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All About the Different Types of Chemical Peels

By Colleen Rock
June 18, 2020

With so many options, choosing the right chemical peel can feel overwhelming.

If you are unsure which peel is best-suited to your skin type and concerns, continue reading to learn all about the different types of chemical peels and each of their unique capabilities.

Types of Chemical Peels

Superficial Peels

Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) peels are the mildest option and often contain glycolic acid or lactic acid.

Lactic acid boasts impressive brightening and hydrating effects, and due to its large molecular structure, is less irritating.

Glycolic acid peels are available in a variety of percentages, ranging from 15% to 70%, and can be used to address a number of concerns, including fine lines, acne, pigmentary issues, and tone and textural irregularities.

Glycolic acid also has the smallest molecular structure. This quality allows it to penetrate deeper than lactic acid peels, but also makes it more irritating.

Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA) peels are lipid-based and typically include salicylic acid.

They have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce redness and irritation, and are known to control oil production. As such, BHA peels are great for individuals with oily and acne-prone skin.

Medium to Medium-Deep Peels

Trichloroacetic Acid Peels (TCA) are the most commonly-used medium to medium-deep peels and can be customized with varying strengths and combinations. Often times, a lower percentage TCA peel with be used in conjunction with other acids. While TCA peels with percentages greater than 20% can usually serve as stand-alone agents.

TCA Peels have the ability to treat:

  • Advanced pigmentary issues
  • Sun damage
  • Deeper wrinkles
  • Acne scars

Deep Peels

Phenol peels (carbolic acid) are the strongest peeling agents and must be performed by a physician. They can vary in concentration and combination and are known produce a deep peel, for dramatic facial rejuvenation and long-lasting results.

Schedule an Appointment for a Chemical Peel

If you are interested in learning more about chemical peels, please call our office today to schedule a comprehensive consultation with one of our highly skilled and talented providers.

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Chemical Peels


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(703) 766-2220 | Fax: (571) 323-1486 1830 Town Center Drive | Suite 410 | Reston, VA 20190