Chemical Peels

Chemical Peel

Chemical peels are a popular treatment option for people who want to improve the appearance of their skin without undergoing an invasive procedure. The aim of the treatment is to cause controlled destruction of the epidermis, and as a result, promote new skin growth, by stimulating your skin’s natural healing properties. This can help you achieve smoother, brighter and more youthful looking skin. In addition, your complexion may look more even-toned and radiant after treatment.

While this treatment is great for those looking to rejuvenate their skin, remove age spots, reduce pigmentation irregularities, soften fine lines and wrinkles, and reduce acne scarring, there are multiple types of chemical peels available, each with its own set of benefits and drawbacks. It’s important to select the right type of chemical peel for your skin type and condition.

What Are Chemical Peels?

A chemical peel is a skin-resurfacing procedure in which an acidic chemical solution is used to remove the top layers of skin. This can improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and pigmentation issues. It can also help to create a smooth and even skin tone. 

Chemical peels are usually classified as either superficial, medium, or deep based on the depth of skin that is removed. A superficial peel only removes the outermost layer of skin, while a medium peel removes the outer and middle layers. A deep peel removes all three layers of skin. 

How Do Chemical Peels Work?

Our skin usually has a pH level of around 5.5. Chemical peels work by raising the acidity of your skin to a pH level of around 3.8. Changing the pH level causes a loosening of the bond between healthy skin cells and damaged or dead skin.

The exact ingredients in the solution will vary depending on the desired results and depth of the peel. However, Pura Vida uses specialized ingredients to achieve natural-looking results, including a blend of alpha-hydroxy acids, beta-hydroxy acids, and retinol to exfoliate the skin and help speed up cell turnover. 

The solution is applied to the skin and left for a period before removal. The skin will usually peel for a few days after the treatment. This reveals brighter and healthier skin while rejuvenating both the tone and texture.

Types of chemical peels

Three Perfect 10 chemical peels are available at Pura Vida, each tailored for a specific goal. The right choice depends on what issue you hope to address and your skin tone or complexion. 

  • The Universal peel is the most superficial peel available at Pura Vida. It is a great option for first-time customers or those with sensitive skin and treats several conditions, including light wrinkles, pigmentation, and superficial acne scarring. 
  • Pura Vida’s Intermediate Peel is slightly deeper than the Universal Peel and is suitable for clients who have had previous chemical peel treatments. 
  • The Advanced Peel is deeper than Pura Vida’s Intermediate Peel. As a result, advanced chemical peels can be used to treat more severe skin concerns, such as extensive sun damage or deeply ingrained wrinkles. 

Chemical peel uses

Chemical peels treat various conditions on the face, neck, or hands. They can be used to:

  • Reduce fine lines and wrinkles caused by sun damage and aging
  • Treats blemishes, age spots, freckles, and dark patches (melasma)
  • Can improve certain types of acne
  • Reduce the appearance of mild scars, including acne scars
  • Revitalize dull skin to create a youthful-looking clarity

Why Choose Us for Chemical Peels

At Pura Vida, we understand that your skin is a unique and sensitive concern. That’s why our team of skilled aesthetic practitioners evaluates your individual needs, tailoring chemical peel treatments specifically for your skin type and goals and providing guidance throughout the entire process. 

Hailed as one of Howard County’s Top Medical Spas and Cosmetic Laser Centers, Pura Vida has received a wealth of industry recognition. Headed by Dr. Leslie Apgar, a qualified doctor and esteemed aesthetic practitioner, Pura Vida is dedicated to constantly developing its professional team by providing on-the-job training with the latest technology and research. 

Chemical Peels We Offer


Universal peels are perfect for those new to the world of microdermabrasion and exfoliation. The shallowest peel depth available at Pura Vida, it won’t irritate sensitive skin and only removes the outer layer. It treats fine wrinkles, acne, uneven skin tone, and dryness.  This peel is safe for all skin types and tones, including darker skin tones, has fewer side effects, and heals quicker than the deeper peels.

Hydra-Bright AHA Glow Peel

The Hydra-Bright AHA Glow Peel enhances skin luminosity and improves texture. Featuring Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) like glycolic and lactic acids, it exfoliates the skin surface, shedding dead cells and promoting new cell growth. This peel is effective for reducing fine lines, wrinkles, and mild hyperpigmentation, while hydrating and brightening the skin. For best results, 3-6 treatments are recommended, spaced every 3-4 weeks. The peel involves minimal to no redness, with light peeling lasting about 7 days.

Key Ingredients

  • Glycolic Acid: Exfoliates the outer layer of skin, helps improve hydration.
  • Lactic Acid: Enhances skin tone and texture, moisturizes the skin.
  • Vitamin C: Provides antioxidant protection and skin brightening effects.

Beta-Clarity AHA Clarifying Peel

Designed for oily and acne-prone skin, the Beta-Clarity AHA Clarifying Peel combines AHAs with Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs) like salicylic acid to deeply cleanse pores by removing excess oil and debris. This helps to decrease breakouts, enhance skin clarity, and reduce pore size. To achieve optimal clarity and skin balance, it is recommended to undergo 3-6 peels, scheduled every 3-4 weeks. The peel results in light peeling that persists for approximately 7 days, with minimal-to-no redness.

Key Ingredients

  • Salicylic Acid: Deeply cleanses pores, reduces sebum production.
  • Mandelic Acid: Targets acne, minimizes the appearance of pores.
  • Azelaic Acid: Improves brightness, targets pigmentation and blemishes.

Illuminize Peel®

The Illuminize Peel® is ideal for those new to chemical peels or those preferring a milder treatment. It uses a blend of peeling agents and botanical extracts to rejuvenate the skin with minimal irritation. This peel improves skin radiance and smoothness, reduces fine lines, and enhances overall skin tone. To maintain and enhance the skin’s youthful appearance, 3-6 sessions are recommended, with each session spaced 3-4 weeks apart. The peel involves minimal-to-no redness and light peeling that lasts around 7 days.

Key Ingredients

  • Phytic Acid: Mild exfoliant that brightens the complexion and minimizes mild discoloration.
  • Alpha-lipoic Acid: Provides anti-aging benefits and reduces inflammation.
  • Peeling Agents: Blend of mild acids that rejuvenate the skin with minimal irritation.

Vitalize Peel®

The Vitalize Peel® is designed to address various skin imperfections such as fine lines, wrinkles, and uneven skin tone. This peel is slightly stronger, suitable for all skin types, and focuses on deeper exfoliation to improve skin health and appearance. For comprehensive results, a series of 3-6 peels, administered every 3-4 weeks, is recommended. Similar to other peels, it causes light peeling which typically concludes within 7 days, with minimal-to-no associated redness.

Key Ingredients

  • Retinol: Enhances collagen production and accelerates cell turnover.
  • Resorcinol: Helps remove dead skin cells and excess oil.
  • Lactic Acid: Assists in skin smoothing and hydration.

Before and Afters

The recovery period after chemical treatments varies from patient to patient and which chemical peel was applied. For most people, the recovery time for a Universal Peel is one to two days, while the effects of Intermediate and Advanced Peels last slightly longer. Patients may experience redness and swelling after the procedure, which is to be expected. 

Most people see an immediate improvement in the appearance of their skin following the procedure. However, it can take a few weeks for the final results to show. 

You may also see a vast difference in your chemical peels before and after pictures. See below for some inspiration and just how well chemical peels work:

What to Expect During a Chemical Peel Treatment

Before your procedure, you will meet with Dr. Leslie Apgar and one of her highly skilled Aesthetic Nurse Practitioners. They will perform an in-depth medical assessment and a skin analysis using specialized 3-D technology. This technology thoroughly evaluates your skin, including any skin conditions at both the epidermal and dermal layers.  

Once it has been established that you are an ideal candidate for the chemical peel procedure, your treatment goals will be discussed. The team at Pura Vida will then present you with a detailed, personalized plan. Pre and post-treatment photos will also be taken to compare the progress of your chemical peel treatments.

The day of the treatment

Before applying the chemicals, your nurse will cleanse your skin using a gentle cleanser and pat it dry. A pad will then be used to ensure the skin is free of grease and prepare for the exfoliation process.    

Once the skin is spotless, the chemicals will be applied, and your skin will begin to whiten. You might feel a mild stinging sensation while the chemical solution is on your skin. 

The acid will then be neutralized using a basic solution, and a retinol booster will be applied. After a few minutes, your practitioner will remove the retinol booster using a soothing pad that stimulates and nourishes your skin.

Lastly, an antioxidant protection cream and high SPF sunscreen will be applied to protect your skin from the sun’s UV rays.

Recovery and aftercare

After a chemical peel of any depth, your skin will be red and tight. You must follow your doctor’s instructions for sun protection and cleansing of your skin. You will also need to apply moisturizing cream regularly and avoid picking at wounds/scratches caused by the chemical peel. 


Chemical peels in Maryland can cost anything from $150 to $1,000, depending on the type of peel you choose, provider experience, and the geographic location you choose to do the procedure.

The different types of peels are defined by how much they penetrate the skin, and shallower peels are usually less expensive than deeper peels. 

PuraVida Medical Spa offers a variety of skincare treatments to accompany and enhance the results of your chemical peels, providing comprehensive care for your skincare needs in the Fulton, MD and greater Baltimore Area.

  • Signature HydraFacial: This advanced treatment merges soothing and invigorating spa therapies with advanced medical technology to improve your skin health. The Signature HydraFacial uses super serums filled with antioxidants, peptides, and hyaluronic acid to cleanse, extract, and hydrate, complementing the deep exfoliation of a chemical peel.
  • Custom Facials: Our aesthetic experts, led by board-certified physician, Dr. Leslie Apgar, M.D., offer custom facials designed to target and address your specific skincare needs. Working synergistically with a chemical peel, a custom facial can deeply cleanse and hydrate your skin, promoting healing and enhancing your overall results.
  • Neurotoxins: Neurotoxin treatments, including popular brands like Botox and Dysport, are injectable medications used to reduce wrinkles and fine lines. By temporarily relaxing the facial muscles, these treatments smooth the skin and prevent further lines from forming, which is an excellent adjunct to the revitalizing effects of chemical peels.

Book Your Chemical Peel Consultation

You deserve to have the best skin care possible. So why not let our team of skilled aesthetic practitioners make that happen for you? We’ll work with your individual needs and desires, tailoring treatment plans that are just right. 

To learn more about chemical peels and whether they are the solution for your complexion goals, contact Pura Vida, Fulton, MD, today. 


Are chemical peels safe?

While chemical peels are generally considered safe, there is always a risk of side effects. The most common side effects include redness, swelling, blistering, and flaking or peeling of the treated skin. These side effects are usually minor and temporary. However, more serious side effects, such as infection and scarring, are possible with deeper peels. The staff at Pura Vida will perform a full medical and physical examination before administering a chemical peel to determine whether this is the right treatment for you. 

How long do chemical peels last?

The answer to this question depends on several factors, including the type of peel used and the individual’s skin type. Generally speaking, lighter peels will need to be repeated more frequently than deeper peels. A course of treatment with light peels may last for several months, while a course of treatment with deep peels may last for a year or longer. 

How frequently should you have a chemical peel?

Chemical peels are available in different strengths, and the frequency of treatment will vary depending on the strength of the peel. For example, a light chemical peel may be done every 4-6 weeks, while a deeper peel may only be done once every 6-12 months. Ultimately, the best way to determine how often you should have a chemical peel is to consult with the staff at Pura Vida.

Are chemical peels effective?

A Universal Peel will create subtle changes in the appearance of the skin that increases with repeated treatments. Deeper peels have more dramatic and lasting effects, creating a noticeably smoother appearance. 

When will you notice the results of a chemical peel?

Chemical peels are usually done in a series of three or six treatments, spaced about four weeks apart. The effects of a chemical peel will usually become apparent after the first treatment. However, the full effects of the treatment may not be visible until after the final treatment has been completed.

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