Chemical Peels: An Overview

chemical peels: an overview

When it comes to Chemical Peels, if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for, it can be intimidating to suss out on your own. With so many options out there, it can be tricky to figure out where you stand. You might want a treatment for a specific condition, but is it suitable for your skin type? We know that certain treatments applied to the wrong skin type can hinder more than help. This is why we are currently offering a free online skin consultation with one of our in-clinic skin consultants.  Whether you want to come to our clinic for an in-person facial in Cork or you’re looking to order an at-home solution online, read on for a clear overview.

Peels: At-Home Or in a Clinic?

At-home peels rightly very intimidating for many people. We’ve all heard of or thought about those worst-case scenarios, and it’s good to be wary of anything you are considering applying to your body. Just because something is freely available doesn’t mean it’s good for your skin. Everyone is different, and caution is always warranted when you’re trying something for the first time.

at-home peels

If you’re an absolute first-timer and aren’t sure of your skin type, potential reactions or other underlying conditions, it may be advisable to consider first speaking with a local clinic. You’re also welcome to have an online consultation with us first. Even if you’re not nearby, if you have time to fill in our questionnaire and a webcam to chat with one of our skin consultants, we can help you make an informed decision based on a comprehensive analysis of your skin type.

Advantages of an At-Home Chemical Peels

If you’re sure that a particular product is suitable for your skin type and you take all the necessary precautions, then you may find an at-home chemical peel better suited for your situation.

If you’re living a bit outside of town, have other priorities that limit your time for visits to the clinic, or you’re trying to keep costs reasonable, a chemical peel performed at home can do an excellent job.

Keep an eye on the clock!eat well after a chemical peel

At-home peels are designed to be as effective as possible but also as safe as possible. They’re meant to allow a wide margin of error so that even if you make a big mistake (like not setting a timer and forgetting to remove it on-time), you ought to have enough wiggle room that it won’t be a severe problem.  When it comes to comprehensive in-clinic treatment, such as microdermabrasion, it’s best left in expert hands.

Is a Peel an Exfoliator?

Ultimately, an at-home peel is designed to use some chemical process to exfoliate your skin. What makes it different from a regular old exfoliation treatment is that these usually rely on a mechanical action of solid or fibrous matter working on a micro level to ‘scrape’ away dead skin cells. While technically, exfoliators include chemical peels, in general, when we think of an exfoliator, we think of a scrub.

With chemical peels, a particular product may include other ingredients to break down dead skin cells and unclog your pores and stimulate the growth of new, healthier skin cells. This can reduce and illuminate break-outs, rejuvenate duller skin, and reduce problems with dryness.

Don’t Mix Exfoliators With Chemical Peelsapplying an at-home peel

One thing that’s important to point out is that you should never exfoliate before a peel. This isn’t going to make your peel more effective; it’s going to damage your skin.

Technically, all exfoliation processes damage your skin. But they damage your skin on a surface level that’s actually health. It’s the same effect as when you lift a weight. On a microscopic level, weight lifting damages your muscles fibres, and this stimulates your body to rebuild stronger and healthier cells. It’s almost the same when it comes to your skin. We’re often providing a healthy level of stress for your skin’s cells to stimulate newer, healthier growth. But you have to be careful. More is definitely not better when it comes to this process.

What Are The Risks of Using Skin Peels?

With any product you apply to your skin, it’s important to exercise caution. In the most extreme and rare cases, when caution was thrown to the wind or an improper treatment was applied, permanent discolourations have occurred to some people. You can easily avoid these sorts of risks with proper care and consideration.  In very rare circumstances, there have also been cases of scarring or skin infection. But again, this is a result of misuse and is not something to worry about if you’re taking the necessary precautions.

The Three Types of Chemical Peels

There are three types of peels suited for different conditions, skin types and situations. There are superficial, medium and deep peels. As you can imagine, the deep peel applies the most stress to your skin, has the most risks, and can be the most effective.

Superficial Chemical Peels

Superficial peels are the most common and recommended type of at-home chemical peel. These focus on the most upper-layer of skin, the epidermis. This means it’s the least invasive and, therefore, the least likely to cause problems. With most of these products, you apply them to your skin for a few minutes. And you might require a somewhat regular regimen for the best long-term benefits.

Medium Peels

With a medium level peel, the process tackles not just your most ‘superficial skin layer but goes deeper to the middle ‘dermis’ layer. Skin cells are removed from the surface, and stress is also applied to those deeper skin layers to stimulate regrowth and rejuvenation. When you start using these higher-powered products, it’s crucial to keep a timer on hand and don’t let yourself get distracted. You need to ensure you remove the product at the appropriate time.

Deep Peels

You won’t see many deep peels available to order online! These go right down into the deepest layer of your skin, right down to the dermis base and near the subcutaneous tissue. These are not to be taken lightly. They require supervision, and often because these are quite extreme processes, you may require a locally applied pain management medication. Your heart and blood pressure may also require monitoring, and so this so extreme that most clinics choose not to provide this service. While it has long-lasting benefits that mean you do not need to repeat the process often, the swelling afterwards can last up to fourteen days, and unwanted redness can persist for up to twelve weeks. This process is only advised for the most severe or chronic skin conditions. Honestly, for most skin conditions, it’s unnecessary and overly invasive. If you’re looking for peels in Cork, consider giving us a call to discuss your situation.


As mentioned earlier, before you apply any kind of peel, you must avoid exfoliating for at least one week beforehand. This will avoid overly damaging your skin’s layers which can put you at risk of pain, irritation, swelling or worse. During this preparation time, you may need to avoid wearing make-up, keep out of direct sunlight to avoid skin damage, and make sure you don’t get dehydrated. Drink plenty of water to keep your skin’s health as optimal as possible.

After Care

One of the most important aspects of the whole process is how you treat your body and skin after applying the chemical peel. Remember that this process works by stressing your skin, and so you now need to give your skin time to rejuvenate without strain. Some products may be great for aftercare, with specialised ingredients such as colostrum, but that may not mean they’re suitable for the condition your skin will be in after a peel. If you’re unsure whether a product is suitable for your skin, feel free to reach out to us for a consultation.

Avoid Sunlight

Continue to avoid excessive direct sunlight. No trips to the beach, and if you’re going outdoors, make sure to apply some sort of UV protection that is gentle on your skin.

Avoid touching your face

It’s hard not to when it feels so different. It might feel a little plump or swollen (and very often also feels lovely and smooth), but you must remember that your skin is not as well protected after a peel, and your hands can contain bacteria which is best to avoid. Touching your face also adds an element of abrasion, which, in your skin’s delicate state, can cause redness and irritation.

Eat well and take good care of your skineat well after a chemical peel

Continue to avoid wearing make-up. Continue drinking plenty of water and eating healthy, nourishing food that’s good for your skin.

How often should you apply Chemical Peels?

When it comes to a chemical peel, you really need to follow the instructions that come with a particular product. Every product is different, and each carries its own directions for us. Keep in mind, as always, that your skin is unique. You must be careful to use the appropriate product for you. The right amount of stress can be healthy for your skin’s health, but don’t take unnecessary risks. Generally, you can expect to wait at least a few weeks before re-applying. It takes at least this long for your skin’s health to recover, regrow and rejuvenate.

If you’re unsure which products to go with and you would like to arrange a skin consultation with us online, you can do so here.