Is a Chemical Peel Right for Me?

No matter how well you care for your skin, you can’t completely protect it from the ravages of nature — or the effects of aging and genetics. Fine lines, wrinkles, scars, and uneven tone and texture all wind up making their appearance eventually, leaving you looking older and more worn than you want. The key to rejuvenating aging, tired skin: resurfacing with a chemical peel tailored just for you.

Chemical peels get rid of the upper layers of damaged skin, helping skin refresh itself naturally. At Sanctuary Cosmetic Center, we offer a variety of peels at our locations in McLean and Dulles, Virginia, helping women and men throughout the Tysons area restore healthy, glowing skin without surgery. Here’s how a chemical peel can help you.

One treatment, lots of benefits

About 1.3 million chemical peels were performed last year, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, making them the third-most-popular nonsurgical aesthetic treatment in the United States (right after Botox® and fillers). Chemical peels are popular largely because they’re so versatile: Peels can be customized to achieve specific effects based on the individual’s unique goals, and they can be used to correct lots of cosmetic issues, like:

  • Acne scars and other scarring
  • Fine lines and wrinkles
  • Sun damage
  • Rough or uneven skin texture
  • Dark spots, including age spots
  • Loss of skin tone

Peels are available in different strengths, depending on the chemical solutions they use and the amount of time they’re left on the skin. Mild peels work to slough off the very uppermost layer of damaged skin, while medium and deep peels work on the upper, medium, and deep layers of tissue. 

Light peels

Light chemical peels can be repeated regularly to help skin maintain its freshness. But because they only work on the top layer of skin, they’re typically reserved for more superficial issues, like uneven or rough skin texture, fine lines, and minor scars. Light peels typically cause some mild redness and light peeling that resolves within a few days.

Medium peels

Medium peels can be a good choice for deeper acne scars, wrinkles, and dark spots, and they’re also great for smoothing rough, aged skin. Since a medium peel uses a stronger solution and works on the deeper layers of skin, these peels are typically performed once every few months to avoid irritating your skin. Medium peels can cause redness, minor swelling, and more extensive peeling that can last for a week or two afterward.

Deep peels

Deeper peels use much stronger chemical solutions to reach the deepest layers of your skin. These peels are only performed once to treat very deep acne scars (sometimes called ice-pick scars), deeper wrinkles, and loss of skin tone. Deeper peels (and some medium peels) cause “controlled damage” to your skin, promoting natural healing responses, including the development of new collagen for greater skin elasticity. New skin reveals itself after about two to three weeks, during which time you’ll have extensive peeling, redness, and swelling.

What to expect during treatment

A chemical peel begins with a gentle cleansing of your skin to remove excess oils. This step allows the solution to penetrate more evenly. Depending on the type of peel you’re getting, we might apply a numbing solution to prevent stinging that can occur while the solution is on your skin. After the solution is applied, it remains on your skin for a specific amount of time, then it’s thoroughly washed away.

Once the solution is removed, we may apply a deep moisturizer, serums, or a cool compress to help soothe your skin and prevent discomfort. Before leaving our office, we’ll provide you with complete instructions on how to care for your skin while it heals, including when it’s OK to apply makeup and how to deal with peeling.

A new look for a new year

Because they can be customized, chemical peels can be a great option for most women and men who want to refresh and rejuvenate their skin. If you’re ready to enjoy smoother, fresher, younger-looking skin, call Sanctuary Cosmetic Center or use our online form to book a visit today.


We look forward to seeing how we can help you achieve a new level of confidence. Contact our team to set up a private consultation and explore everything we have to offer at Washington, D.C.’s premier cosmetic provider.

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