• Hydrafacial Special

Facial Peel

There are many different environmental and internal factors that can affect skin health and beauty. While our skin is an extremely resilient and adaptable organ, it cannot cope with all of the stress we put it through on a daily basis. Sometimes, it is just best to start fresh. There are several different minimally invasive skin treatments available, but facial peels are one of the most versatile procedures for improving a wide range of the skin’s aesthetic and health issues.

Chemical peels use a precise mix of compounds to carefully destroy and remove superficial layers of skin that are damaged by aging, sun damage, skin conditions, the environment, smoking, and genetics. Once the procedure is complete, old skin will gradually flake and "peel" off to reveal a fresh, new, and more youthful skin tone. Facial peels can be used to improve problems such as:

  • Dull skin
  • Rough complexion
  • Discoloration
  • Sun damage
  • Fine lines and wrinkles
  • Acne scars

There are many different formulas of gentle facial peels available, ranging from mild skin refreshers to more in-depth formulas that provide greater rejuvenation and anti-aging results. At Emory Aesthetic Center, we offer the following types of facial peels to suit a wide range of patient needs:

  • Salicylic and Lactic Acid Peels
  • SkinMedica Illuminize Peel
  • SkinMedica Vitalize Peel
  • SkinMedica Rejuvenize Peel
  • Glycolic Peels
  • ZO® Three Step Peel
  • Modified Jessner's Peel

Though most peels are designed for use on the face, we do offer body peels at our office, as well. Body peels are excellent for people with more extensive sun damage that extends beyond the face. Areas that can be treated include the chest, back, and arms.

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Facial Peel Consultations

Chemical peels are a highly custom treatment, and you will need to discuss your goals with one of our cosmetic surgeons or licensed aestheticians to determine the treatment plan that is right for both your goals and budget. During your consultation, you have time to discuss your skin concerns and goals. We will perform an in-person evaluation and recommend the best treatment. You will learn about all the options available to you, and have the opportunity to ask questions and address any concerns you have about the process.

Your consultation is an essential first step in getting the results you want, so bring your questions and an open mind. Only an expert can give you specific recommendations for the type of treatment that is best for you and your needs.

Facial Peel Candidates

While chemical peels are an effective and popular treatment, they are not a good fit for everyone. Good candidates are fair-skinned people with sun damage, mild to moderate signs of aging, acne scars, or pre-cancerous skin lesions. Candidates will need to understand the limitations of the procedure and should take any treatment advice provided by our surgeons seriously, as they know which treatments are recommend to suit each patient's needs.

Our facial peels are safe and effective for patients with darker skin.  Even women who are nursing or who are pregnant have options in facial peels, as well. Unfortunately, they may not be appropriate for people who have used Accutane within the last 6 months or people with certain skin conditions. At your consultation appointment, your Emory physician will discuss the best facial peel options for your unique situation. 

Facial Peel Procedure

Most peels do not require any type of anesthesia. During the procedure, the chemical solution is first applied to the skin, and remains for a precise amount of time, allowing the agents to destroy damaged skin cells. Though there are different formulas of peels available, the application of the solution is the same. Once the peel is complete, the skin will be neutralized. It is a very simple process, but should only be performed by a qualified cosmetic surgeon or licensed aesthetician, experienced with using these powerful chemicals. Most peel sessions are very brief, but the length of time will depend on the type of peel and goals of the treatment.

Facial Peel Recovery

For superficial facial peels, there is little downtime and only minor side effects, such as redness and slight swelling. More in-depth peels may require several days of downtime as the top tissue peels off and becomes replaced with bright, new skin. Crusting and scabbing may occur following deeper peels. It is important to care for your skin properly, as well as to avoid touching your face as much as possible.

Your cosmetic surgeon or licensed aesthetician will provide you with instructions for aftercare, including activity limitations, how to cleanse and moisturize your face, dos and don'ts, and information about sun exposure avoidance. Be sure to follow these directions as closely as possible, as how you care for your skin following treatment will affect your final results.

Facial Peel FAQs

Which peel formula is right for me?

Only you and an expert cosmetic surgeon or licensed aesthetician can choose the best facial peel formula to address your goals. During your consultation, you will learn about different peel types and choose one based on our surgeon's recommendation, your goals, lifestyle, and budget. Facial peels are tailored to the needs of each individual patient to optimize results.

Can facial peels be combined with other treatments?

Yes. Many people want to address multiple concerns, and may combine chemical peel therapy with surgical or non-surgical cosmetic treatments. As long as our surgeons feel it is safe, you may combine several procedures at once.

Will I need multiple treatment sessions?

Depending on the peel, you may need a series of treatments to achieve your desired results. Treatments are usually spaced several weeks apart. Many people use superficial peels as a periodic skin refreshers, and come in every once in a while to have another treatment.

Are there risks associated with chemical peels?

All cosmetic skin procedures have risks, but chemical peels are generally very safe when performed by our board certified surgeons. Potential complications can include:

  • Hyper or hypo-pigmentation (skin discoloration)
  • Scarring
  • Reactivating cold sores

Can facial peels be done at home?

Some very mild peels are available for home use, but they are not normally recommended. It is safer and more effective to see a cosmetic surgeon or licensed aesthetician, even for mild facial peels.

How far in advance of an event should I undergo a facial peel?

Though facial peels (especially superficial peels) require little downtime, some redness can persist for a few weeks or months, depending on the depth of the peel. If you are having a superficial peel, you will want to allow a few weeks for your skin to normalize, longer for more potent skin peels.

My skin is not peeling. Did the treatment work?

While the term "peel" is applied to all of these treatments, the skin will not always actively peel, especially with very light peels. Instead of thinking about how much your skin is peeling, it is better to consider the kinds of results you are seeing after a few weeks and plan from there.

Can I exercise after a chemical peel?

Light peels require little to no downtime. Your cosmetic surgeon or licensed aesthetician will give you instructions prior to your procedure if there will be any activity restrictions you should follow.

Are chemical peel treatments painful?

Light peels are usually well-tolerated, and most patients experience only a light stinging sensation. Deeper peels sometimes require various forms of anesthesia for patient comfort and safety.




Emory Aesthetic Center of Buckhead-Atlanta