Chemical peels: Should they be done at home or at a clinic?

Chemical peels: Should they be done at home or at a clinic?

To start this article, lets first talk a little about what chemical peels are and the benefits they offer. Just like the name suggests, they are chemicals that peel off the outer layers of your skin. The process is therefore also called chemexfoliation, or chemical exfoliation.

These chemicals are mostly acidic in nature. Acidic basically means that the pH of these chemicals is less than 7. There are various kinds of acids that can be used on the skin and they all have varied benefits. They can also be used at varying strength to help with stronger or milder effects.

Indian woman getting a chemical peel in a skin clinic

Why do people use chemical peels? There are certain basic uses for which people use chemical peels of different kinds. Many of these peels are plant derivative acids. The various uses include:

Given that it has such utility, no wonder there is a trend to self-medicate with chemical peels and use them at home. Why would someone do that you ask? Its simple. It is without a doubt more convenient to do the treatment at home yourself. You save time and inconvenience on traveling to a clinic and you also save on money. The monetary saving comes from the fact that you are not visiting a clinic, not meeting a doctor and not getting the treatment done in a clinical setting.

Indian woman worried while performing chemical peel at home

Performing peels on yourself has its own advantage. However, the big question is whether the disadvantages outweigh the benefits.

The problems that arise from performing peels at home start with unlocking the full benefits of the peel. When you purchase a standard peel at home, you are using a fixed strength of peel as recommended on the label. You are missing out on the expert advice of a dermatologist who has performed hundreds of peels. A skin specialist would be able to guide you to the right peel for your concerns and vary the strength and concentration according to their assessment of requirements customized to your skin and concerns. This knowledge is completely missing when you do the peel at home. 

Another aspect missing at home is the potential for combinations. There are certain peels that can be combined and used sequentially to provide targeted results for specific concerns. 

Apart from this, the larger issue arises from the potential side effects of chemical peels. They are significant and must be taken care of. The various potential side effects include: 

  • -   PIH or post inflammatory hyperpigmentation: sometimes, the treatment itself may worsen the symptoms you are trying to treat. PIH is an example of that. A dermatologist can manage this risk which is tough to manage at home.
  • -   Chemical peels can lead to immediate issues such as redness, irritation and inflammation of the skin. It is best to have an experienced doctor around to help you in case such a situation does occur.
  • -   Certain peels must be completely avoided when you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Although labels of at-home products also mention these facts, the convenience involves the ability to miss such warnings!

Woman suffering from redness and flaking after chemical peel at home


In conclusion, the fact is that any treatment is convenient when performed at home, however some of them are best left to specialist supervision. In the case of chemical peels, the ideal approach may be to take your initial peels in a clinical setting. Later, you can top up on your treatments at home, after speaking to your dermatologist. 

To meet the dermatologists of Mumbai, such as the author of this article, you can you’re your appointment conveniently at SkinGenious.


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