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Chemical Peel

Information on Chemical Peels in Canada


Approximate Cost

$1,000 – $5,000



1 – 3 weeks


Possible Complications

(The following is general information: Consult with your plastic surgeon for more detailed complication risks – specific to your body, current health and exact chosen procedure)

redness, crusting/scabbing is common

rare risk of:
infection, discolouration, fever blisters, scarring, skin sensitivity.

Chemical Peels in Canada

A chemical peel is a chemical solution placed on your skin (usually the face) which removes the outer layers of your skin unveiling fresh new skin. It is used to reduce wrinkles, lines, blemishes, uneven skin and in some cases to improve acne, facial scars and to remove pre-cancerous growths.

Chemical peels come in different strengths, depending on the amount of skin damage you have you may choose a light peel or a deeper peel. The deeper the peel the more results you will see, but theres also more recovery time and risk involved.

Alphahydroxy acids (AHAs), such as glycolic, lactic, or fruit acids are the mildest of the peel formulas. People with mild to moderate skin damage may find an AHA peel to smooth their skin, treat fine lines and wrinkles, uneven colour and acne. A surgeon, nurse or dermatologist may administer an AHA peel, and you can also incorporate them into your daily skin care regimen as many skin care products at a pharamacy contain AHA’s.

Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) is a medium-depth peel. Fine wrinkles, pigmentation problems, freckling, sun damage, acne scars and blemishes are commonly treated with TCA. The results of TCA peel are more dramatic than those from an AHA, and less dramatic than and not as long lasting as those of a Phenol peel.

Phenol is the strong solution and produces a deep peel. It is used mainly to treat patients with coarse facial wrinkles, damaged or blotchy skin caused by sun exposure or pre-cancerous growths. Not everyone is a candidate for a deep peel, phenol can lighten your skin and so your skin pigmentation is taken into consideration.

The procedure is usually done on an outpatient basis. Anesthesia isn’t usually needed, although for a deeper peel sedation may be given. After the peel you may feel stinging, and have redness, flaking, irritation, crusting and dryness. If you had a deep peel you might be swollen and your surgeon may prescribe pain medication. After any peel you must follow any post operative instructions carefully to ensure optimal results. It is important you avoid the sun and wear protection…not only during your recovery as the skin is very fragile but permanently so not to damage the new skin.

After your peel, once the redness and flaking has subsided, (up to a week – 10 days with a mild-moderate peel, up to 14 days – a few months with a deeper peel) your skin will appear smooth and fresh, the deeper the peel the more dramatic the results. With a mild-moderate peel you may want to repeat the procedure at a later stage. With a deeper peel your results will be long lasting.

A few important factors to consider before undergoing surgical skin procedures are skin colouring and medical history. Darker complexions and Asian skin may become permanently discoloured or blotchy. Those prone to allergic rashes or other skin reactions, or who get frequent fever blisters or cold sores, may experience a flare-up.

Chemical peels, like many non-surgical procedures, do not have to be performed by a plastic surgeon, but care should be taken when choosing a clinic as there are risks involved if the treatment is not performed with care. All chemical peels carry some uncertainty and risk and you can imagine the horrific results you could get with someone untrained administering the peel. Many Canadian plastic surgeons have medical aesthetic staff performing chemical peel treatments at their clinics.