What Are Some Side Effects of a Chemical Peel?


Quick Answer

Side effects of a chemical peel include redness, scarring, changes in skin color, infection and damage to the heart, liver or kidneys, according to Mayo Clinic. Risk and severity of side effects may depend on several factors such as complexion, medications and skin conditions.

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What Are Some Side Effects of a Chemical Peel?
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Full Answer

There are three types of chemical peels: light, medium and deep. Risk and severity of side effects vary depending on the type of chemical peel and other individual factors, explains Mayo Clinic. A light chemical peel removes only the epidermis, or the outer layer of skin. Light peels are used to treat uneven skin tone, signs of age and acne. A light peel generally carries less risks. Some of these risks include redness and hyperpigmentation, where skin becomes darker than normal.

A medium chemical peel removes the epidermis and the upper portion of the dermis, or the middle layer of skin. It is used to treat acne scars, signs of age and uneven skin tone. After a medium chemical peel, redness may last up to several months, notes Mayo Clinic.

A deep chemical peel removes the epidermis and portions of the mid-to-lower layer of dermis. A deep chemical peel is done in intervals of 10 to 20 minutes to limit exposure to phenol, one of the active ingredients, states Mayo Clinic. Phenol can damage the kidneys, liver and heart, and cause the heart to beat irregularly. A deep peel can also cause hypopigmentation, where skin becomes lighter than normal, or redness that can last as long as several months. Other risks associated with all three types of chemical peels include a flare-up of the herpes simplex virus, scarring and bacterial or fungal infections.

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