What is a Light Chemical Peel?

Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

A light chemical peel is a treatment that is usually applied to the skin on the face to help reduce fine lines and the depth of wrinkles. A light chemical peel may also be used to help treat acne and reduce the appearance of scars that are the result of acne. In simplest terms, a light chemical peel is the mildest version in a family of skin treatment options that make the skin look younger and brighter by removing dead skin and top layers of skin.

Light chemical peels can be used to treat acne.
Light chemical peels can be used to treat acne.

Most of the time, chemical peels are administered in spas by trained aestheticians or in doctors' offices by physicians or dermatologists. This is especially true with medium chemical peels and deep chemical peels, which take off more layers of skin than a light chemical peel, require a much longer recovery time, and may require the use of anesthesia during the treatment and pain medication following the treatment.

A light chemical peel can be performed in a spa or in a doctor's office. However, they can also be performed at home. There are a number of skin-care companies that sell different versions of a light chemical peel that is considered to be safe for home use.

When using this kind of at home chemical peel, it is important to follow the instructions to the letter. Furthermore, a consultation with one's doctor or dermatologist prior to using an at-home light chemical peel is advisable as there are some instances in which the skin can react negatively and the treatment can lead to severe irritation, infection, and even scarring. In order to avoid any such problems, one can also simply have this procedure done by a trained professional.

Each level of chemical peels — light, medium, and deep — is formulated with a specific kind of acid. A light chemical peel is almost always formulated with an alphahydroxy acid. The group of alphahydroxy acids, which are also sometimes simply referred to as "AHAs", that are used in light chemical peels include salicylic acid, glycolic acid, acids derived from fruits, and lactic acid.

A light chemical peel will not offer the dramatic results of a deeper chemical peel, but it will leave the skin looking younger and refreshed. One of the benefits of a light chemical peel is that there is very little recovery time. While it can take weeks to recover from medium and deep chemical pees, it can take as little as 24 hours for the skin to recover from the light version.

Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

In addition to her work as a freelance writer for wiseGEEK, Diane is the executive editor of Black Lawrence Press, an independent publishing company based in upstate New York. She has also edited several anthologies, the e-newsletter Sapling, and The Adirondack Review. Diane has a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and an M.A. from Brooklyn College.

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