How to Choose the Right Cosmetic Peel for You

cosmetic peel options

There are various cosmetic peels you can get depending on your skin type and what you’re looking to achieve with treatment. Our Vitalogy Skincare Aestheticians Laini Moman and Kelly Pillard share some details here with you on what cosmetic peel you may want to consider, from lightest to deepest:

Lactic and Mandelic Chemical Peels

These cosmetic peels are great for giving a glow when used alone or adding on to facial treatments like microdermabrasion and dermaplaning to enhance exfoliation. Some patients may feel a slight tingle, but it subsides quickly. 

Pros to this Cosmetic Peel:

No downtime. Great for first timers who are apprehensive about chemical peels or before any events. Lactic is great for drier patients, mandelic is for rosacea or acne. 

Cons to this Peel:

Someone looking for more dramatic results may not see desired results as this is a very superficial cosmetic peel.

Glycolic and Salicylic Chemical Peels

These peels are also great for first time users. Depending on how much exfoliating the patient is currently doing or how thick their stratum corneum (upper most layer of skin containing dead skin cells) is, some patients may experience some slight flaking that lasts for 2-4 days. 


Glycolic acid is great for light resurfacing, enhancing your skin’s glow, and promoting cell turnover for fine line maintenance. Salicylic acid is great for acne and oily skin. 


Patients may experience a slight sting while this cosmetic peel is on and may have post-peel flaking.

Sensi Peels

This is a chemical peel designed for the most sensitive skin, including rosacea. Flaking with this peel lasts 4-6 days. 


This peel addresses pores, texture, and redness. It can also sometimes be enhanced with a retinol booster.


It’s still a chemical peel and though gentle, some patients experience some discomfort during the peeling process.

Retinol Chemical Peels

This is a quick treatment, but peeling can last for 4-6 days. Also, for patients treating melasma, pre-treating with homecare is required.


Great for pores, texture, fine lines, and with partnered with Arbutase addresses pigmentation and melasma (multiple treatments recommended. Very little to no tingling. 


Patients leave with this chemical peel on, so they stay indoors for the rest of the day. Most patients experience redness and a feeling of warmth like a sunburn the following day. Some patients with retinol or Vitamin A sensitivity may experience swelling and discomfort. 

Jessner’s Peel

A Jessner’s Peel is a mid-depth peel that treats acne, oily skin, and aging skin. Afterwards, flaking and peeling can last 5-7 days. 


It’s great for patients wanting to see changes is their skin, but only have a week off from work or school. It can be done as touch up or maintenance or as a series for more serious concerns. 


It has a very spicy feeling when applied, with sensation continuing afterwards. Any patients sensitive to salicylic acid should avoid this peel.

TCA Peel

The TCA Peel is one of the most aggressive chemical peels Vitalogy Skincare offers patients but it offers dramatic results.


It treats aging, lines, texture, pores, scarring, promotes collagen and cell turnover. This treatment can be customized to vary by depth. It can also be paired with a Jessner’s Peel. Use alone as a touch up or maintenance or do a series for more intense results. 


It’s a spicy peel when applied. Also, there is often intense peeling and the patient’s skin may become dark in areas as dead skin is preparing to come off. Downtime is 7+ days. It’s not recommended for slow healing patients.

Melanage Peel

The Melanage Peel is an aggressive chemical peel.


It targets melasma. Also, your Provider will share home care steps in order to continue the skin lightening. 


Patients may experience redness and sensitivity for up to a month after this peel. Patients with  dry skin may also experience more sensitivity than oily skin patients. This is not a permanent solution for melasma and most patients need to have this peel once a year to maintain results. It  is not recommended for slow healing patients.

Laser Peels

These customized peels can adjust by depth depending on the skin’s damage. Skin does need to be prepped prior to the peel. 


Laser peels can address texture, wrinkles, scars, sun damage, and aging. 


These peels are not recommended for slow healing patients, patients with melasma, or patients with darker skin tones.

4 Expert Tips When Getting a Cosmetic Peel

Here are four things Kelly Pillard, Vitalogy Skincare Aesthetician, wants patients to know before getting a chemical peel:

1. Plan ahead.

Don’t do a peel for the first time before any important event until you know how your skin will respond. Plan ahead and do a test run at least a month prior.

2. Wait until summer is over (or make sure to stay indoors).

Unless you are going to remain indoors, peels are not advised to do in summer months. When skin is exposed to sun post chemical peel it has a higher risk of burning and creating more damage to the skin.

3. Take precautions if you have melasma.

Patients that have a history of melasma will need to prep with melanin inhibitors prior to mid or deep cosmetic peels. It is also advisable to stay away from heat, as this can trigger melasma especially if undergoing chemical peel treatments.

4. Prep at home for a mid or deep level cosmetic peel.

For patients considering a mid-deep level cosmetic peel, we recommend prepping your skin with a customized home care treatment. Your skin will respond and heal better when it is at its healthiest. (There are also some products to use after your chemical peels. Your Aesthetician or Provider will share all the details with you before you head home.)

Make an appointment today to discuss your skin and chemical peels with an experienced skin care Provider.