Home / RESCUESKIN Stories / What is a Chemical Peel?
What is a Chemical Peel?

What is a Chemical Peel?

I had heard the term chemical peel and seen outpatients after their procedure working in a coffee shop next to a medical spa before college. Women ordering their coffee with bright pink faces and big brimmed hats, sporting fresh nail polish that almost matched their faces. It looked painful, like a sunburn, but I never had the nerve to ask. Professional chemical peels can be broken into three main types, mild, medium, and deep, using different acids to penetrate to different layers of the skin. But why get one?

Chemical peels are used to treat signs of aging skin as well as some skin conditions. The American Academy of Dermatology list some of the results as fewer lines and wrinkles, a more even skin color, brighter complexion, and smoother skin. Dermatologist use chemical peels to treat some types of acne, age spots, discoloration, fine lines, freckles, melasma, sun damage, and rough feeling skin. But different types of peels are used for different skin conditions and results and may require downtime as the skin heals or multiple procedures. Let’s see the differences according to the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery:

Mild (Superficial or lunchtime) peel: Alpha-hydroxy acid or another mild acid is used to penetrate only the outer layer of skin to gently exfoliate it. The treatment is used to improve the appearance of mild skin discoloration and rough skin as well as to refresh the face, neck, chest or hands.
Medium peel: Glycolic or trichloroacetic acid is applied to penetrate the outer and middle layers of skin to remove damaged skin cells. The treatment is used to improve age spots, fine lines and wrinkles, freckles and moderate skin discoloration. It also can be used to smooth rough skin and treat some precancerous skin growths, i.e. actinic keratosis.
Deep peel: Trichloroacetic acid or phenol is applied to deeply penetrate the middle layer of skin to remove damaged skin cells. The treatment removes moderate lines, age spots, freckles and shallow scars. Patients will see a dramatic improvement in skin appearance. The procedure is used on the face and only can be performed once.

It’s clear that chemical peels work and are popular for their nearly immediate results.  “Women have been using peels for over 2,000 years! Cleopatra soaked in milk baths to smooth her skin. The active ingredient in milk is lactic acid (an alpha hydroxy acid, or AHA) and these acids (along with beta-hydroxy acids or BHAs) are still among the most commonly used types in modern peels,” says Erin Gilbert, MD, PhD, in an interview for Reader’s Digest.

Not ready for a chemical peel? Rescue can help your skin naturally achieve similar results by promoting healthy cell regeneration and repair, and helping to stimulate pro-collagen and dermal fibroblast production. Our adult human stem cell derived active with our all-natural formulation can help to prevent future fine lines, loss of volume and elasticity, while also naturally improving skin tone and texture, and other skin challenges related to aging skin. Rescue’s restorative properties also help reduce puffiness, fine lines, wrinkles, skin imperfections such as scars, pigmentation issues, and even acne, many of the same benefits of a chemical peel without the downtime and discomfort of the healing process.


  1. https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/cosmetic-treatments/chemical-peels
  2. https://www.asds.net/ChemicalPeelsInformation.aspx
  3. https://www.rd.com/health/beauty/all-about-chemical-peels/
  4. https://www.webmd.com/beauty/features/facts-chemical-peels