Chemical Peels

In Ottawa

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Chemical Peels


As we get older, the most prominent area on our body that shows signs of aging is our skin. Whether environmental factors or genetics, skin aging is a big concern for many people who want to look and feel their best. The good news is that there are a range of options that can help reverse the signs of aging and restore your youthful glow, all without going under the knife. One of the most common procedures is a Chemical Peel, which is a skin-resurfacing procedure used to treat wrinkles, discolored skin, and scars.

If you are considering Chemical Peels in Ottawa, ON, come and see the team at Ottawa Plastic Surgery, led by award-winning plastic surgeons Dr. Silverman and Dr. Boyd. The Ottawa Plastic Surgery team understands the importance of safe, medical care and will take care of you. Find out how our providers can help make you look younger and feel your best.

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What is a Chemical Peel?

A Chemical Peel is a procedure in which a chemical solution is applied to the skin to remove the top layers. The skin that grows back is smoother. Chemical peels are used to treat wrinkles, discolored skin, and scars — usually on the face. They can be done alone or combined with other cosmetic procedures. And they can be done at different depths, from light to deep.

There are three basic types of chemical peels:

  • Superficial peel: Alpha-hydroxy acid or another mild acid is used to penetrate only the outer layer of skin to gently exfoliate it. The treatment is used to improve the appearance of mild skin discoloration and rough skin as well as to refresh the face, neck, chest, or hands.
  • Medium peel: Glycolic or trichloroacetic acid is applied to penetrate the outer and middle layers of skin to remove damaged skin cells. The treatment is used to improve age spots, fine lines and wrinkles, freckles, and moderate skin discoloration. It also can be used to smooth rough skin and treat some precancerous skin growths, i.e. actinic keratosis. With a light or medium peel, you may need to undergo the procedure more than once to get the desired results.
  • Deep peel: Trichloroacetic acid or phenol is applied to deeply penetrate the middle layer of skin to remove damaged skin cells. The treatment removes moderate lines, age spots, freckles, and shallow scars. Patients will see a dramatic improvement in skin appearance. The procedure is used on the face and only can be performed once. Deeper chemical peels take longer to recover from.

What are the benefits of a Chemical Peel?

Chemical Peels in Ottawa can restore your skin and address the following issues: 

  • Acne scars
  • Hyperpigmentation
  • Age spots
  • Aging skin
  • Crow’s feet
  • Melasma
  • Sun-damaged skin
  • Wrinkles
  • Sagging Skin

For any other skin issues you are keen to address with a Chemical Peel, call our practice today to speak with Dr. Silverman and his specialists.

Who are the best candidates for a Chemical Peel?

Generally, superficial peels can be used on all skin types. However, if you have a darker skin tone, you have a greater risk of experiencing a darkening of your skin after treatment. This condition is called post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. If you have a naturally darker skin tone, you may want to talk to one of our knowledgeable providers about other less aggressive treatments to reduce the risk of hyperpigmentation.

Chemical peeling may also not be recommended if you:

  • Have a history of abnormal skin scarring.
  • Have extra coloring in your scars.
  • Have skin conditions or take medications that make your skin more sensitive.
  • Can’t stay out of the sun for the healing period.

First steps of a Chemical Peels

What’s the first step?

The first step to getting a Chemical Peel in Ottawa is to book a consultation with one of our providers at Ottawa Plastic Surgery. You can call us directly or contact us on our website. Our patient coordinators are ready to help you and get you started on your journey. By scheduling a consultation, you will meet with one of our surgeons, learn more about what Chemical Peels involve, and decide whether this is the right procedure for you. 

To prepare for your chemical peel, your provider may give you some general instructions including:

  • Avoid tanning and direct sun exposure for two weeks before each treatment.
  • Apply topical products (such as hydroquinone) as instructed before treatment to prepare your skin.
  • Don’t use any products containing retinoids (such as tretinoin) one to two weeks before treatment.
  • If you have been prescribed oral antibiotics or an oral antiviral medicine, start taking it at least 24 hours before your chemical peel.
  • Peel areas must be free of any open sores, lesions, or skin infections.

What to expect on the day of a Chemical Peel treatment

On the day of your appointment, your assigned provider will prepare your skin for the Chemical peel by thoroughly cleansing your skin to remove any excess oil and dirt, and carefully protecting your eyes, nose, mouth, and hair. Depending on the peel you get will determine what sort of numbing agent we will give you. For example, if you’re getting a light peel, we may just apply a cool compress to your face or some topical numbing cream, whereas a Deep Peel will require a little something stronger, including pain medication.

A chemical solution is then applied to your skin. Chemical solutions typically used include glycolic acid, trichloroacetic acid, salicylic acid, lactic acid, or carbolic acid (phenol). The different types of chemicals cause a controlled injury, each penetrating through to a different skin depth, and then peeling away to reveal a new layer of skin.

The different chemical solutions provide different results. The choice of a chemical depends on your goal. You will work with your assigned provider to determine the depth of your peel, whether it will be a light, medium, or deep peel. 

You may feel a warm to somewhat hot sensation that will last a few minutes. This is followed by a stinging sensation. To relieve the sting, a cool compress may be applied to your skin. The chemical is then washed off and/or neutralized.

Chemical Peel recovery

Your recovery process and what to expect varies depending on the depth of your chemical peel. 

If you’ve had a light chemical peel:

  • Expect a sunburn-like reaction to occur after your peel, meaning you’ll see redness followed by scaling that lasts between three and seven days.
  • Apply lotion or cream as directed until your skin heals. After your skin heals, apply daily sunscreen.
  • You can wear makeup immediately after treatment or the next day.
  • Additional peels may be repeated every two to five weeks until you achieve your desired results. Typically three to five peels are needed to achieve your goal.

If you’ve had a medium chemical peel:

  • Expect some redness, swelling, stinging, and flaking of your skin. Swelling may last and/or worsen for 48 hours. Blisters can develop and break open. Skin will crust and peel off over seven to 14 days.
  • Perform daily soaks as directed by your doctor. Apply ointment after each soak. Apply lotion or cream daily. Don’t expose your skin to sunlight until completely healed.
  • Antiviral medication will need to be taken for 10 to 14 days.
  • You can wear makeup after five to seven days.
  • Additional medium-depth peels may be repeated at six to 12-month intervals, if needed, to maintain results.

If you’ve had a deep chemical peel:

  • The treatment area will be bandaged. Your bandages will be removed in a few days. Expect a healing time of 14 to 21 days.
  • Perform daily soaks as directed by your doctor. Apply ointment after each soak. After 14 days, apply moisturizer as directed. Don’t expose your skin to the sun for three to six months.
  • Antiviral medication will need to be taken for 10 to 14 days.
  • Wait at least 14 days before using any makeup.
  • You can only have one deep peel performed on your face.

To get the best results, regardless of the depth of your peel, avoid tanning beds, always apply a daily sunscreen, and apply a daily moisturizer, as directed, to keep your skin moist to prevent scarring. Your new skin is fragile and more susceptible to complications. Your provider will give you post-treatment instructions to reduce the chance of developing abnormal skin color after your peel and other complications.

Chemical Peels Cost

How much does a Chemical Peel cost in Ottawa?

The cost of a Chemical Peel in Ottawa can vary, depending on the areas being treated. Each patient’s skin is different and requires an individual assessment, which is why we require a consultation before going ahead with the treatment. During the consultation, your provider will discuss in depth your desired outcome, and the areas you are looking to focus on to give a more accurate price point. Call us today for a consultation and speak with one of our providers about your Chemical Peel treatment. 

Why Choose Ottawa Plastic Surgery?

There are several options when selecting a surgeon to perform your Chemical Peel, so we certainly appreciate you considering us. When choosing a provider to perform your treatment, it’s always important that they have the proper credentials. Our practice is run by Dr. Silverman, M.D., who is a certified member of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons in Plastic Surgery. We are a combination of artists and surgeons, where we blend science and beauty, creating stunning facial aesthetics for our Ottawa patients. Our entire team strives to provide an elevated experience for our patients. 

The Ottawa Plastic Surgery practice has performed over 9,000 cosmetic procedures, and our medical providers are both award-winning surgeons. Ottawa Plastic Surgery is the only clinic in Ottawa that focuses exclusively on aesthetic plastic surgery.


Chemical Peels FAQ’S

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Schedule A Consultation

To schedule a consultation for a Chemical Peel in Ottawa with one of our providers, you can call our practice directly or contact us via the patient portal on our website, and share your details so our staff can guide you through the process. 

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