There are a few side effects to having a chemical peel, most of which are minor. With almost every kind of chemical peel, even the lightest and mildest versions and even with those that are considered safe to use at home, there will likely be a stinging or burning sensation on the skin. This sensation is usually not severe or especially uncomfortable. Some people compare the sensation to the feeling of putting astringent on the skin after the skin has been scrubbed or exfoliated.
The more intense the chemical peel, the more intense the stinging sensation. For deep chemical peels, it is not uncommon for doctors to give patients some kind of pain killer or anesthesia during the treatment. Some patients who receive very deep chemical peels may also require pain medication for a few days or even weeks following the procedure. This is just one of the reasons that it is crucial to work with an experienced doctor for the types of chemical peels that produce more dramatic results.
Chemical peel side effects can also include redness on the skin. Much like with the intensity of the burning sensation, the level of redness and the amount of time that it takes to go away corresponds with the intensity of the procedure. Chemical peel side effects for a light treatment may not include any redness at all or just a small amount of redness that goes away within about 24 hours. The chemical peel side effects of deeper peels may result in redness that lasts anywhere from a few weeks with medium level peels to a few months with deep level peels.
Other chemical peel side effects can include crusting, flaking, and peeling of the skin. These kinds of chemical peel side effects should be monitored by a doctor. Proper treatment of these kinds of chemical peel side effects are crucial. This is because failure to treat them properly could cause scarring, infection, and other serious skin problems.
In some cases chemical peel side effects can cause skin discoloration either by causing the skin to become lighter or darker in certain areas. For people who are trying to reduce scarring from acne or sun damage, this may be the desired effect. When the treatment is performed by an experienced doctor and the skin is given proper care after the treatment, unwanted pigmentation changes should not be one of the chemical peel side effects.