How to Apply a Chemical Peel

A chemical peel is an effective method of exfoliating the skin, removing dead dry skin cells on the surface and leaving a softer, smoother complexion underneath. While many chemical peels are performed in a doctor's office, there are also home versions that use less potent chemicals, but offer similar results. When you learn the proper way to prepare for and apply these products, you will see the best chemical peel results.


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    Prepare your skin for the home chemical peel.
    • If you take any tretinoin-based prescription products like Retin-A or Differin, discontinue use at least 1 week prior to your peel. Tretinoin is the acid form of vitamin A, which is often used to treat acne or minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. These products have the potential to irritate the skin, which could impact the outcome of your peel.
    • Perform a mild exfoliation treatment 24 hours prior to your treatment, using a gentle facial scrub. After washing the skin, apply a pH solution to prepare your skin for the peel.
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    Perform a spot test prior to your chemical peel.
    • A patch test tells you how your skin will respond to the peel. The test should be performed on your forearm, or on a small area of skin below the ear at the hairline. Leave the test solution on for at least 1 minute before washing it off with water.
    • Check the test patch after 24 hours. If skin looks normal around the test area, proceed with your skin rejuvenation treatment. If irritation like redness or tenderness appeared, lower the concentration of chemicals in the peel solution and try another test. If you had signs of an allergic reaction, such as raised bumps or itching, try a lower concentration of active ingredients (glycolic,salicylic or trichloroacetic acid) in your peel solution.
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    Cleanse your face before applying the chemical peel solution.
    • Use water and a soap-free cleanser to avoid drying out the skin prior to your peel. Finish with an application of a mild astringent such as witch hazel,or the prep solution that came with your chemical peel kit.
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    Apply an even coat of the chemical peel solution to the skin.
    • Use a cotton ball or swab for the application process, beginning with the less sensitive areas of skin around the forehead, chin and cheeks. Continue to apply the chemical peel to the lower eyelids, nose and neck area. Make sure the solution is applied evenly, or your chemical peel results will be inconsistent.
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    Leave the peel on your skin for the recommended amount of time.
    • Most chemical peel kits recommend no more than 1 to 2 minutes, depending on the type of peel and the concentration of chemicals in the solution. Watch your skin for signs of irritation. While some burning is normal, if your skin begins to frost or sting intensely, remove the peel solution right away.
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    Remove the peel and apply a neutralizing solution.
    • Many kits come with a neutralizing solution that halts the work of the chemicals so they cannot continue to burn the skin. If your kit does not come with a neutralizer, that means your peel is designed to stop working as soon as it is washed off, and an additional solution is not needed. However, please read the instructions in your chemical peel kit to confirm if a neutralizer is needed.


  • Sometimes they just don't send you a neutralizer, in that case use a mixture of baking soda and water as a neutralizer just to be safe.
  • Do not leave a chemical peel on your face for too long, or skin damage and burning can result. Watch your skin and the clock to ensure you get the full benefits of your peel without any negative side effects.

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Categories: Spa Treatments & Massages