All About Peels: What is a Chemical Peel and What are the Benefits?

Whether you're considering your first peel or are a seasoned expert, the tips below will help you maximize the results of your peel before, during and after. As our founders were the discoverers of the profound benefits of Glycolic Acid (Alpha Hydroxy Acids) on skin, you can trust NEOSTRATA® to guide you through your peel experience.

What is a chemical peel?

WHAT IS A CHEMICAL PEEL?

Peels are chemical solutions used to exfoliate and enhance skin turnover, improving the appearance of the skin. Peels can be formulated to be used safely at-home, or at higher strengths administered by professionals. Peels are not just for the face and can include a variety of active ingredients, from retinol to glycolic acid. Contact your medical skin health professional for further information. Find a Physician

Historically, peels have used ingredients such as phenols and Trichloroacetic Acid (TCA) as the primary peel solution. These chemicals often have the undesirable side-effect of redness, irritation, and downtime (time needed for the skin to heal after the procedure).

That all changed when our founders discovered the benefits of Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) for exfoliation. AHAs allow for highly effective resurfacing with little of the associated redness or irritation and little to no downtime. Our ProSystem in-office peels use Alpha Hydroxy Acids and Retinol to exfoliate the outermost layers of skin, offering an effective peel solution with little to no downtime.

Prosystem In-Office Peels

PROSYSTEM IN-OFFICE PEELS

ProSystem chemical peels offer a range of peel options including 20%, 35%, 50% and 70% AHA concentrations. ProSystem also features two Targeted Benefit Peels in a Brightening and Clarifying formulation, as well as Retinol Peel.

As a supplement to professional peels, at-home peels offer the benefit of a booster treatment to help reveal a radiant glow and enhance the results of a professional chemical peel. At-home peels are also an ideal part of a healthy skincare regimen, even if you don't receive a professional chemical peel. These at-home peels use many of the same acids found in a professional peel, at lower concentrations in products formulated to be safe for personal use. At-home peels may be applied anywhere from once a week to daily, depending on manufacturer's instructions and tolerability.

We offer several types of at-home peels. Shop At-Home Peels

What Does a Chemical Peel Do?

WHAT DOES A CHEMICAL PEEL DO?

Just as the name implies, peels work by removing layers of skin cell buildup to reveal a softer, smoother complexion. Chemical peels can be used to diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, improve the appearance of acne-prone skin, improve the appearance of mild scars, dark spots and improve overall skin tone and texture. NEOSTRATA® superficial in-office peels, for example, offer a deeper level exfoliation than at-home peels and both work hand-in-hand to deliver a comprehensive skincare program.

What are the types of chemical peels?

WHAT ARE THE TYPES OF CHEMICAL PEELS?

Chemical peels are available in a wide array of strenghs and formulations and feature a variety of acids or other active ingredients designed to resurface the skin.

Peels can range from surface level (superficial) depth all the way to deep peels that affect the lower dermal layers of the skin. Acid concentrations in skin peels can range from 10% up to 70%, with higher concentrations being appropriate for experienced peel patients.

At-home peels add another layer to your professional peel program by giving you the option of a highly effective at-home exfoliation product, formulated at lower concentrations to help enhance and maintain professional treatment results.

About Professional Chemical Peels - Professional chemical peels are available in varying depths of light, medium or deep peels. Deeper chemical peels will generally produce faster results, but also come with increased redness, irritation and downtime (time required for the skin to heal). Superficial (surface-level) peels offer the least amount of downtime and have the potential for less redness and irritation than their deeper counterparts

NEOSTRATA® Professional Peel Treatments are clinical-strength chemical peels provided exclusively by medical skin health professionals. Our customizable ProSystem Glycolic Acid and Retinol peels, plus a NEOSTRATA® results-focused home care regimen, provide a powerful combination that addresses your most pressing skin concerns including fine lines, wrinkles, skin discoloration and oily and acne-prone skin.

NEOSTRATA® ProSystem Peels are the inclusive skin solution for all skin tones, types, and ethnicities. Ask your skin health professional about NEOSTRATA® ProSystem peels and get started on your journey to optimal skin health. Find a Physician

NEOSTRATA® ProSystem Peels, in conjunction with NEOSTRATA® at-home skincare products, can be used to address the cosmetic aspects of pigmentation irregularities, acne-prone skin and photoaging, helping the skin to appear smoother, younger and healthier looking with enhanced clarity and brightness.

About Chemical Peels At Home - Home care peels are an ideal companion to professional chemical peels. Professional peels are generally done once every 4-6 weeks, while at-home peels are generally done 1-3 times weekly between professional treatments to help enhance results. Maximize your skincare investment by incorporating both professional and at-home peels into your regimen.

At-Home Peel vs In-Office Peel - While home care peels are an effective part of your home skincare regimen, the concentration of benefit ingredients, like acids, are lower than in peels administered by a certified, licensed professional. A professional chemical peel offers a high efficacy, results-focused option that is an ideal monthly boost to your home skincare routine and can enhance results. Home care peels are an ideal companion to professional chemical peels.

Professional peels are generally done once every 4-6 weeks, while at-home peels are done 1-3 times weekly between professional treatments to help enhance results. Maximize your skincare investment by incorporating both professional and at-home peels into your regimen.

NEOSTRATA® ProSystem Peels provide a highly customizable peeling system. Our ProSystem Rejuvenating AHA Peels range from 20% - 70% Glycolic Acid and the addition of our Brightening and Clarifying Targeted Benefit Peels allow your medical skin health professional to address specific skin concerns. These peels may be layered for added benefit. ProSystem also features a Retinol Peel with Retinol Boosting Complex. NEOSTRATA® ProSystem surface-Level peels are recommended to be performed in a series of 4-6 peels for optimum results and have little to no associated downtime that comes with deeper peels.

To maintain your professional peel results, NEOSTRATA® at-home peels offer an effective exfoliation boost that can be done between in-office peel treatments to help you get the most out of your skincare investment.

What is a Glycolic Acid Chemical Peel? A glycolic acid chemical peel uses glycolic acid as the main active ingredient to provide results. The concentration of acids can vary. For example, Neostrata® Rejuvenating Glycolic Acid Peels are a customizable peel system that offers four levels of surface exfoliation at 20%, 35%, 50% and 70% acid concentrations. In addition to Neostrata's® Glycolic Acid technology, two Targeted Benefit Peels are available: a 30% Mandelic and Citric Acid Clarifying Peel for acne-prone skin, and a 30% Citric Acid Brightening Peel to target uneven skin tone and discoloration. These peels effectively exfoliate the skin's surface layers and encourage skin renewal with little to no peeling, flaking or downtime, making Neostrata® Glycolic Acid Peels an ideal fit for those with an active and busy lifestyle.

What is a Retinol Chemical Peel? A retinol chemical peel uses retinol as the main active ingredient to exfoliate, improve fine lines and more. For example, our ProSystem Retinol Peel is a 3% Retinol Peel with a Retinol Boosting Complex that is clinically proven to exfoliate and improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, acne-prone skin and to promote a firmer look. This in-office treatment may result in 3 - 7 days of visible peeling and flaking post-treatment.

Is A Chemical Peel Right For you?

IS A CHEMICAL PEEL RIGHT FOR YOU?

NEOSTRATA® superficial chemical peels are appropriate for those who have never experienced a professional chemical peel treatment, or if you are seeking to address common skin concerns such as fine lines and wrinkles, skin discoloration, sun damage, and acne-prone skin.

There are many factors to consider when determining which professional chemical peel is appropriate for your skin. We recommend that you reach out to your skin health professional for a consultation customized to your specific skin type and concerns.

What to Expect - Your skin health professional will generally ask you about your medical history, as well as any medications you are currently using that may affect peel results. Before you receive a chemical peel, your skin health professional may ask you to stop using certain medications or topical skincare products. You may also be instructed to prepare your skin for a chemical peel with the use of products containing Glycolic Acid, Retinol, or other ingredients to condition and acclimate the skin to the peel solution prior to receiving a professional peel treatment.

NEOSTRATA® ProSystem Professional Chemical Peels are formulated at a low pH and may be performed only by licensed skin health professionals in a medical spa or physician’s office.

What Is Chemical Peel Recovery Time and What Should I Apply to My Skin After a Peel? - There is often no healing or recovery time after a NEOSTRATA® ProSystem AHA peel; skin looks and feels normal within a few days to a week after. Skin may be more sensitive than usual from the peel for 1 - 4 days, but may take a week or longer. During this time, you should use gentle products from the NEOSTRATA® Restore Collection.

Don't Chemical Peels have to hurt to be effective? - While patients may experience slight discomfort, which may include stinging, burning, itching, tingling or a heat-like sensation, superficial chemical peels should not be painful. Your skin health professional will check in with you throughout the procedure to gauge any discomfort.

At-home peels make an ideal complement to professional peel treatments. Home care peels are generally done 1-3 times weekly and are formulated at lower concentrations to help maintain professional treatment results.

Getting the Most Benefit From My Peel

CHEMICAL PEEL PREPARATION AND AFTERCARE

Whether you use an at-home or in-office peel, your results will benefit from proper pre- and post-procedure care. Using NEOSTRATA® home care products can help you enhance professional treatment results and are an important part of maintaining your skincare investment.

3 Steps to Optimum Skin Health

Pre-Peel Preparation

Pre-peel preparation products are designed to help prepare your skin for peel ingredients like Glycolic Acid and Retinol.

If you’re new to AHAs, we recommend using a NEOSTRATA® RESURFACE Skincare Regimen: Foaming Glycolic Wash, Glycolic Renewal Serum and Glycolic Renewal Smoothing Cream for 2 weeks prior to receiving a NEOSTRATA® ProSystem Professional Peel treatment. Consult your medical skin health professional for the appropriate pre-peel regimen for you.

Formulated to exfoliate and cleanse congested pores to prepare the skin for optimal benefits of the regimen that follows.

Targets a smoother, radiant complexion, with improved overall skin quality.


This potent exfoliating moisturizer promotes skin rejuvenation, restoring a visibly renewed appearance to the skin’s surface texture.

Professional Chemical Peel

NEOSTRATA® ProSystem peels exfoliate the skin’s surface, revealing a more youthful appearance.

A series of 4 – 6 NEOSTRATA® ProSystem Peels at regular intervals can provide visible results similar to more aggressive peels without associated downtime.

ProSystem Rejuvenating AHA Peel, Targeted Benefit Peel, or Retinol Peel Find a Physician

Post-Peel Maintenance

Post-peel home care products are a key part of maximizing your skincare investment and enhancing your peel results.

Restore PHA Facial Cleanser, Bionic Face Serum and Bionic Face Cream to help soothe and hydrate skin post-procedure.

Once skin has healed, return to your daily maintenance regimen.

Ask your doctor to recommend the appropriate NEOSTRATA® regimen.

This soap-free, non-foaming gel formulation gently cleanses and prepares the skin to optimize the skincare regimen that follows. Formulated with a non-irritating Polyhydroxy Acid (PHA), known to lightly exfoliate without drying skin's protective moisture barrier.

Formulated to visibly correct signs of aging skin including enhanced radiance, intense moisturization and overall clarity.

Provides intense hydration and helps soothe and revitalize the look of stressed skin.

What Does NEOSTRATA® Offer for At-Home Chemical Peels?

What does NEOSTRATA Offer for At-Home Chemical Peels?

At-home chemical peels are an ideal companion to professional peel treatments and make the perfect booster to your current home care regimen.

Our selection of at-home peels is like having access to a mini med-spa at home. These booster treatments make skin look smoother and more radiant with results that get better over time. Peels have the additional perk of preparing your skin for your daily skincare regimen. Shop At-Home Peels

NEOSTRATA® offers multiple at-home peel choices.

Perfecting Peel

These two-step peel kits use an exfoliation solution to deliver antiaging and skin smoothing benefits. The peel pad is applied to the skin first and the peel solution is left on the skin for a short period of time. Then a neutralizer pad is wiped over the skin where the peel solution has been applied to stop the exfoliation action of the peel solution. The skin is then rinsed thoroughly with water.

Dual Acid Antiaging Peel

Liquid peel solutions are applied on clean, dry skin using an applicator, such as a cotton pad; these peels are usually left on the skin for a short period of time before being rinsed off.

Smooth Surface Glycolic Chemical Peel

Single use peel pads are an easy one-step boost to your antiaging regimen. The peel solution is applied to the skin with the moistened pad. Allow solution to absorb before applying moisturizer. No rinsing needed.