4 Doctors Break Down the Pros and Cons to Chemical Peels

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4 Doctors Break Down the Pros and Cons to Chemical Peels featured image
This article first appeared in the Spring 2021 issue of New Beauty. Click here to subscribe

Like mom jeans, scrunchies and Doc Martens, chemical peels are making a comeback. While it’s fairly certain everyone has fallen back in love with at least one ’90s-revival fashion trend of late, doctors say it’s smart to prep yourself on the treatment before you jump in.


They Are One of the Best Skin Rejuvenators
I believe peels remain one of the best skin-rejuvenation procedures for fair-skinned individuals that we have developed over the past 3,500 years,” says Spokane, WA dermatologist Wm. Philip Werschler, MD. His reasoning: “They can help even skin tone, reduce fine lines, improve overall texture, decrease acne scarring, smooth large pores, and remove rough spots and skin tags.”

They Are Cost-Efficient
Unlike other exfoliating treatments such as microneedling or lasers, chemical peels are typically more budget-friendly. According to Wayne, NJ facial plastic surgeon Jeffrey B. Wise, MD, “Because peels can yield excellent results for little expenditure, patients are able to complete our recommended series of treatments or come into the office for a skin ‘refresh’ without worrying too much about overspending.”


They Can Be Purchased by Anyone
While the majority of peels done are of the “lighter” variety that aim to target texture and tone, stronger peels can cause scarring when put in the wrong hands, says Bloomfield Hills, MI dermatologist Linda C. Honet, MD, who stresses that visiting a board-certified doctor or aesthetician is the way to go. “The internet has allowed inexperienced people to claim ‘expertise’ by simply purchasing a peel and watching a DIY video. When it comes to chemical peels, buyer beware.”

They May Require Substantial Downtime
Chemical peels are not a one- size-fits-all situation, and they require customization, depending on skin type. While Concord, CA plastic surgeon Eric Mariotti, MD praises them for this reason, he says that deeply exfoliating peels often come with some baggage. “Deep peels, such as the texture-improving phenol peel, are not benign procedures, as the recovery can take weeks. Plus, you need to avoid sun exposure for up to several months afterwards.”

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