Chemical Peels

Kansas City Plastic Surgeon serving Overland Park, Leawood & Nearby Areas of Kansas & Missouri

Chemical peels are a minimally invasive way to improve the appearance of the skin. Nonsurgical, peels can address a number of skin conditions, revealing a soft, smooth, and blemish-free appearance. If you are unhappy with the way aging, environmental factors, genetics, and lifestyle choices have impacted your skin, you may be the ideal candidate for a chemical peel. The best way to find out is through a one-on-one consultation at Advanced Cosmetic Surgery.

Please call 913-341-2188 to schedule your consultation with board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Levi Young today. Located in Overland Park, we welcome women and men from all surrounding areas of Kansas and Missouri.

What Conditions Can a Chemical Peel Treat?

Chemical peels are applied topically where they work to exfoliate the skin, stimulate collagen production, and improve a number of skin conditions, including:

  • Fine lines and deep wrinkles
  • Sun and age spots
  • Rough and patchy texture
  • Pigmentation irregularities
  • Melasma
  • Keratosis pilaris
  • Pre-cancerous growths
  • Surgical and trauma scars
  • Certain types of acne
  • General skin dullness

Chemical peels are largely safe for all skin types, though there may be certain skin type/condition combinations that will not respond well to this treatment. The best way to learn if a peel would be right for your needs is through a one-on-one consultation with Dr. Young.

Types of Chemical Peel

There are three depths of chemical peel:

  • Light Chemical Peel. A light peel will exfoliate the top layer of skin and is suitable for minor and surface imperfections. Light chemical peels require very little downtime and can be repeated every two to six weeks for maintenance
  • Medium Chemical Peel. A medium peel will exfoliate the top and middle layers of skin. It is suitable for mild to moderate skin conditions including deep wrinkles and acne scars. Recovery from a Medium chemical peel may take up to 14 days. The procedure can be repeated every four to six months
  • Deep Chemical Peel. A deep peel removes the top and middle layers of skin along with some of the lower layers of the dermis. Designed for more pronounced skin conditions, deep chemical peels address wrinkles, precancerous skin growths, and similar concerns. Initial recovery from a deep peel can take 14 days or longer, with residual redness lasting for several months. This procedure can only safely be performed one time

Infographic: Chemical Peel Aftercare

How Can I Prepare For a Chemical Peel?

Preparing for a chemical peel is important because it can help you obtain optimal results and reduce the risk of experiencing a complication. For people who are getting a chemical peel for the first time, you may not know what to do.

Here is how you can prepare for a chemical peel:

  • Schedule a consultation - Before anyone can undergo a chemical peel, you will need to schedule a consultation with a board-certified dermatologist, like Dr. Young. He will determine if you are a good candidate for a chemical peel by assessing the health of your skin, the skin conditions you have, and your aesthetic goals. 
  • Refrain from using certain skincare products - About one to two weeks prior to your chemical peel, you will need to stop using skincare products, such as exfoliators, retinoids, benzoyl peroxide, and salicylic acid. These can cause unnecessary irritation and make your skin more sensitive during the peel.
  • Limit your exposure to the sun - Once your peel is finished, your skin will be more vulnerable to the sun’s UV rays. Having sunburned or tanned skin can increase your risk of complications. It is important to limit your sun exposure and wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF level of 30. 
  • Keep your skin moisturized - It is critical to keep your skin moisturized by using a gentle moisturizer. Hydrated skin usually responds better to chemical peels. By keeping your skin moist, it can help reduce the risk of flaking and dryness.
  • Plan for your recovery period - If you plan on receiving a medium or deep chemical peel, you will need to schedule downtime. The intensity of these peels affect the deeper layers of your skin. On average, it can take a week or two to recover from medium peels and around three weeks from deep peels. 
  • Follow Dr. Young’s post-peel instructions - When your chemical peel is finished, Dr. Young will provide you with post-peel instructions to ensure you have a safe and smooth recovery. He will inform you how to clean your skin and keep it moisturized as you recover. 

What Can I Expect During a Chemical Peel?

As the chemical peel procedure begins, your face will be cleansed of any dirt, oil, or makeup. Once your face is cleansed, Dr. Young will begin applying the chemical peel solution. This solution will vary depending on the type of peel you decide to have. The solution may contain one or multiple types of acids, such as salicylic acid, lactic acid, glycolic acid, or trichloroacetic acid (TCA). When the solution is applied, you might feel a tingling, burning, or stinging sensation. This is a normal reaction and will fade away after a few minutes. 

How Long Will it Take to See Results from My Chemical Peel?

You may see results from your chemical peel right away. Conversely, it may take up to a week or two for the final results of your peel to appear. This depends on the type of peel that you have and the degree of inflammation you experience after your treatment. During your consultation, we will discuss how a peel works and what you can anticipate from the options that are available to you.

Is There Any Downtime After a Chemical Peel?

Chemical peel treatments do not incur the same downtime as surgical rejuvenating procedures or, in most cases, laser skin resurfacing. You shouldn't need prescription pain medication or extensive time off to rest. That said, if you decide to have a stronger treatment, you might experience visible flaking and peeling that lasts up to several days. Your provider will discuss what you can do to assist the cellular turnover process, including how to wash and moisturize your skin properly. You may want to also set aside a few days during which you can stay home while you are actively peeling. You must avoid sun exposure during that time.

Will I Be able to Wear Makeup After My Chemical Peel?

You can wear makeup immediately after a light, superficial chemical peel. If you choose to have a medium peel, your provider may advise you to refrain from wearing makeup for five to seven days. Doing so allows the cellular turnover process to occur without any interference from potentially irritating substances. 

How Long Does it Take to Get a Chemical Peel?

Generally, chemical peel treatments take an hour or less from start to finish. If there is any reason your treatment is expected to take longer, your provider will let you know ahead of time so you can plan accordingly. 

How Can I Prepare My Skin Before a Chemical Peel?

Once you have selected the ideal peel for your needs and skin type, your first step is to schedule your treatment at the right time. In general, it is ideal to schedule chemical peel treatment at least a week away from any big event. The last thing you want is to show up at a wedding, meeting, or other engagement with signs of skin irritation. Also, at the time that you schedule your chemical peel, inform your provider about any medications that you take. Some prescriptions may affect your reaction to ingredients in your peel. If you have questions about certain products or medications, talk to your provider. We are more than happy to assist you in being fully prepared for your chemical peel. 

Beginning about one week before your appointment, you should discontinue the use of at-home exfoliating treatments and products. Examples include salicylic acid and retinol. Also, do not exfoliate your skin with scrubs or abrasive brushes. To help your skin prepare for its accelerated cellular turnover activity, it is beneficial to drink a lot of water and also apply an appropriate moisturizer at least once a day. The chemical peel process can be slightly drying, so this action step ahead of time can mitigate unwanted side effects. 

Is a Chemical Peel Painful?

Chemical peels are not usually described as painful. Depending on the strength of your peel, you can expect to feel a stinging, tingling, or mild burning sensation. During your treatment, your provider will stay in the room or very close by and will check on you frequently to ensure that your sensations do not feel too intense. Once the acidic solution is neutralized, the sensations caused by its application decrease quickly. While you may experience some warmth or tingling after your chemical peel, this should not require the use of pain medication.

What Types of Chemical Peels Are Offered At Advanced Cosmetic Surgery?

We offer SkinMedica® and PCA peels. These advanced, trusted, and effective brands offer a range of peels, enabling women and men with all skin types and tones to benefit from treatment.

SkinMedica peels include:

  • Illuminize®. This gentle peel is entirely superficial and requires absolutely no downtime. It is very effective at restoring a uniform complexion even after just one use. This peel can be performed every two weeks
  • Vitalize®. A mild peel designed to reduce the appearance of fine lines, deep wrinkles, and skin roughness, Vitalize requires a short recovery period during which the skin will peel, but most people are able to resume normal activities within 24 hours. This peel may require three to six treatments for optimal results. Treatments can safely be performed every three to four weeks
  • Rejuvenize™. A medium peel for moderate to severe skin imperfections, Rejuvenize addresses fine lines, deep wrinkles, and pigmentation irregularities. This retinol-based peel requires a short recovery period and ideal results may require three to six treatments, spaced four to five months apart 


  • Enzymatic- skin brightening therapy with resveratrol – This treatment is for all skin types! It is a gentle exfoliant that can be used on anyone (including pregnant women and sensitive skin) It can be paired with dermaplaning or exfoliations. It has ingredients to help protect against free radical damage and reduce fine lines. If you’re looking for an instant “glow” with no actual peeling for days, this is the treatment to go with.
  • Sensi Peel – This is a great option for sensitive skin and higher Fitzpatrick skin types. It helps with overall brightening and texture, while promoting an even skin tone. It reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. You can expect a little bit of irritation on the skin because it is a chemical exfoliant. The purpose is to get rid of the dead skin cells and help turn new ones over for a brighter complexion.
  • Ultra Peel – This peel helps treat fine lines and wrinkles. It was made for maturing skin, but can also be used to help treat other skin types and conditions. It reduces dark spots and any other discolorations. What is the down time and recovery like? You can expect to feel a little tingling and discomfort during and after this peel. It is also likely that you will peel for 3-7 days depending on your skin.
  • PCA Peel with hydroquinone – This Peel helps promote an even skin tone and a clear complexion. Hydroquinone is a skin lightening agent. It also helps the cell turn over rate. Who can benefit from this peel? Anyone with hyperpigmentation or sun damage.

As with all medium chemical peels, it may take more than one treatment with a VI peel to achieve ideal results. During your time in our care, we will discuss this with you in greater detail to help you determine how many sessions you will need to reach your goals.

What is the Downtime and Recovery Like? 

You can expect to feel a little tingling and discomfort during and after this peel. It is also likely that you will peel for 3-7 days, depending on your skin.

PCA Peel with hydroquinone – This Peel helps promote an even skin tone and a clear complexion. Hydroquinone is a skin-lightening agent. It also helps the cell turnover rate. 

Who Can Benefit From This Peel? 

Anyone with hyperpigmentation or sun damage. As with all medium chemical peels, it may take more than one treatment with a VI peel to achieve ideal results. During your time in our care, we will discuss this with you in greater detail to help you determine how many sessions you will need to reach your goals.

What Are The Risks of a Chemical Peel?

When performed by a qualified professional, chemical peels are typically safe. However, they are not without risks, especially if you are considering having a deep peel. The severity of these risks does depend on the type of peel you have.

Below are the following risks associated with chemical peels:

  • Red, swollen, and irritated skin
  • Changes in your skin’s pigmentation
  • Increased risk of scarring, especially if it is a deep peel
  • Increased chance of a bacterial, fungal, or viral infection
  • Possibly reactivating herpes
  • Having an allergic reaction to the chemicals
  • Excessive peeling and crusting
  • Having an increased sensitivity to the sun
  • Increased chance of an acne flare-up
  • Having heart, liver, or kidney damage
  • Being unsatisfied with the results

Regarding heart, liver, and kidney damage, deep chemical peels use a substance known as phenol. Phenol is an organic compound and is used in very small doses. It is rare to experience organ damage from a peel, but it is possible. It is also important to go into a chemical peel with realistic goals and expectations. Be sure to discuss the ins and outs of chemical peels with a licensed professional so you can determine the best course of action. 

Who Should Not Receive a Chemical Peel?

People who have an active skin infection, are taking acne medication, have herpes, or have had another cosmetic procedure performed should avoid chemical peels. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, it is best to wait until you are finished expanding your family to receive a chemical peel, especially if you are considering a deep peel. 

In some cases, a light peel may be safe, but you will need to discuss it with your doctor. Anyone with sunburned skin, who has an immune system disorder, or who has keloid scarring is not eligible for a chemical peel. 

Contact Advanced Cosmetic Surgery

To learn if a chemical peel is the best fit for your needs, please call Advanced Cosmetic Surgery at 913-341-2188. We serve Kansas City and all surrounding areas from our office in Overland Park.