The chemical solution for superficial peels — also known as light peels or lunchtime peels — is typically alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) or beta hydroxy acid. AHAs are naturally occurring compounds found in papayas, milk, sugar cane and other foods. Healing time for a superficial chemical peel is often between 1 and 7 days. Superficial peels are the most affordable and may range from under $100 to over $200, depending on the provider.
“Unwanted side effects are hyper or hypopigmentation, swelling, or infection,” says Dr. Davin Lim, a Brisbane, Queensland dermatologist, in a RealSelf Q&A. “Expected side effects are redness, flaking, and dryness, and can be easily managed. You can manage these risks by doing the following: sun protection, prepping your skin before chemical peels, avoiding active ingredients one to two days before treatment, and consulting with an experienced cosmetic provider and following aftercare instructions.”
The average chemical peel can cost $500–$700 for each treatment, but prices range from $150 for a mild peel up to several thousand dollars for a series of deep peels. (10) While this might seem like a steep cost for good-looking skin, chemical peels are still less expensive than superficial fractional-laser treatments, which can run up to $1,000 a session and usually require multiple treatments.