Phenol Chemical Peel

Phenol chemical peels are the strongest of the chemical peels available. Designed to remove deep wrinkles and scarring, phenol chemical peels contain carbolic acid and are therefore much more risky than most other chemical peel treatments.

Phenol chemical peel treatments require mild sedation and local anesthetic, and a full face phenol chemical peel takes one to two hours to complete, although treatment of smaller areas with phenol chemical peel can take as little as ten minutes. New skin forms within three weeks of the phenol chemical peel, and the skin will gradually fade to white over the following months. Results of phenol chemical peels can last for decades, and no special care is needed to maintain skin improvements from phenol chemical peels, unlike the regimens required after most other peel methods, although it is recommended that phenol chemical peel recipients use SPF 15 to protect the new skin.

Serious side effects are possible with phenol chemical peels, including scarring, permanent pigment discoloration and discomfort. For about two weeks following a phenol chemical peel, treated skin will be tight and red, and many patients feel uncomfortable in public. A phenol chemical peel often turns treated skin a ghostly white, and there will be a line from the phenol chemical peel, marking the pigment change between the treated and untreated areas. For this reason, phenol chemical peels are usually not recommended for patients with darker or heavily freckled skin.

More information on phenol chemical peels is available through plastic surgeons who use this treatment. Patients interested in receiving a phenol chemical peel should talk with a physician to determine if this course of treatment is appropriate.

Chemical Peel (Phenol and trichloroacetic acid [TCA])


Chemical peel uses a chemical solution of Phenol, trichloroacetic acid (TCA) and alphahydroxy acids (AHAs) to improve and smooth the texture of the facial skin by removing its damaged outer layers. Chemical Peel is helpful for those individuals with wrinkles, facial blemishes, and uneven skin pigmentation. The precise formula used may be adjusted to meet each patient's needs.


1 to 2 hours for full face.


None, sedation & EKG monitoring may be used.


Usually outpatient. Full-face phenol peel may require admission for 1 to 2 days.

Side Effects

Both: Temporary throbbing, tingling, swelling, redness.
Phenol: Permanent lightening of treated skin; acute sensitivity to sun permanent loss of ability to tan.


Both: scarring, tiny whiteheads (temporary); infection; flare-up of skin allergies, fever blisters, cold sores.
Phenol: Abnormal color changes (permanent); heart irregularities (rare).


Phenol: Formation of new skin: 7 to 21 days.
Normal activities: 2 to 4 weeks.
Full healing and fading of redness: 3 to 6 months
TCA: New skin within 5 to 10 days.

Duration of Results

Phenol: Permanent, Even though new wrinkles may form as skin ages.
TCA: Variable (temporary).


  1. Sounds great! Well the effects and side effects are both variable. So it is on the patient to decide on whether to take up Phenol peel treatment or not.

  2. Skin treatment is really a serious matter since a good skin complexion can really boost confidence. This is really a very interesting treatment for acne.


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