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Chemical Peels (Glycolic, Lactic and Salicylic)

Dr. Ophelia Veraitch, Consultant Dermatologist

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Chemical Peels (Glycolic, Lactic and Salicylic)

Quick Stats

Used to Treat

Acne, sun damage, scarring, fine lines, hyperpigmentation, dull skin


None. Return to activities immediately.



Results Last

Areas Treated

Face, back, chest

Procedure Time

30 minutes

What are chemical peels?

Dermatologists have been using peeling agents for over 50 years. Light peels to correct mild defects, medium-depth peels to correct moderate defects, and deep peels to correct severe defects can be used over the entire face and neck area uniformly or in combining, light, medium-depth, and deep peels on the same face to correct different skin problems.

Today with rejuvenation of the skin and reversal of ageing process paramount in the minds of many, chemical peeling has emerged as an exciting supplement to a total skin care programme.

The mild and moderate peels are called freshening peels because they improve the quality of the skin without altering its normal architecture.

Treating Your Skin Concerns

  • Improve acne breakouts
  • Improve sun damage
  • Improve mild scarring
  • Improve fine wrinkles
  • Improve irregular hyperpigmentation
  • Improve tired looking and dull skin
  • Improve keratosis pilaris

How does it work?

Chemical peels work by producing a separation and shedding of the upper layers of the skin, which is then replaced by new skin. This process of new skin formation is thought to stimulate the production of your own collagen.

Types of Peels

We offer three types of chemical peels, all of which work by dissolving the proteins, or “glue”, that binds the dead cells together on the surface of your skin. By dissolving this glue, the acid lifts these dead cells from the surface to reveal the fresh cells underneath. The result is an immediate improvement in the appearance and smoothness and radiance of your skin. Lifting the dead cells stimulates the living cells and collagen underneath.

After just a few weeks, your skin looks brighter, clearer and dry skin becomes hydrated and smooth. It promotes a healthy, youthful glow by reducing the visible signs of ageing, smoothing complexions, balancing irregular skin tones and softening the skin.

Glycolic acid (AHA)

Glycolic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid derived from sugar cane. It’s non-toxic and isn’t absorbed into the body, so it won’t cause any systemic side effects unlike the chemicals associated with some other peels.

Lactic acid (AHA)

Lactic acid (AHA) originates from milk which has been used to soften the skin for centuries. Cleopatra famously bathed in it. As well as the benefits outlined above, lactic acid is also thought to have an antioxidant effect reducing the harmful effects of sun, smoke and pollution on the skin.

Lactic acid peels can be used on very sensitive skin which cannot initially tolerate glycolic acid peel.  You may need two to four lactic acid peels, one to two weeks apart, before you advance to the higher strength peels.

Salicylic acid

Salicylic acid is a microcrystal peel which occurs naturally in the bark of the willow tree. It is an advanced peel suitable for patients of all skin types. It is particularly beneficial for acne prone and oily skin types but can be helpful to any patient - no matter how severe their photo damage.  Improvement can be achieved in the appearance of lines and uneven pigmentation such as melasma. Salicylic is also reported to be beneficial in improving dermatological conditions such as acne and rosacea. 

Unlike some other peels Salicylic does not damage the deeper, healthy skin cells. You can continue to have regularly scheduled treatments for as long as you want. Over time your skin will build and maintain a healthy barrier against the pollution.

Your Questions Answered

What happens during the treatment?

We will remove all make up and moisturiser from your face and then “de-grease” your skin, i.e. use a cleansing solution to temporarily strip the skin of its natural oils and allow for deeper penetration of the acid peel. Vaseline may be applied to sensitive areas such as corners of the nose and eyes and on any active spots or cuts.  During application you will experience a mild stinging sensation. To relieve some of the discomfort during the application, a cooling fan is directed at the area.

The acid peel is left in place for between 2-10 minutes before it is washed off. The strength, type and duration of peel will be decided at the time of your treatment. The depth of the peel is controlled by three factors: the preparation of the skin, the concentration of the solution and the length of time it is applied. Sunscreen is applied at the end of treatment. Your face may become pink after the solution is applied.  There may also be a faint whitish discolouration in some areas especially along the upper cheek.  Occasionally small blisters may occur with crusting.

What happens after the treatment?

In some patients a redness may gradually appear like a sunburn and then slowly darken. The skin colour may change from a dark brownish-red to a golden or deep brown as the dead skin cells get ready to separate from the epidermal (upper) layers. The skin may peel off and shed in dark sheets, or it may just flake and shed like very dry skin.  This peeling/shedding could start between 3-8 days and last for 2-7 days.

Dramatic peeling, or a lack of it, does not mean that this peel was performed improperly, or failed to “do its job”. Some individuals peel dramatically, experiencing dry brown patches. Others just have flaking.

Will I need to have any pre-treatment?

No specific pre-treatment is necessary. Before your treatment you are advised to avoid any changes in your normal face care routine one to two weeks prior to the peel treatment such as facial hair bleaching, electrolysis, an exfoliating facial, exfoliating scrubs, laser treatments, sunbathing, tanning beds or use of any new creams or prescription creams.  Please inform your therapist if you change your routine at any time as this may alter your response to the peeling agent.

How many treatments will I need?

The skin peel may be repeated once a week for 4-6 weeks with a minimum four peels advised, followed by a maintenance peel once a month. If you have sensitive skin you may be advised to reduce the peels to once every two weeks over an 8-12 week period. Acid peels gradually improve your skin with repeated peels.

When will I see results?

Following the treatment, the skin is expected to peel for approximately 7 days. Once the peeling subsides, you’ll see noticeable improvements in the skin's appearance within a week.

What is the down time?

The procedure takes less than one hour and has minimal to no downtime. You can go back to your regular activities immediately after treatment.

Why visit Dr. Ophelia for your Morpheus8 treatment?

Dr. Ophelia Veraitch is an award-winning and highly respected Consultant Dermatologist. Specialising in a wide variety of hair and skin conditions, Dr. Veraitch works with every patient individually, working to truly understand the issue at hand, the products and regime a client utilises plus the mental and physical impact this condition has on their daily life. Following a detailed assessment, Dr. Veraitch expertly develops a personalised treatment plan which will help produce results, and ultimately change every one of her patient’s lives for the better.

What are my next steps?

Book a consultation with Dr. Ophelia, who will diagnose your condition and offer treatment options going forward, Click the link below to start the process.

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Chemical Peel Prices

Prices start from
£150 (face), £250 (back or chest)