Superficial Chemical Peels


Superficial Chemical Peels

Is a superficial peel right for you? If you have sun-damaged skin, pimples and blackheads, superficial acne scars, or areas of mild discoloration, talk to us about how a superficial peel can help control pimples and acne and give your skin a radiant glow.

Best Uses

  • Fine lines from sun exposure
  • Sallow skin tone
  • Pimples, blackheads and mild acne
  • Superficial acne scars
  • Mild pigment changes


Superficial peels enhance the natural glow of all types of skin while lessening acne, correcting mild discoloration, and smoothing the skin. They are the mildest type of peel, using organic compounds like glycolic acid, salicylic acid, or lactic acid to remove the outermost layer of skin. Glycolic acid is the most popular alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA). Also called a natural fruit acid, glycolic acid occurs naturally in lemons, grapefruits and oranges. It is synthesized from sugar cane for use as a superficial peel. Salicylic acid is a beta-hydroxy acid that also has anti-inflammatory properties, fights acne by breaking down sebum, and works best on oily skin types. Lactic acid is synthesized from milk. Jessner’s peel uses a combination of acids for a superficial to medium chemical peel.

About the Procedure (Board Certified)

Preparation begins two to three weeks before the peel with a cleansing routine that helps remove oil from the skin to allow for more consistent results. During a superficial peel, the chemical is applied to the skin and then removed after several minutes. Glycolic, salicylic, and lactic acid peels can be used on all skin types.


Results of a glycolic acid, salicylic acid, or lactic acid peel are immediate; however, they require repeat treatments every two to four weeks.

Anesthesia and Pain

During the peel, you may feel a burning or stinging sensation in the treated area. In the rare event that discomfort becomes too difficult to tolerate, the procedure can be stopped by neutralizing the organic acid. Superficial peels do not require anesthesia.


Downtime is minimal and most people can return to work or activities immediately after treatment. Your skin may appear pink or red for a few hours and occasionally will flake and peel over several days. Proper cleaning, moisturizing, and protection from the sun can aid in skin maintenance. Dr. Farella recommends a combination of home care products, sun screen, sun avoidance, hydration for the skin, and cessation of smoking for best and longest lasting results.

Risks and Complications

With any procedure, risks and complications can occur but generally arerare. Superficial peels generally are safe and free of complications. Occasional side effects can include uneven skin color, scarring, allergic reactions, and sun sensitivity. You will receive instructions on contacting our staff if you have concerns or questions after your treatment.

Information on this page is not a substitute for medical consultation or advice. Please contact us to schedule an appointment to discuss the best treatments for you.