Chemical Peels on Body: The Ultimate Guide

By PMUHub Editorial Team| Last updated on February 14, 2024

Chemical peels for the body can effectively address many skin issues, like hyperpigmentation, dryness, body acne, and scarring. Let’s see what chemical peels on body are most suitable for each condition!

chemical peels on body

Image source: Instagram @thefewinstitute

While our face often takes the spotlight when it comes to skincare, the rest of our body faces similar skin issues.

Thankfully, most can be resolved with the help of chemical peels on body. These treatments can address nearly every skin concern by removing damaged skin layers and promoting skin cell turnover.

So, let’s delve into the most popular uses of chemical peeling treatments when it comes to treating body skin.

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What Are Body Skin Peels?

Body skin peels are chemical peeling treatments that are performed on different areas of the body.

They use the same principles as regular facial chemical peeling treatments – a peeling agent is applied on the skin, left to penetrate deep enough to trigger collagen production and improve skin texture and appearance of blemishes.

The versatility is quite wide as different concentrations and types of acids can be used to treat different skin concerns. Plus – it can be done either on a problematic body area or as a full-body peel.

Here’s a detailed guide through chemical peels in general.

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So, How Are They Different From Face Peels?

Seeing as the body’s skin isn’t as delicate (in fact, It’s 2-3 times thicker than the skin on our faces), body peels can be stronger and penetrate deeper.

This means the concentration of the peeling agent won’t be the same as the traditional, facial peels use. Body skin can take on higher-strength formulas.

So, essentially, the main difference is the strength of the peeling agents used, as the skin’s sensitivity isn’t the same on the rest of the body as it is on the face.

That said, not all types of peels are suitable for use on larger areas.

This is why it’s important to consult with a qualified skincare professional to determine the most appropriate type of peel for your skin and the area you want to treat.

They will consider your skin type, the severity of your concerns, and your desired outcomes to create a tailored treatment plan that maximizes results while minimizing potential side effects.

What Types of Chemical Peels on Body Work the Best?

The best body peel depends on your specific goals and skin condition. Here’s a quick rundown of the most popular types of chemical peels on body choices and their benefits:

  • Lactic acid body peel offers gentle exfoliation, making it the best choice for sensitive skin types. Great for brightening and evening out the skin tone, as well as smoothing out rough skin and reducing wrinkles.
  • Glycolic acid body peel is highly effective for body exfoliation. It smoothes out skin texture, so it’s good for body acne, rough patches, and uneven tone. Glycolic peel for body is suitable for most skin types but may require lower concentrations.
  • Salicylic acid is the go-to for body acne and clogged pores. Beyond reducing acne and acne scarring, it’s also great for lessening inflammation.
  • Jessner peel is often used to address things like crepey skin and discoloration. It’s especially effective because it can be combined with other peels, helping penetrate deeper – yet still remaining safe.
  • TCA is quite versatile and can be used for the treatment of more serious concerns. But when it comes to treating large areas or areas with thinner skin, it should be applied one area at a time or used in lower concentrations.

Benefits of Chemical Peels on Body

Many benefits of chemical peels on body include:

  • Reduced visibility of stretch marks
  • Reduced the visibility of discoloration and age spots
  • Reduced body acne and scarring (both from acne and otherwise – e.g. surgical scars)
  • Reduced skin dryness
  • Improvement of bumpy skin (keratosis pilaris)
  • Improvement of skin tone & texture
  • Stimulation of skin cell turnover
  • Boost in collagen and elastin production
  • Versatility, meaning it can be adapted to suit sensitive skin types and all skin tones

Are There Any Contraindications to Body Skin Peels?

Your treatment provider will conduct a thorough assessment of your skin and medical background before scheduling a body peel, so it’s crucial to be honest and inform them about anything that can potentially affect your suitability.

Some limitations of chemical peels on body include:

  • Active skin infections, bacterial, fungal, or viral
  • Pregnancy and breastfeeding
  • Recent sun exposure and tanning
  • History of keloids or hypertrophic scarring
  • Some medications, such as isotretinoin (Accutane)
  • Recent hair removal procedures in the area
  • Certain skin conditions, like psoriasis or eczema, may not be suitable candidates
  • Some health conditions, such as asthma or heart conditions
  • Recent surgical or beauty procedures
  • Individual skin types and tones may not be suitable for certain peeling agents

Best Body Peel for Each Body Skin Condition

As mentioned, the incredible versatility of this treatment allows it to be customized to treat pretty much any body area – from the most sensitive to the thickest skin parts.

You can do a full body chemical peel, or treat just one specific problem area. Here are some of the most common uses of chemical peels on body:

Chemical Peel for Skin Lightening

Hyperpigmentation can happen anywhere on the body, and chemical peels can help most of the time. They’re most often used for armpits, elbows and knees.

Our daily activities (such as leaning on our elbows, kneeling, etc.) put a lot of friction on the knees and elbows, which speeds up the creation of melanin there as a skin-protection defense mechanism.

Besides, the skin on the knees and elbows is thicker so it’s more likely to get dry and accumulate dead skin cells – which is exactly what body skin peels help treat. Let’s look at the best chemical peel for body hyperpigmentation:

Chemical Peel for Knees

Chemical peels can work wonders on rough and discolored knee skin. One of the best chemical peels for dark knees is kojic acid, although using the TCA peel for knees is also a very popular option.

These peels exfoliate the top layer of skin, promoting smoother, more evenly toned knees.

Just keep in mind TCA chemical peels are not appropriate for every type of skin, so you’ll want to consult with a skincare professional to see if it’s the right solution for you.

Chemical Peel for Elbows

Just like the knees, elbows are also under constant friction due to our normal day-to-day activities – which is why they’re also prone to becoming darker and rougher.

Gentle exfoliation with lactic acid can help lighten dark patches and improve skin texture, leaving the elbows looking brighter and smoother.

Chemical Peel for ElbowsImage source: Instagram @drlanakadir

Chemical Peel for Underarms

Applying acids to the underarms is relatively safe as long as very low concentrations are used.

Using milder chemical peel, like lactic acid peel for example, is considered a safer option than, say, glycolic acid for dark armpits.

Just be careful not to compromise the skin’s protective barrier by applying acids too often or in high concentrations – there’s a risk you might actually worsen the discoloration.

Chemical Peel for UnderarmsImage source: Instagram @thedermastudio_clinic

Chemical Peel for Inner Thighs

Darker skin on your inner thighs is often caused by constant friction. If the discoloration bothers you, chemical peels can help brighten and smoothen this skin, providing a more even skin tone.

While glycolic acid for dark inner thighs is generally considered safe to use as long as it’s in lower concentrations, kojic acid is often considered the best chemical peel for inner thighs since it has additional skin-brightening properties that help inhibit melanin production.

Chemical Peel for Buttocks

Whether you’re worried about uneven skin pigmentation or rough patches, doing a chemical peel on buttocks can help make your skin noticeably smoother – both in texture and tone.

There are various formulations tailored to this specific area so you can explore which is the best chemical peel for buttocks for you. Usual choices include kojic or lactic acid peels, as well as a low concentration of TCA peel for back side!

Bacne Chemical Peel

Acne on the chest and back can be challenging to treat, so body skin peels – specifically the salicylic acid body peel – are a great option! They help address this problem by exfoliating the skin, reducing acne lesions, and improving overall skin texture

Other than salicylic acid, alternative back chemical peel options also include TCA body peel and Jessner peel on the back – but using a BHA is a better option since it’s oil-soluble and can help penetrate the pores at a deeper level and prevent future breakouts.

If you are looking for chemical peels for back hyperpigmentation, a gentle TCA peel on back is also a great choice since it will be able to penetrate even through thicker skin and encourage those pigmented skin cells to move to the surface where they will eventually shed away.

bacne chemical peelImage source: Instagram @drlanakadir

Chemical Peels on Body Wrinkles

Chemical peels can rejuvenate the skin and combat body wrinkles. Wrinkles can appear on various parts of the body, not just the face, so turning to body skin peels can effectively address body wrinkles and help you achieve smoother, more youthful-looking skin.

The most common areas are neck and chest wrinkles, as well as hands.

As for choosing the best chemical peel for body wrinkles, pretty much any chemical peeling can help stimulate collagen production, but AHAs are particularly praised for their ability to reduce fine lines and wrinkles.

Learn more about how chemical peels help treat wrinkles here.

Chemical Peels on Body WrinklesImage source: Instagram @glytoneusa

Keratosis Pilaris (Rough, Bumpy Skin)

Bumpy rough skin is often caused by keratosis pilaris, which can be easily treated with chemical peeling, due to its keratolytic properties – it dissolves away dead skin layers.

Bumps are often resolved with the help of salicylic acid, while lactic acid can help with the redness this condition often causes. Seeing as Jessner peel is the combination of both these acids, it’s the perfect option for treating KP!

Chemical Peel for Body Scars

Chemical peels can also be effective in reducing the appearance of various body scars and discolorations, helping to create smoother and more even-toned skin.

When considering which chemical peel for scars on body to get, it’s vital to consult with a qualified dermatologist or skincare professional as they can assess your skin’s unique needs and recommend the most suitable type of peel and treatment plan.

Not all scar tissue will react the same, so some peels may be off-limits for certain types of scarring.

We should note that while many people turn to chemical peel for stretch marks, it’s not exactly the best treatment option for this type of scarring. Look into microneedling or another treatment instead.

Chemical Peel for Body Pigmentation

Whether it’s age spots, melasma, or dark spots related to acne scars, body peel for hyperpigmentation helps exfoliate the skin, which helps lighten dark spots.

One of the most effective types is kojic acid peel, which not only exfoliates but also inhibits an enzyme necessary in the production of melanin, helping fade dark spots and even out skin tone.

Other options for the best body peel for hyperpigmentation include lactic acid, glycolic acid, and mandelic acid.

Learn more about chemical peels for hyperpigmentation here.

Chemical Peel for Body Pigmentation
Image source: Instagram @flawlessbyfrances

Chemical Foot Peel

For those struggling with cracked heels, the right chemical peel for feet can be a game-changer.

Glycolic acid foot peel works great for removing dry, damaged skin, so you’ll notice a significant improvement in the appearance and comfort of your feet.

Salicylic acid foot peel is helpful for the removal of calluses and corns. As a keratolytic, it works by dissolving the bond between skin cells while also bringing the skin’s moisture level up. This allows the skin cells to be shed more easily and you get smoother and softer foot skin.

Whole Body Chemical Peel

Full body peels are usually used to treat multiple skin concerns at once. However, performing a whole body chemical peel on all areas at once is generally not recommended. It’s more common to break the body into manageable sections and treat them over several sessions.

How Are Chemical Peels on Body Preformed?

Before the actual procedure, there should be a consultation during which you should discuss your skin concerns, medical history, and goals for the treatment with your treatment provider.

During this consultation, your skincare professional should also asses your skin to determine the most suitable type of chemical peeling and the optimal concentration of the acids.

The actual procedure is pretty much the same as a facial peel would go.

First, the area is cleaned and then the chemical solution is applied. It’s left on the skin for an appropriate amount of time which depends on the type of peel, the area treated, and the seriousness of the skin concern.

As mentioned, some body parts are more sensitive while on others the skin is a bit thicker so the peel is adjusted.

Once the chemicals have penetrated deep enough, the solution is neutralized.

The procedure takes around 30-60 minutes in total. You may need several sessions.

As for the whole body chemical peel, sessions are usually spaced a month or two apart, to optimize results.

With certain acids and concentrations, the acid isn’t applied to more than a small area at a time to prevent any possibility of potential toxicity.

Chemical Peels on Body Recovery

In general, the full chemical peel healing time lasts up to 14 days, but depending on the intensity of the peel, the recovery period can end even sooner.

In the first 24-48 hours you’ll experience minor side effects, most commonly redness and increased skin sensitivity. You may also experience the so-called frosting effect (white patches on your skin) as well as sensations of tingling or aching.

Around day 3 the actual skin peeling will start. This will continue for another 2-5 days. Keep up with the prescribed aftercare routine until all peeling stops. And remember – the most important thing at this point is not picking at the flakes of skin or pulling at them!

Depending on the treated area, peeling can get quite intense and your skin may slough off in large chunks, but you must let it fall off on its own – or you risk discoloration and scarring.

What you can do, though, is cut off the larger flakes with sterile scissors, as long as you don’t pull. After all of the old skin layer has been shed off, and a new, healthy layer has fully taken its place, you can consider the healing process done.

You can read more about facial peel day-by-day recovery here to get a closer idea of what to expect.

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How to Prep for Body Skin Peels

There are a few things you can do to help prepare your skin for body chemical peel that will help minimize the chances of risks and side effects from occurring, as well as help you achieve the best outcome.

If you are using any skincare products that contain active ingredients like AHAs or BHA, or retinol – discontinue the use prior to getting a body chemical peel as these ingredients can increase skin sensitivity and lead to irritation.

Speaking of skin irritation and sensitivity, avoid waxing, shaving, or using hair removal creams on the areas you plan to treat with a chemical peel for several days before the procedure.

Also, avoid excessive sun exposure and tanning in the weeks leading up to your peel.

Sunburned or overly tanned skin is more prone to complications during and after a chemical peel. Hydrated skin, on the other hand, tends to heal more efficiently so make sure to moisturize it regularly in the days leading up to your peel.

Aftercare for Chemical Peels on Body

Proper aftercare is crucial after a body chemical peel to ensure optimal results as well as minimize the risk of any complications.

Your treatment provider will provide exact aftercare instructions since they can differ depending on the treated area – as well as the type and depth of the peel.

But we can provide some general guidelines of what to do and what not to do after body skin peels:

  • Avoid scrubbing or using harsh products for at least 1 week post-peel
  • Keep your skin hydrated to alleviate dryness and peeling
  • Protect your treated skin from the sun – it can cause hyperpigmentation and worsen skin sensitivity. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30+ every day.
  • Avoid picking or peeling the flaking skin after a chemical peel. Allow it to come off naturally to avoid scarring or infection.
  • Avoid activities that can make you sweat heavily
  • Depending on the area you’re treating, you might also need to avoid wearing dark clothes to avoid staining the newly uncovered skin.

Are Chemical Peels on Body Safe? Possible Risks + Side Effects

Yes, this treatment is considered safe, provided it’s done by a licensed skincare professional.

In general, most side effects are related to over-exfoliation, which can lead to skin irritation, redness, and dryness. In extreme gone-wrong scenarios, there’s also a risk of burning the skin if too high a concentration is used.

As for the flaking, slight stinging, redness, or temporary discoloration – these are considered normal parts of the healing process and they usually subside without any complications within a few days.

If you are worried something may be wrong consult your dermatologist – or if you start experiencing any complications – go to the doctor’s office immediately.

Are Chemical Peels on Body Suitable for All Skin Types?

The great thing about body skin peels is that they’re fully customizable, meaning they can be adapted even to sensitive skin types! Using lower concentrations allows you to have a gentle yet effective exfoliating treatment that can gradually alleviate skin issues.

But if you still don’t think chemical peels are a good option for you, look into getting an enzyme peel instead.

Are Body Peels for Dark Skin Safe?

Due to higher concentrations of melanin, darker skin tones are more prone to experience post-peel discoloration.

The safest body peel for Fitz 5-6 skin is salicylic acid peel, as it has anti-inflammatory properties. You can learn more about this acid here.

are body peels on dark skin safe
Image source: Instagram @missdallasbusinesscoach

How Much Does Body Chemical Peel Cost?

Body chemical peel cost depends on which area are you’re looking to treat. The range can be anywhere from $100 to over $450. Obviously, larger areas will be more expensive, and full body chemical peel cost can end up going up to $1000 – $3000.

how much does body chemical peel cost
Image source: Instagram @vipeel

Can You Do Body Chemical Peel At Home?

When it comes to DIY chemical peels, they are never the same as professional ones. First of all, non-professionals shouldn’t be using such high concentrations since it carries a lot of risks if not done properly.

Most body chemical peel at home products are formulated as part of shower gels, toners or lotions.

These are formulated with lower concentrations, making them safe for use – but also a bit less effective. So if you’re looking for a quick fix, professional treatment is the way to go!

But if not, body chemical peel products are a simple and budget-friendly way to help improve your skin concerns.

Here are some product recommendations:

Chemical Peels on Body – Main Takeaways

Chemical peels offer a versatile and effective solution for a wide range of skin issues, helping you achieve a smoother, more radiant complexion from head to toe.

These treatments are available for all areas of the body, and with numerous types of body skin peels to choose from, you can tailor them precisely to address your skin concerns – or exfoliate with a full body chemical peel to help smoothen, soften, and brighten skin.

LEARN MORE ABOUT CHEMICAL PEEL

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