Chemical Peel



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Newport Beach plastic surgeon Dr. Joseph T. Cruise specializes in a variety of facial rejuvenation techniques, such as chemical peel, that give patients back natural, youthful skin and a glowing appearance. Many patients find that they suffer fine lines and wrinkles on the face and body that are not corrected  by BOTOX or other rejuvenation techniques, but that the chemical peel procedure gives them exactly the results they are looking for. Joseph T Cruise, MD believes that patients should have access to all the information they need to make the decision that is right for them, which is why he meets with each patient individually for a consultation, as well as provides many before and after chemical peel photos to allow patients to see real results his patients have enjoyed in the past.

Please see the below topics related to chemical peel:

Joseph T Cruise, MD explores some of the most frequently asked questions about chemical peel, and addresses patient concerns about the process and its effects. Please enjoy the information you find here, and bring any additional questions to your consultation at Cruise Plastic Surgery, in Orange County.

Overview of Chemical Peel

One of the best ways to refresh facial skin, especially skin suffering from sun damage, a chemical peel is a process of applying a chemical to the skin, which essentially destroys the top, less-healthy layers. As the patient’s skin heals it replaces lost collagen, making the skin thicker and healthier with a young, refreshed look. Chemical peel is a top choice for dramatically reducing age spots and skin discoloration, and has terrific results alone, or in conjunction with other facial rejuvenation procedures.

Trichloroacetic acid, or TCA, is a common, effective, trusted chemical used by thousands of top plastic surgeons around the country, including Joseph T Cruise, MD. In his years of experience, Joseph T Cruise, MD has found that TCA is superior to other chemicals such as phenol and fruit acids, in terms of producing satisfactory, long-lasting results for most patients. However, certain skin conditions may benefit from different chemicals used during the facial chemical peel. You should discuss all the particulars of your situation during your consultation with Joseph T Cruise, MD, in order to achieve the best facial rejuvenation results.

Any patient interested in a chemical peel should ensure that the surgeon who performs their procedure is board certified and qualified for the procedure – which Joseph T Cruise, MD is. Although this procedure can be highly effective, does not require general anesthesia, and is affordable, it does carry with it some risks, and should only be performed by trained, experienced professionals. Joseph T Cruise, MD has over a decade of experience with hundreds of patients throughout Orange County from his Newport Beach location, and believes in customizing each patient’s facial rejuvenation approach to suit that person’s needs and desired outcome. Discuss any of your concerns with him in your consultation.

Typically during the procedure, Joseph T Cruise, MD applies a chemical peel to the entire face at once, including the eyelids, forehead, cheeks, nose, mouth area, chin, and neck. Local anesthesia is often administered to make the patient as comfortable as possible, and minimize unpleasant effects of the procedure. Many patients are concerned when their facial skin becomes a thicker texture and appears burned, but in approximately 7 to 10 days the patient’s skin will begin to peel and reveal the healthy, rejuvenated skin below. As with any cosmetic surgery, Joseph T Cruise, MD works to minimize complications, and patients should be aware that this procedure does involve some minor, but unpleasant, effects during the healing process.

Once the new skin has emerged, the patient’s face retains a rosy glow for 1 to 2 months, depending on the depth of the chemical peel, but the positive results of younger, healthier skin can remain for much longer if the patient maintains taking care of their skin. For at least 6 months the patient should make sure to minimize sun exposure; it can cause hyper-pigmentation and irritation of the skin and reverse the effects of the facial rejuvenation.

The youthful, natural results of a chemical peel can last for 4 years. After a person turns 30, the procedure can be repeated after 4 years, but often patients won’t need to have another chemical peel for even longer. It is safe as part of a regular anti-aging protocol, and has become many patient’s “secret weapon” in fighting fine lines, wrinkles, and other signs of skin damage.

Joseph T Cruise, MD's Chemical Peel Philosophy

Facial rejuvenation, including chemical peel, specialist Dr Cruise

The chemical peel is a very effective tool on my belt when it comes to providing the best skin care for my patients. Because it is less likely to cause prolonged redness, it is often a better treatment choice than laser skin resurfacing. I feel so strongly about the merits of peeling that I even have a chemical peel every 4 years as part of my personal anti-aging protocol. By having this procedure performed regularly collagen in the dermis is forced to re-create itself the way it does when the skin is young. The chemical peel also enhances the blood supply to the dermis, which creates a healthy, glowing appearance.

The benefits of a chemical peel I discuss here apply to just about everyone. One ongoing result of chemical peeling is that you must be careful to stay out of the sun, which is a healthy habit to get into in general. This will require using sunscreens more often, as well as wearing hats, scarves, or other protective headwear. Your skin, however, will greatly benefit.

I encourage you to incorporate a regular chemical peel into your skin care management program. If you do not have a program in place, or would like to learn state-of-the-art skin care, I would love to discuss it with you, because skin care and anti-aging is as important, if not more so, then facial rejuvenation.

Someone considering chemical peeling must understand that in order to get the desired results, I may need to use chemicals that peel down to the deeper levels of their skin. This often leaves patients with burned, unhealthy, damaged-looking skin for about a week. Many patients choose to recover in private until their new skin emerges. However, the recovery process is not painful, despite how it looks.

In my practice, I find it extremely important to undergo a preparatory regimen of Retin-A and glycolic acid for at least 6 weeks prior to the chemical peel. Ideally, these supplements should become a part of your daily skin maintenance routine.

Proper skin care is the most cost effective, simplest way to keep your skin looking its best. I encourage you to consult me about your options. I will help you understand the truth about skin care that  the cosmetic industry purposely makes confusing in order to sell its products. You will be surprised at how easy and effective long-term, high-quality, effective skin care treatments can be.

Benefits of Chemical Peel

Patients of Cruise Plastic Surgery in Newport Beach, CA, have reported over the years that a chemical peel provides many beneficial results. These include:

  • Effective removal of age spots and skin discoloration
  • Long-term treatment for fine wrinkles and skin irregularities
  • Improvement of skin texture and youthful, glowing skin
  • Improvement of skin texture and acne scars in some patients
  • Useful in  facial rejuvenation, and rejuvenation of hands, arms, chest, and shoulders
  • It is an affordable, cost-effective procedure
  • Routine performed in-office under local anesthesia
  • The chemical peel can be controlled to obtain the desired results
  • Some light peels can be done without interrupting the patient’s schedule
  • Few risks and possible complications

Possible Chemical Peel Complications

In the hands of an experienced, professional, such as Orange County plastic surgeon Joseph T Cruise, MD, the risks of a chemical peel are very few. The most significant and one of the most common complications resulting from the procedure is scarring, which can be prevented by proper skin care treatment before the procedure, as well as precise control of the peel. Joseph T Cruise, MD approaches each patient’s facial rejuvenation so that the patient receives exactly the results that are right for their skin type. He has excellent results and one of the best histories of preventing scarring in chemical peel patients.

Some patients experience white, pimple-like bumps called “milia” on their skin after a chemical peel, as glands can become blocked by the newly formed skin. These are harmless, common, and typically clear up on their own. After the procedure, if the patient is exposed to the sun their skin may suffer hyper or hypo-pigmentation, or severe redness and discoloration. This also typically clears up on its own, but can be effectively treated as well if it doesn’t. However, the patient must make sure to avoid any additional sun exposure to give their skin the best chance to heal properly so they can enjoy lasting facial rejuvenation effects.

Patients with a history of facial herpes may have particular concerns associated with a facial chemical peel. The peel can sometimes trigger a reactivation of the herpes symptoms, which Joseph T Cruise, MD can address with a prescription of Valtrex. However, make sure you discuss your situation and concerns with him during your pre-surgery consultation.

Are You a Good Candidate?

People who benefit most from a chemical peel are those with sun damaged skin, including age spots, wrinkles, skin discoloration, or one of many other common complaints. If you are looking for a long-term solution to fine lines and other effects of aging, with minimal recovery time, and noticeable effects of glowing, healthier skin, then you may be a good candidate for a chemical peel. Speak with Joseph T Cruise, MD during your consultation if you have other concerns that can be addressed by alternate facial rejuvenation procedures.

People who have taken Accutane within the last 2 years should not undergo a chemical peel. This medication prevents the skin from healing adequately after the peel. Discuss any use of Accutane with Joseph T Cruise, MD to find out about your cosmetic surgery options that are not complicated by this medication.

Patients with a history of herpes should also discuss their history with Joseph T Cruise, MD. Sometimes, a chemical peel can cause a reactivation of the virus, so Joseph T Cruise, MD must be able to take precaution and prescribe patients medications to combat the herpes.

For anyone considering a chemical peel, it is important to avoid intense sun exposure for at least 6 months. Sun exposure can cause the skin to become highly irritated, darkened, or red and can prolong the healing process or reverse the effects of the peel. Joseph T Cruise, MD discusses how to avoid sun exposure with each patient, as well as recommends a daily skin care regimen that includes glycolic acid moisturizers and Retin-A.

Prior to the Chemical Peel

The procedure takes about 45 minutes.


  1. Inform Joseph T Cruise, MD of all medications you take
  2. Inform Joseph T Cruise, MD if you have ever taken Accutane
  3. Inform Joseph T Cruise, MD if you have ever had oral herpes
  4. Begin pre-treatment with OBAGI skin care line, Retin-A, and Hydroquinone 6 weeks prior to the procedure. A requirement for some patients, Joseph T Cruise, MD recommends this for all patients to yield optimal results and decrease the risk of hyper-pigmentation.
  5. Avoid sunbathing for 2 weeks prior to chemical peel procedure
  6. Arrange to have someone drive you to and from the procedure, if necessary
  7. Prepare for effects of the chemical peel to include facial redness and peeling for the first 7 to 10 days.


  1. Xanax – by prescription
  2. Bacitracin or Neosporin – drug store
  3. Hydroquinone – at our office.
  4. Hydrocortisone Cream 1% – drug store.
  5. Wide-brimmed hat to protect yourself from the sun on the way home. You might consider a shawl to cover your face. You will not want people to see your face.


  • Shower and clean your face aggressively with soap to remove facial oils. Do not apply any product such as moisturizers or make-up to your face.
  • Men should shave facial hair. Discuss the use of products such as shaving gels with Joseph T Cruise, MD at your consultation.
  • Do not bring any jewelry or valuables with you on the day of surgery.
  • Bring a hat and a shawl so you can cover your face before you leave.

Chemical Peel Anesthesia

The chemical peel procedure is typically performed under local anesthesia in the Orange County office. Normally, Joseph T Cruise, MD performs the procedure using a complete facial sensory block through local anesthesia in order to provide comfort for the patient during the procedure without the side effects of general anesthesia. If the chemical peel is a part of a facial rejuvenation process, it can be performed under general anesthesia to coincide with another procedure.

The procedure begins at check-in: you receive a portion of Emla cream to apply on your face to prepare it for local anesthetic. Joseph T Cruise, MD typically uses lidocaine, which is both common and strong enough to prevent you from feeling any discomfort during the procedure. Applying the chemical peel only takes a few minutes, and then you are given a fan to create a cooling sensation on your face.

After the Chemical Peel


  1. No bandages are necessary.
  2. Apply thin layer of Bacitracin to any peeled areas twice a day, or more if the peeled area becomes dry. After the peeling has stopped, you may stop using the Bacitracin.
  3. Do not scratch any peeling areas, as bleeding causes healing to take longer and may cause hyper-pigmentation
  4. Stay out of prolonged exposure to the sun for at least 6 months, and always use sun protection.
  5. Once skin has stopped peeling and is no longer irritated, you may resume your regular make-up routines
  6. Some patients experience uneven patches of redness that fades with time. Hydrocortisone helps clear up any redness.
  7. When peeling has finished, begin using Hydroquinone and continue using as instructed for the entire bottle. This is proven helpful at preventing hyper-pigmentation.
  8. After the first 10 days continue with the skin care regimen recommended by Joseph T Cruise, MD to maintain your chemical peel results.


  1. Your face will be purplish immediately following the procedure, and then will gradually turn brown and have a leathery texture. When the skin peels, the new skin underneath it will be pinkish.
  2. You might experience some swelling in your face, if so use hydrocortisone cream. Also use hydrocortisone to reduce itching and redness. Use Bacitracin if your face becomes dry, and do not scratch at peeling skin.


Post surgical complications are rare and Cruise Plastic Surgery can often solve them quickly with proper notification. Call a member of Joseph T Cruise, MD’s staff if you experience any of the following:

  • A temperature of 101 F or higher
  • Pain or severe discomfort in your face
  • Visible blistering or sores
  • Any other highly concerning, emergent symptoms


For the best results after your chemical peel, please attend all facial rejuvenation follow-up appointments. He and his staff are available to answer your questions, address your concerns, and provide you with the information you need during your recovery process.

Recovery from Chemical Peel

After the chemical peel you will experience some redness, dryness, and peeling on your face that can look unpleasant. However, you should not experience any significant discomfort. If you work from home you can likely return to work the next day, but if your position causes you to interact with others you may decide to remain home during your recovery period. Most patients new skin has emerged within 7 to 10 days after the procedure, and as an experienced Orange County plastic surgeon, Joseph T Cruise, MD usually recommends that patients delay returning to work until their new, healthy skin has emerged. During your consultation at his Newport Beach office, ask to see his before and after chemical peel pictures to see patients in different stages of the recovery process, and depictions of realistic results after healing has completed.

Cost of Chemical Peel

When some people pursue a chemical peel as part of their facial rejuvenation routine, they may wonder whether or not the procedure is affordable, or if it is worth the cost. Dr. Joseph T. Cruise, Newport Beach board certified plastic surgeon, has seen the benefits of chemical peel with hundreds of patients. He and all the staff at Cruise Plastic Surgery believe that cosmetic procedures such as chemical peel have positive results that are much more than skin-deep. Patients over the years have told us that not only has their chemical peel changed their look, but it has altered their outlook as well.

Quality vs. Value

When you are considering having a chemical peel you notice that different professionals have different prices for the chemical peel. What to also consider in addition to cost is the specialization of the person performing the procedure: surgeons with the best training, most experience, most developed techniques are the ones who produce the best results. If best way for you to judge whether or not the surgeon is the right one to perform your chemical peel, take a look at their before and after pictures. Pictures let you see what kind of results you can realistically expect after the procedure.

Joseph T Cruise, MD’s Approach

Chemical peel is the process of applying a layer of chemicals to remove the damaged upper layers of facial skin, in order to encourage healthier new skin to grow. This creates a youthful, rejuvenated color and texture to the facial skin that allows patients to present their best face to the world. As it can easily be done as a part of a larger facial rejuvenation routine, chemical peel is easily combined with other procedures, which can affect its cost.

On average, the total cost of chemical peel can vary between $800 and $2,500, depending on the size of the area to be peeled, the depth of the peel, the chemicals used, and other factors. Having other procedures performed at the same time as your chemical peel can affects its price as well. At your consultation you will receive a personalized cost estimate for your chemical peel that takes these factors into consideration.

Find out more about chemical peel financing options available through Cruise Plastic Surgery.  Contact us today for more information!