Here Are 3 Surprising Things Chemical Peels Do to Your Skin over Time

Let’s talk about the do’s and don’ts of at-home chemical peels! Cassandra loves chemical peels, but they are actually one of the most underrated professional skincare treatments. Chemical peels exfoliate and renew the skin. They also help with fine lines and even some pigmentation depending on the peel!

However, some chemical peels can make pigmentation worse. But, that’s why it’s good to see an expert if you want to pay for one. You can get a superficial chemical peel, a medium-depth chemical peel, or a deep chemical peel that penetrates into the dermis, which is where collagen and elastin are. Deep chemical peels take months for the skin to recover from, and there are even more intense ones like the phenol peel which can be very painful.

However, if you do choose a chemical peel, there are definitely special benefits. 

Chemical peels make your skin gets thicker.

The dermis or the deepest layer of the skin holds collagen and elastin. And when you get chemical peels, the dermis becomes thicker. Yes, it exfoliates off layers of skin. But, over time, chemical peels promote cellular turnover, collagen growth, and elastin growth. Collagen is the strong stuff that makes our skin look supple, and elastin is the stretchy stuff that makes it bouncy. When there is more collagen and elastin, it makes the inside of our skin thicker!

Getting thicker skin is fantastic for treating fine lines, wrinkles, scarring, and many other things.  Medical data shows how thick skin can become after chemical peels. For best results, most people a medium chemical peel once every six months. You can also get a superficial chemical peel once a month. 

Chemical peels help with acne scars.

Many people don’t realize how chemical peels can help with acne scars, specifically box or ice-pick scars. However, chemical peels aren’t going to work for all scars though. For example, keloid scars are much different. Keloids are raised bumps of thickened skin, and they can be irritated very easily. So, chemical peels are much better for pushed-in scars, chicken pox, and acne scars. Because chemical peels rebuild skin from the inside out, it makes it thicker. Likewise, the skin resurfaces and pushes those scars out. Cassandra actually attributes a lot of her acne scar improvement to chemical peels. 

You can even do chemical peels on other areas like the back. On her back, Cassandra did a superficial TCA peel with Face Reality products, and it was so good for acne and acne scars.

Chemical peels might make sensitive skin more resilient.

People with naturally sensitive skin need to be very careful with chemical peels. And in the case of chemical peels making sensitive skin more resilient, this only applies to some people. 

Even if someone has sensitive skin, chemical peels can still increase collagen and elastin. And when your skin fully heals from a chemical peel multiple times, you potentially train and equip your dermis to rebuild faster when it’s exposed to damage. Therefore, the skin might become more resilient and therefore less sensitive. 

There are no medical studies to support this, but many people have reported chemical peels helping with sensitivity and resilience. People usually report this after doing a couple years of chemical peels. But remember, not everyone who gets chemical peels regularly is going to have less sensitive skin over time. And if you do go in-clinic, ask the professional if they specialize in or have experience with sensitive skin. Ask them about what you’ll need after the peel as well.

Right after getting a chemical peel, your skin will be very sensitive. You’ll need hydration and to avoid the sun. Avoid fragrances, irritants, colors, and dyes. Keep it simple.

In regards to what you need before the peel, people with sensitive skin should use OTC things before they go in professionally. You’ll want to start off with superficial, gentle OTC products.

Here are a few products you can do at home.

These products won’t make your skin peel or slough off like a professional chemical peel, but they are great choices if you’re preparing for a chemical peel. Even if you don’t want a professional chemical peel, this works as an alternative too. You can also use these to exfoliate weekly too.

The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Exfoliating Peeling Solution - $9.50 

Cassandra loves this one, and it is the most potent. However, this might be too potent for some skin types, and likewise, it might make hyperpigmentation worse. 



Minimalist AHA BHA 32% - $9.99 

This was made with AHA (alpha hydroxy acid), BHA (beta hydroxy acid), and PHA (polyhydroxy acid). PHAs are huge, sugar-like molecules that sit on top of the skin, and they’re much more gentle. This also has hyperpigmentation-friendly ingredients, and it’s great for pigmentation-prone skin. So, if you tend to have brown or dark marks after acne, of course, see a dermatologist. But, this product can help with uneven tone, melasma, or scars. 

Dermalogica Liquid Peelfoliant - $64 

This is brand new from Dermalogica. It’s new to Cassandra’s routine as well, and she loves it. It’s a liquid peel exfoliant. It’s 15% AHA and BHA. So, it’s half the strength of the other two. This has PHAs, tranexamic acid, and fruit enzymes, which help with pigment too.

So, if you’re struggling with pigmentation, and the other two seem a bit much for you, this might be a great option. This also has ceramides in it. So, not only does it even out the skin, it hydrates the skin. Cassandra has never seen a peel like this. You can use this to exfoliate daily, and if you have sensitive skin, this might be the product for you. It’s fragrance-free, it’s pink, and it has a silky texture!

Photo cred: Everyday Health