Chemical Peels: What You Need to Know

Chemical Peel Cost

If the side effects associated with chemical peels don't scare you, the cost just might. They can range anywhere from $150 to $6,000 or more per treatment [source: Doc Shop]. Let's break it down on a peel-by-peel basis, starting with glycolic acid peels.

When it comes to the most popular of the AHA peels, many physicians charge in the range of $100 to $300 for a glycolic acid peel [source: Doc Shop]. However, you should keep in mind that multiple peels are often required to achieve the desired result. Let's say it takes three peels to get your skin looking young and fresh. If each of those peels costs you $225, you'll end up spending $675. Other AHA peels, such as lactic acid and citric acid peels, are similar in price.

As a rule of thumb, the deeper the peel, the higher the cost, and the jump from a mild peel to a medium peel, such as trichloroacetic acid, is a big one. At the very least it could cost you about $1,000, but some doctors say it's more likely to be closer to $2,000 for your entire face [source: Loftus]. If you think that's expensive, grab your seat because the cost of phenol peels, also commonly referred to as deep peels, can range from $2,000 to $6,000, and in some cases even more [source: Doc Shop].

The prices of a chemical peel vary based on factors such as your geographic location and the extent of your treatment. It is possible to get a chemical peel on only a specific area instead of the entire face. People often target areas with more wrinkles, such as the corners of their mouth and those little crow's feet around their eyes.

If you've got the money and the time to recover, a chemical peel could leave you looking years younger. Read on to find out lots more information about chemical peels.

Related HowStuffWorks Articles


  • American Academy of Dermatologists. "Chemical Peeling: What to Expect Before, During, and After." (accessed 08/13/2009)
  • American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. "Chemical Skin Peel: Deep (Phenol) Peel." (accessed 08/13/2009)
  • American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. "Cosmetic Surgery National Data Bank Statistics 2008." (accessed 08/13/2009)
  • American Society of Plastic Surgeons. "Chemical Peel." (accessed 07/29/2009)
  • Bernstein, Dr. Eric F. "Alpha Hydroxy Acid Peels." The Patient's Guide. (accessed 07/31/2009)
  • Coca-Cola Company. "Products and Packaging Myths and Rumors." (accessed 08/14/2009)
  • Doc Shop. "Chemical Peels." (accessed 07/30/2009)
  • Hilinski, John M., M.D.; Don R. Revis Jr., M.D.; and Michael Brent Seagler, M.D. "Skin Resurfacing: Chemical Peels." eMedicine. Aug. 7, 2008. (accessed 07/29/2009)
  • Ireland, Cordyon. "Skin Biology Illuminates How Sten Cells Operate." Harvard News Office. March 24, 2009. (accessed 08/12/2009)
  • Levine, Norman M.D. "Cosmetic Procedures: Chemical Peel Treatments." Web MD. Mar. 01, 2007. (accessed 07/29/2009)
  • Loftus, Dr. Jean. "Phenol Peels." Info Plastic Surgery. (accessed 07/31/2009)
  • Noel Coward's Tonight at 8:30. "Fun Facts." (accessed 07/30/2009)
  • Mayo Clinic Staff. "Genital Warts." (accessed 08/14/2009)
  • Pollick, Michael. "What is Glycolic Acid?" Wise Geek. July 22, 2009. (accessed 07/30/2009)
  • Vogin, Gary D., M.D., editor. "Skin Conditions: Understanding Your Skin." (accessed 08/14/2009)