Are Chemical Peels Painful?

asian woman with clean fresh skin on white backgroundEven with a good at-home skincare routine using high-quality products, aging can still leave your face dull and worn. Beneath the damaged layer is fresh and healthy skin that just needs to be uncovered to give the radiant and youthful look you want.

Some treatments like dermabrasion microneedling physically remove the worn and damaged layer of the skin. These types of treatments are very successful, and since they rely on your body’s healing process, there are minimal risks of adverse or severe side effects. Depending on the thickness of the damaged skin, some people feel notable discomfort with these treatments.

Although chemical peels achieve similar results by removing the top layer of damaged and worn skin, they differ significantly in how they work. Instead of abrading your skin or creating micro punctures, chemical peels involve a formulation of acids specific to your skin type and condition, which loosen and remove the outermost layer of skin.

In general, anesthesia is not needed during the procedure. The chemical solutions themselves have some anesthetic qualities that reduce discomfort from the treatment. Additionally, your doctor will cleanse your skin before applying the chemical solution. Depending on which chemical solution will be used, apply a topical numbing cream to help with discomfort.

Most patients report only minimal, if any, discomfort during the procedures. Depending on the chemical solution used and the area to be treated, the treatment sessions take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour. Since general anesthesia is not used, you will likely be able to go home right after.

Over the weeks after the treatment, the worn and damaged skin will flake and gradually peel off, revealing fresh and healthy skin below. There may be some redness and discomfort during the recovery, but this can be alleviated with over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication or soothing ointments.

The team of doctors and aestheticians at UMass Cosmetic Surgery Center in Worcester, MA, can answer all your questions about chemical peels or other aesthetic treatments. Visit or call 508-334-5990 to schedule a consultation.

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