Question: As a chemistry teacher, I am always trying to prevent my students’ contact with acids and bases, so when I found out my chemical peel was an acidic derivative, I became a little nervous about the safety of my treatment versus the benefits. Will the chemical peel run the risk of a chemical burn?
Answer: Realize that there are countless different acids and bases out there, as I am sure that you already know as a chemistry teacher. The acids that we use for chemical peels are typically relatively mild acids and are carefully applied to the skin so that they will only penetrate to a certain depth and, therefore, prevent any true burn of the skin and certainly any scarring. In essence, a chemical peel in and of itself does cause a very light chemical burn of the skin, and this is what then causes some of the superficial layer of the skin to slough and to reveal the more youthful layers of skin below this.
Some of the more aggressive peels will actually cleave the skin below the epidermis, and these will require 5 to 7 days to heal, and there will be a significant amount of visible sloughing of skin from these types of chemical peels, whereas some more superficial chemical peels may not even have any visible peeling of skin but more of a pink hue to skin for a day or two. Ultimately, I would make sure that the person performing any sort of chemical peel on you is well educated, experienced, and qualified to perform these types of procedures.