Oculofacial Plastic Surgeon
Laura Phan, M.D.
Laura Phan, M.D.
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  • 15055 Los Gatos Blvd Suite 320, Los Gatos, CA 95032. (408) 502-5000 0

Laura Phan, M.D.


Chemical peels are the application of glycolic acid, salicylic acid, or trichloracetic acid (TCA) to peel off the damaged outer layers of the skin to bring forward fresher skin with more even color and smoother texture. In addition, the peel stimulates new collagen and cell growth, thereby tightening the skin, decrease wrinkling, and maintaining volume in the skin. Volume is the key to the appearance of youth.

What areas of skin can be treated?
Chemical peels can be used on the full face or on specific troubled regions, such as forehead, around the eyes or mouth, hands and chest.

What can I expect during the procedure?
The skin is cleansed to remove any make-up and excess oil. The pre-selected chemical peel is carefully applied and left on for few minutes. During which time, there may be minor stinging that will quickly resolve.

What will I look like after the peel?
Chemical peels require minimal downtime. You will be pink and flaky for 2-3 days after most peels. Some peels will cause peeling for up to a week. You may apply sunscreen and make-up immediately after most chemical peels.

How many chemical peels do I need?
We typically recommend 3-6 peels spaced 2-4 weeks apart, followed by maintenance regiment. This will be discussed in detail with the physician based on your areas of concern. Maintenance is tailored to each patient and is recommended.

What are the side effects?
Light to moderate chemical peels are very safe when applied by a well trained provider. If the patient has a strong history of cold sores, treatment with Valtrex before and after procedure is recommended.

The most common side effect after a peel is brown discoloration of the skin. This is usually reversible but in rare cases can be permanent. This side effect is preventable. It usually occurs in those who have had sun exposure after their peel and are not using a full spectrum (UVA and UVB) sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher.

What is my skincare before and after the peel?
In general, retinoic acid or glycolic acid home products should not be used for 3 days before and after a peel. For more aggressive peeling though, retinoid acid may be used prior to the chemical peel. Patients should not use a stringent cleanser and use a gentle cleanser and moisturizer for 3-5 days after a peel.

How do I protect my new skin?
Those who have had peels are more sensitive to sunlight for 6-8 weeks after the peel. During that time patient must use a full spectrum (UVA and UVB sunblock of at least SPF 30) at all times.

Am I thinning my skin with chemical peels?
No. Chemical peels remove the very top layer of skin, which quickly regenerates, and stimulate collagen in the skin to help the skin look radiant and bright.