peels exfoliate the skin, allowing dead skin cells to be removed more effectively, excess oils on the skin are also removed. This action unblocks hair follicles and pores and reducing the appearance of pimples and improving skin texture that is damaged by acne.
  • Reduce fine lines and wrinkles- especially under the eyes and around the mouth in sun damaged or ageing skin.
  • Rough skin Texture- chemical peels can improve rough skin texture by increasing the amount of collagen in the upper layer of the skin.
  • Lentigines (large freckles) which appear as dark spots on the skin, they are also called liver spots, or age spots- Large freckles can develop as a result of sun exposure and are present on sites which are exposed to excess sun such as face and arms and neck. A course of chemical peels can lighten large freckles and improve the appearance of sun damaged skin.
  • Melasma- is a dark skin discoloration which appears as patches commonly found on the cheeks, nose, lips, upper lip, and forehead. It is common in women who are taking hormonal treatment in the form of contraceptives or Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) and pregnant women. A course of chemical peels can lighten the appearance of dark discoloured skin caused by melasma.
  • Hyperpigmentation- caused by excess skin pigment in the skin which can result in uneven skin tone. Chemical peels can lighten and even out the tone and appearance of the skin. The skinceuticals pigment balancing masque and peel maybe more effective for hyperpigmentation and uneven skin tone.
  • Superficial peels are suitable for ethnic skins.
  • Superficial peels are also good preparation for medium and deep peels and are appropriate for serial applications and as a companion treatment for microdermabrasion or IPL. They can be performed prior to microdermabrasion if the skin can tolerate it to enhance the effectiveness of the treatment.

Superficial Chemical Peels Cannot be Used for:

  • Superficial peels cannot eradicate deep lines and wrinkles, cure sagging skin due to sun damage or ageing or decrease the size of skin pores.
  • Chemical peels should not be used in pregnant or breast feeding women
  • If you have active cold sores or warts on the face
  • If you have any inflamed rashes, skin reactions or open wounds on the skin
  • Sunburn, need to wait 4 weeks after excessive sun exposure before having a peel
  • If you have excessively sensitive skin, including atopic eczema or dermatitis, inflammatory rosacea in the area to be treated
  • If you have a history of severe allergy or known allergy to the components of the peel including allergy to aspirin
  • If you have taken Roaccutane (a medical treatment for severe acne), within the past 12 months
  • If you have been treated with radiotherapy or chemotherapy in the past 12 months
  • If you have a history of keloid scarring

How Many Peels Do I Need?

Whilst you may see some very minor benefits after a single superficial peel. We recommend a course of six peels, one or two weeks apart. This will give the best results, as the full benefits of the peels build up over a course of six treatments. After a course of six peels you can have a once monthly maintenance peel or wait for three months before embarking on another course of peels.

How do I prep my skin?

Six Weeks Prior to Peel:

Stop any products containing retinol eg. Retin-A, Renova, Differin (Adapalene 0.1%) Tazorac

Two Weeks Before Peel:

We advise you to book a pre peel consultation two weeks before your peel where an aesthetic professional will assess your skin and discuss your expectations of the treatment. They will explain the treatment. A patch test will be performed. A patch test is to check that you are not allergic to the peel. A small amount of the skinceuticals peel will be applied to your arm to check for any reactions. Allergy to peels is quite rare.

You will be advised to prepare the skin with three products for two weeks before the peel and to continue during and after the peel course. The three products are Retexturing Activator or Pigment Regulator, an antioxidant and a sunscreen. These products will improve the results of the peel and are especially important for those going on a course of peels.

  • Retexturing Activator is a revolutionary resurfacing and replenishing serum, which exfoliates and hydrates. It activates the skin’s regeneration response, visibly diminishing surface lines and transforming skin’s fabric into a smoother, softer texture. Retexturing activator can be continued during and after your course of peels to further enhance the effect of your peel.
  • Pigment Regulator is used instead of Retexturing Activator if you are having a chemical peel for excess pigmentation. Pigment Regulator lightens and reduces existing skin pigment, improves overall skin tone, and protects skin from future discolorations. The formulation combines precise concentrations of kojic acid and emblica to improve uneven skin tone. Pigment Regulator inhibits the production of excess melanin, prevents excess melanin from travelling to the skin’s surface, and breaks up melanin clusters on the skin’s surface to diminish existing discoloration.
  • Antioxidant serums such as CE Ferulic, Phloretin CF or Serum 10 provide advanced skin protection by neutralising environmental and sun skin damage. They help build collagen, and provide unmatched antioxidant protection.
  • Sunscreens are essential and should be used in combination with an antioxidant to protect the skin from the ageing effects of ultraviolet sun damage. It is very important to use a sunscreen, a minimum of SPF 30, and to avoid sun exposure following a peel, and during the treatment period for up to four weeks. As the delicate post peel skin can be more easily sun damaged and this can lead to excessive skin pigmentation.

One Week Before Peel:

Avoid electrolysis, waxing, hair removal creams and laser hair removal for an entire week prior to your chemical peel.

24 Hours Before Your Peel:

Stop using any exfoliating products or products that may be drying or irritating including products containing alpha or beta hydroxyl acids or benzoyl peroxide (a treatment for acne). You will also be advised that on the day of your peel to cleanse your skin in the morning and not to apply makeup on the face other than eyes or lips.

The Peel Procedure

During the peel your skin will be cleansed and toned and the chemical peel will be applied to your skin using a gentle brush, the peel will be left on the skin for between three and five minutes, during which time some patients may experience a mild tingling or a mild burning sensation. The procedure is not painful. After the peel a cool compresses may be applied to the skin. Your skin will be moisturised and an antioxidant and a sun screen will be applied to the skin.

Chemical Peel Aftercare

After your peel you may notice that the skin is more red than usual for two hours afterwards, you may also notice that the skin feels tight or dry and or you may experience some very mild flaky skin for a few days. Rarely you may experience crusting of the skin, swelling or a reactivation of cold sores. It is very important to use a sunscreen during the course of your treatment and for four weeks after to prevent uneven skin tone and excess pigmentation. Do not use any other skin products except those advised by your therapist.

  1. Do not pick any spots or peel off any flaky skin
  2. Do not use Alpha Hydroxy Acids or BetaHydroxy Acids on your skin for 24 hours
  3. It is imperative that you use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 and avoid direct sunlight for at least one month
  4. Patients with hypersensitivity to the sun should take extra precautions to guard against exposure immediately following the procedure, as they may be more sensitive following the peel.
  5. Please avoid strenuous activity for 24 hours.
  6. When washing your face do not scrub, use a gentle cleanser for sensitive skin.
  7. Apply a light moisturiser such as hydrating B5 as often as needed to relieve dryness and tightness
  8. 8. Do not have any other facial treatment for at least one week after the peel

If you feel that you are having any problem, please call us on 08456044992 so that we may assist you.

We recommend the Following Skincare Regime to Continue After a Chemical Peel:

It is very important to use a sunscreen and antioxidant to protect the skin following a peel. We also recommend using either Retexturing Activator or Pigment Regulator to enhance the effectiveness of the peel as per the following skin care regime.

Morning Regime

  1. Cleanser: Such as Gentle Cleanser.
  2. *Anitioxidant: Prevention: , such as CE Ferulic or Phloretin CF or Serum 10.
  3. Moisturiser: Such as Hydrating B5.
  4. *Corrective Gel: Retexturing Activator or Pigment Regulator
  5. **Sunscreen: Minimum SPF 30

Evening Regime

  1. Cleanser: Such as Gentle Cleanser.
  2. *Corrective Gel: Retexturing Activator or Pigment Regulator
  3. Moisturiser: Such as Hydrating B5.


These products are available online Face clinic London Skin Store in or in store at our Soho clinic.

Book Your Next Peel

To get the best results from your peel and the most effective results we recommend a course of six peels one or two weeks apart. After a course of six peels you can have a once monthly maintenance peel or wait for three months before embarking on another course of peels. Please book in your next peel by calling 08456044992 after 11am.

Related Articles:

  • Chemical Peel Summary Page
  • Recommended Skincare before and after Chemical Peels
  • How Can Skin Peels Help You?
  • Chemical Peels for Treating Acne

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