Clinical role and application of superficial chemical peels in today's practice

J Drugs Dermatol. 2009 Sep;8(9):803-11.


Chemical peeling is a popular, relatively inexpensive, and generally safe method to refresh and rejuvenate skin. This review focuses on superficial chemical peels and their use in routine clinical practice. A wide variety of peels are available, utilizing various actives and concentrations, including a recently introduced salicylic acid derivative, beta-lipohydroxy acid, which has properties that may expand the clinical use of peels. Superficial peels can be used to enhance treatment within a variety of conditions, including acne, melasma, dyschromias, photodamage and actinic keratoses. In addition, peels can be combined with other in-office procedures to optimize outcomes and enhance patient satisfaction, and allow clinicians to tailor the treatment to individual patient's needs. Successful outcomes are based on a thorough understanding and application of correct chemical peel procedures, including history-taking, pretreatment, preparation, peel selection, patient communication and maintenance regimens.Used properly, the superficial chemical peel has the potential to fill an important therapeutic need in the treatment armamentarium of dermatologists and plastic surgeons.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chemexfoliation / adverse effects
  • Chemexfoliation / methods*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Humans
  • Rejuvenation
  • Skin / drug effects
  • Skin / pathology
  • Skin Aging / drug effects*
  • Skin Diseases / pathology
  • Skin Diseases / therapy*