Does a Chemical Peel Work to Remove Age Spots?

Author: Samantha Cook

A chemical peel DOES work to remove age spots.

More Info: Chemical peels are considered an effective treatment to greatly improve the appearance of pigmented skin including freckles, dark patches, and age spots. 

What Is a Chemical Peel? 

In the simplest terms, a chemical peel is a topical solution applied to the skin that burns away the uppermost layer of the skin exposing the fresher skin beneath. The procedure is also called chemexfoliation or chemabrasion. 

Chemical Peeling Types 

Peeling agents are categorized as superficial, medium, or deep. The peeling agent is chosen based on the level of damage and the desired results.

Alphahydroxy Peel: The gentlest chemical peel is applied using Alphahydroxy acids, commonly referred to as fruit acids. The Alphahydroxy peel removes surface layer skin cells and is beneficial for mild to moderate skin issues such as softening of fine lines or lightening skin pigmentation such as age spots. The recovery time is generally one day. Depending on the damage, several visits may be necessary for best results.

TCA Peel: Trichloracetic acid is most often used for a medium-depth peel.  The solution can be adjusted to provide for the degree of depth desired. The recovery time of a TCA peel will depend on the depth of the peel.  A surface peel will generally require two to three days recovery time, while a deep peel can require anywhere from one to two weeks.

Phenol Peel: The phenol peel produces the most dramatic effects but it also produces the most discomfort and a higher risk of complications. A phenol peel can take up to three to six months to fully heal.


Works Cited

National Cancer Institute
"Dictionary of Medical Terms “Chemical Peel”"

American Academy of Dermatology
"Chemical Peels"

University of Texas Medical Branch
"Chemical Peels"

Baylor College of Medicine
Facial Chemical Peels

Albany NY Plastic Surgery
TCA Chemical Peel

Atlanta Plastic Surgeons
TCA Peel

Expert Opinion 

Quote: "Deep chemical peels may have cardiac effects and should be performed only by a by trained physician."

Source: Dr. John Farella MD; FACS

Quote: "Other factors influence healing. Smoking is a significant deterrent to good healing. Those who smoke would have to accept the increased possibility of infection, thickened scars, etc."

Source: Donald J. Cupuano MD Plastic Surgeon

Quote: "The amount of improvement is individual and depends upon the initial condition of the patient's skin. Maximum improvement of damaged skin ranges from 75% to 85%, and, although 100% improvement is not possible, most patients view the results as dramatic. Some patients may require additional treatments to achieve the desired results."

Source: Marc J. Kayem M.D.; F.R.C.S.C

purple arrowCite this Article

"Does a Chemical Peel Work to Remove Age Spots?." Sophisticated Edge. N.p., n.d. Web. . <>.  

The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to treat or diagnose any health problems or illnesses without consulting a physician. It is not meant to take the place of health care or services you may need. Please consult a physician with any questions you may have regarding your health.

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