At E-Cliniq Medical, we are proud to only use products of the highest quality to improve the appearance and texture of the skin. In our clinic we choose our products based on research, studies and evidence-based medicine and purchase them from UK Pharmacies.

The bespoke chemical skin peel treatments that we offer are clinically proven to treat the overall signs of ageing, such as: lines, wrinkles, pigmentation and improvement in the appearance of enlarged pores on the face, as well as the body. We offer a variety of superficial and medium depth chemical peels to address many of the concerns and symptoms detailed above.
Chemical peels often feature in the top 5 list of aesthetic procedures performed in the UK.

What is a chemical skin peel ?

A chemical skin peel is a minimally invasive procedure where a solution is applied to the skin for exfoliation and to help improve a variety of skin concerns. Chemical exfoliation has been used throughout history for over 3,500 years. Lactic acid from milk and tartaric acid in grape skins were used by the Ancient Egyptians and are still found in several cosmetic products today.

Chemical peels may contain a single ingredient or a blend of products to treat a range of skin issues.
There are a vast number of chemicals that can be used for skin peeling, some natural and some synthetic, targeting different depths of the skin and for different indications. Despite being described as a chemical peel or a skin peel, many modern-day treatments do not actually cause any peeling of the skin or very minor peeling.

Chemical peels can generally be classified into three different groups:

  • Superficial (epidermis only)
  • Medium (extending into the dermis)
  • Deep (deep dermis)

Superficial peels are ideal to help improve skin texture, minor sun-damage, fine lines, very mild acne scars, age spots and irregular skin tone, whereas deep peels are only performed by medical professionals (nurses and doctors) and are used for skin resurfacing. They often require a period of downtime after the procedure of few days.

What areas can be treated with skin peels ?

Chemical skin peels are most frequently performed on the face, but they can be used on other areas too. The neck, décolletage and hands are also popular treatment areas.

Chemical peels are particularly popular for the following indications:

  • Ageing skin
  • Acne and acne scarring
  • Whiteheads and blackheads
  • Blotchy, flaking, dry or oily skin
  • Pock marks and small scars
  • Fine lines/wrinkles
  • Sun damaged skin
  • Age spots
  • Large pores
  • Uneven skin tone and texture
  • Pigmentation problems

Chemical peels cannot be used for very deep lines or scars, loss of volume, lines that are caused by muscle action or sagging skin. If this is your concern, our practitioners will discuss with you more appropriate treatment options.

How does a skin peel work?

Different brands of chemical peels use different ingredients to achieve the desired results. Results of a chemical peel depend on the product used, the strength of the peel solution, how much is applied and how long it remains on the skin. The most common peels often contain one or more of the following:

Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA): These are naturally occurring acids derived from sugar cane (glycolic acid), sour milk (lactic acid), citric fruits (citric acid), sour fruits (malic acid) and grapes and bananas (tartaric acid) to name a few. They are generally considered mild peels and work superficially. Less acidic and more dilute forms of alpha hydroxy acids are found in home peels and some skin care products. These skin peels can cause some redness, irritation, dryness, stinging and mild peeling. Different brands of skin peel vary according to their strength and pH (amount of acidity).

Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHA): The most common used in chemical peels is salicylic acid which was originally derived from willow tree bark. It has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties as well as being oil-soluble which makes it ideal for the treatment of acne as it also helps to control sebum production.

Retinoic Acid: A metabolite of Vitamin A that has been used in the treatment of acne since the 1960s. Retinoic acid has anti-acne and photo-ageing properties, helping treat wrinkles, enlarged pores, hyperpigmentation, and laxity.

Glutathione: Considered by some to be the master antioxidant in animals and plants. Glutathione is responsible for neutralising free-radical damage and slowing down the ageing process as well as blocking the synthesis of melanin (the pigmentation in skin) to have a lightening effect.

Kojic Acid: A fungal by-product, found in many skin care products for lightening of the skin as well as increasing collagen and elastin production for tighter and brighter skin.

Trichloroacetic Acid (TCA): TCA is a common constituent in skin peels and is an effective exfoliating agent. It can be either a superficial, mid depth or deep peel depending on the concentration used.
There are many different brands of chemical peels, each with their own benefits and risks and they may contain ingredients not listed here. In the clinic we use Institute BCN and Dermaceutic full range of chemical skin peels.

Are chemical skin peels painful?

Superficial chemical peels are usually pain free or create a mild stinging sensation when they are applied. If you have sensitive skin, you may experience some discomfort and burning with superficial or mid depth peels.

The peels will need neutralising or washing off to reduce their action when the desired effect has been achieved and to lessen the risk of adverse effects. Whilst having your treatment, our practitioner or skin therapist will be monitoring your skin for signs of action (for example, some chemical peels will cause a frosting effect to appear on the skin) and will also usually have a timer measuring how long the peel has been on for. If you experience pain or discomfort, the chemical peel can usually be neutralised or washed off to prevent any further action on the skin.

Immediately after treatment, the skin might be a little red, blotchy, and warm and feel tight, but in the case of a superficial peel, this usually settles quickly and generally does not last more than a couple of days. There may be a patchy white frosting appearance which remains for a few minutes. Medium depth peels may take up to 2 weeks for your skin to fully return to normal.

Often a course of skin peels is recommended to achieve better results, typically a course of 4 – 6 peels at 2 – 4 weekly intervals.

Are chemical skin peels safe?

Generally, side-effects are uncommon from superficial chemical peels and if they do occur, they are often mild and usually resolve within a few days after treatment. The deeper the peel, the greater the risk of adverse effects.

Possible side-effects include:

  • Redness of the skin, like sunburn
  • White discolouration/blotchiness of the skin
  • Itching of the skin
  • Dryness, flaking of the skin
  • Swelling, particularly in the under-eye area
  • Infection due to skin disruption
  • An outbreak of cold sores (in some cases, preventative medication may be prescribed prior to your peel)
  • Pigmentation developing after treatment (hyperpigmentation)
  • Reduced/lack of pigmentation of the skin (hypopigmentation)
  • Persistent redness, lasting for weeks
  • Brown spots may appear a few days after treatment (medium and deep peels) as pigmentation is lifted into the superficial layers of the skin.

If you develop any unexpected side-effect after treatment, it is important to contact the clinic for a review as soon as possible.

What happens during the skin peel procedure?

Prior to having the procedure, you will have to complete a medical history and consent form with our practitioner or skin therapists. You will receive all the information you need to decide whether to go ahead with treatment or not as well as possible side-effects specific to your treatment and the costs involved. Photographs will be taken prior to having the procedure to document improvements over time. Any photographs taken will be part of your medical record and might be used as example/portfolio purposes, with your explicit permission.

You will then have a comprehensive consultation with your treating practitioner or skin therapist about your skin, products that you use on your skin, and previous aesthetic treatments that you may have had. We will also discuss the procedure with you, what you should expect and the anticipated results.

Prior to having a chemical peel, the area will be cleansed and disinfected to remove the skin’s natural oils and to allow the peel solution to be more effectively absorbed into the skin. A pre-peel solution may be applied prior to the actual treatment. The whole area will be systematically treated in specific areas and several passes (layering) may be applied. The peel is often applied to the skin, using either a brush, gauze, cotton stick or a gloved hand, and usually a timer started. This allows sufficient time for the chemicals to penetrate the skin to a controlled depth. The peel will then be neutralised with a specific neutralising agent. Treatment time is generally between 20 – 30 minutes.

Following the procedure, we will often apply a moisturiser or other serum as well as a good sun protectant as the skin’s natural barrier may be compromised. You should continue to use sun protection following the treatment as advised by our treating practitioners.

After treatment, the skin will feel much cleaner, fresher, and firmer. It is usual to get a slightly reddened complexion immediately after treatment.

Am I suitable for skin peel treatment?

As chemical skin peels are non-invasive, most people are suitable for superficial or medium depth treatment.
You may not be suitable for treatment if any of the following apply:

  • Recent aesthetic treatment, including laser/IPL, microdermabrasion, micro-needling, botulinum toxin or dermal fillers in the last 2-3 weeks.
  • If there is an infection or inflammation in the treatment area, including warts or cold sores.
  • If you have been using Roaccutane (isotretinoin) in the previous 12 months.
  • If you have an underlying medical condition or autoimmune disease that may affect treatment.
  • If you have eczema, dermatitis, sunburn or previous radiation therapy in the area.
  • If you have a history of keloid or hypertrophic scarring.
  • If you have severe pigment problems such as vitiligo.
  • If you are pregnant or breast feeding.
  • Allergy to aspirin if the peel contains salicylic acid (a beta-hydroxy acid often used for acne).
  • If you have a darker skin type as you will be at a higher risk of pigmentation problems following a chemical peel.

It is important to be honest about your medical history, previous procedures, skin care products used, and any medication taken so that you can have a safe and effective treatment.

Is there any pre-treatment advice ?

This will be discussed during your consultation, and whilst it may not be necessary for some skin peel protocols to undergo a pre-peel regimen, there are many advantages to acclimatizing the skin prior to a peel. Most notably, this allows your skin to become familiar with the specific ingredients from the brand of peel that’s been recommended for you, and for your skin to be conditioned for treatment. It’s also helpful to gauge how well suited your skin is to the chosen regimen, as everyone’s skin needs different ingredients and formulations.

  • Avoid skincare products containing retinol for 7 days prior to treatment.
  • If you are planning any medical aesthetic treatments before or after your chemical peel, these should be discussed with our treating practitioners in advance.
  • You may be required to use active skin products to prepare your skin prior to your peel for optimum results and to reduce the risk of a complication, this will be discussed with you during your consultation.
  • If you are unwell on the day of your appointment, even with a cough or a cold, please contact us to reschedule.
  • Do not plan to have treatment immediately before an important social event in case you develop any prolonged redness or other side-effect.

Is there any post-treatment advice ?

Yes, we believe that attending the clinic for the chemical peel is only 50% of the treatment outcome. Using just 1 or 2 additional products at home (recommended by us), will make a significant difference to the outcome, which we’re confident you will love using and will become your long-term skincare.

  • Following your chemical skin peel treatment, you may experience some redness on the treated areas accompanied by a warm glow. This will last for several hours but should have settled by the following morning.
  • Peeling does not generally occur with superficial treatments, but if peeling does occur, it generally starts after 48 hours and may last from 2 to 5 days and sometimes longer.
  • Make-up or your usual skin care products should not be applied for at least 12 hours after your treatment, unless otherwise advised by our practitioners.
  • Do not pick, peel, scrape, scratch or wax your skin as this may lead to infection, bleeding, pigment change, delayed recovery or scarring.
  • Avoid abrasive sponges and exfoliating skin care products for one week after treatment.
  • Avoid other cosmetic procedures without the specific guidance of our practitioners, including waxing or electrolysis.
  • Wash with a very mild soap, rinse with warm water and pat dry. Remember to moisturise regularly following the treatment as you may experience some dryness for a few days.
  • Avoid sun-exposure and use a broad spectrum (UVA and UVB) sun-cream of at least SPF50 for 6 weeks post-treatment as your skin’s natural barrier may have been compromised.
  • Avoid the use of alpha and beta-hydroxy acids, retinoids, retinols, fragranced products and any creams or serums that are in any way irritating for at least a week.
  • Our practitioners may recommend an antihistamine medication after treatment if itching is problematic.

For best results, a course of 4-6 treatments may be recommended by our practitioners.