At Essential Dermatology in Natick, MA, Dr. Michael Krathen offers chemical peels to help his patients from Weston, Wayland, Framingham, Wellesley, and other nearby communities refresh their skin and remove signs of aging. A longstanding skin rejuvenation technique at medical spas across the country, chemical peels can help with a variety of skin concerns like acne scars, wrinkles, and sun-damaged skin.

What Are Chemical Peels?

Chemical peels use medical-grade chemicals to exfoliate and peel off the aged, damaged tissue on exposed areas such as the face, neck, chest, and hands.

Types of Chemical Peels

The main types of chemical peels include:

Superficial Peel

Contains: a mild acid

What it does: penetrates and gently exfoliates the dermis

Good for: mild skin discoloration and rough skin

Light / Medium Depth Peel

Contains: glycolic or trichloroacetic acid

What it does: penetrates the outer and middle layers of the skin and removes damaged skin cells

Good for: correcting age spots, fine lines, wrinkles, freckles, and moderate skin discoloration as well as some precancerous skin growths

Medium Depth Peel

Contains: Jessner solution and trichloroacetic acid (TCA) or Solid CO2 / TCA

What it does: deeply penetrates the middle layers of the skin for a dramatic improvement in the appearance and texture of the skin

Good for: removing damaged skin cells and correcting lines, age spots, freckles, and scars

Phenol Peel

Contains: phenol

What it does: penetrates the deepest layers of the skin for the most comprehensive rejuvenation

Good for: stimulating collagen production and addressing severe sun damage, moderate to severe scars (from acne or other causes), and deep wrinkles

How Is a Phenol Peel Different From Other Chemical Peels?

A phenol peel is the deepest type of peel available and is typically reserved for the most severe skin issues. It requires the longest recovery period, but the results can last for several years.

Phenol peels are very aggressive and must be administered with exceptional care. For your safety and best results, only a board-certified dermatologist or licensed, qualified medical professional should perform this type of peel.

How Do Chemical Peels Work?

The acid in the peel interacts with proteins in the skin, resulting in controlled damage that triggers the body’s healing response. In turn, this induces exfoliation and peeling to reveal healthy, resilient skin. Different acids cause exfoliation at different depths, allowing us to customize treatment with a superficial, medium, or deep (TCA or phenol) peel.

The depth and type of acid used will vary depending on the extent of your skin concerns and factors like skin tone (as deeper peels with TCA or phenol can cause skin lightening or hypopigmentation).

What Do Chemical Peels Treat?

  • Aging Skin
  • Acne Scars
  • Age Spots
  • Crow’s Feet
  • Hyperpigmentation
  • Melasma
  • Scarring
  • Sagging Skin
  • Sun-Damaged Skin
  • Wrinkles

Combining Chemical Peels With Other Medical Spa Treatments

We often combine chemical peels with other medical spa treatments to enhance skin rejuvenation results. Popular options include:

  • BOTOX® Cosmetic relaxes the facial muscles that cause wrinkles.
  • Dermal fillers restore volume to the face and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Laser treatments correct redness, brown spots, scarring, and other concerns.

Combining these treatments with chemical peels can target different areas of concern and address multiple signs of aging at once.

Maintenance for Chemical Peels

It is important to take care of your skin following a chemical peel, not only to enhance results but to protect your sensitized skin as it heals. Depending on the depth of your peel, you may experience redness, swelling, and flaking as the old, damaged skin gives way to the fresher, healthier layer beneath.

Superficial and medium-depth peels usually require a 2-week recovery period, with the results typically lasting several months before any additional treatments or interventions are needed. Deep peel results have the potential to last years due to the extensive rejuvenation they produce. Before they can get there, however, most patients will need a couple of months to heal fully.

Dr. Krathen will recommend products to use to keep your skin moisturized and hydrated. Be sure to use a daily broad-spectrum sunscreen and limit your sun exposure to maintain your rejuvenated results as long as possible.

Chemical Peels FAQ

Yes, chemical peels can be good for your skin. They exfoliate the top layers of the skin, which can improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, acne, and other skin imperfections. Chemical peels also stimulate collagen production to improve the texture and firmness of the skin.

When administered by a board-certified dermatologist and performed on a carefully screened patient, phenol peels are generally safe. Due to their potency, phenol peels will cause flaking, peeling, redness, oozing, and skin sensitivity during the recovery process as the skin generates healthy cells and sheds the damaged layers.

We will thoroughly assess your skin and discuss your cosmetic goals and recovery expectations before recommending the most appropriate option. Phenol peels are the deepest, most aggressive type of peel available. They are typically reserved for patients with the greatest degree of sun damage, scarring, and facial aging who are able and willing to tolerate a longer recovery period.

Most at-home chemical peels are superficial and may not be suited for all skin types. When you have a professional chemical peel at our practice, we will pair you with the proper peel for your unique skincare needs, cosmetic goals, and available downtime.

The longevity of your results will depend on a variety of factors, including the type of peel, the depth of the peel, and your skin type. Generally speaking, the deeper the peel, the longer the results tend to last. You can help prolong your results by following a good skincare regimen and protecting your skin from the sun.

Many people notice a difference in their skin tone and texture after their first chemical peel. However, the severity of your skin concerns and the type of peel performed determine whether you’ll see results with one treatment or several. Your dermatologist or skincare professional can provide you with a customized treatment plan for your individual needs and goals.

There is no specific age considered “best” for starting chemical peel treatments. Most people wait until their late 20s or early 30s before starting any anti-aging treatments since this is when the skin begins to show signs of aging.

While chemical peels can provide many benefits for the skin, some people may experience redness, peeling, and sensitivity after a peel. In rare cases, chemical peels can cause scarring or discoloration of the skin. Deeper peels may not be suitable for some skin types.

Schedule a Consultation

To get a completely refreshed face, come into Essential Dermatology for a chemical peel. Talk to Dr. Krathen about your skin concerns and desires so that he can create a personalized chemical peel for you. To get started, call our office at (508) 545-9713 or request a consultation by filling out our online form. To book an appointment, schedule your visit as a new patient using our online scheduler or as an existing patient using the Mass General Brigham Patient Gateway.

Meet Dr. Michael Krathen

Dr. Michael Krathen is a board-certified dermatologist with more than a decade of medical training and experience. A specialist in both medical and cosmetic dermatology, he uses expertise, collaboration, and compassion to help people of all ages discover their healthiest and most radiant skin.

Credentials You Can Trust

American Academy of Dermatology
American Society for Dermatologic Surgery
New England Dermatological Society
Alpha Omega Alpha
Massachusetts Academy of Dermatology
Dr. Michael Krathen