The Science of Chemical Peels: Renewing Your Skin in Ottawa

a client receiving a chemical peel

The art of chemical peels is an age-old practice that has been refined by modern science. These treatments offer an effective way to transform your skin, unveiling a more youthful, radiant you. As a resident of Ottawa, you know the desire to keep your face feeling fresh through all seasons of the year—from the hot summers to cold winters. But you may be wondering: How do chemical peels work? What do chemical peels do?

In this article, we’ll explore the science behind the chemical peel process and some of the benefits so you can revive your skin’s appearance right here in the Capital.

What is a Chemical Peel?

A chemical peel is a specialized skincare treatment designed to enhance the texture and appearance of the skin through controlled chemical exfoliation. This transformative procedure involves the application of a chemical solution to the skin’s surface, which removes damaged or aged outer layers. The result is a refreshed, more youthful complexion with a natural glow.

There are different levels of chemical peels, each catering to specific needs and concerns:

  • Superficial Peels: These are the mildest and target the outermost layer of the skin. They are often used to treat minor skin imperfections like fine lines, mild discolouration, and acne scars. Superficial peels typically involve alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) or beta hydroxy acids (BHAs).
  • Medium Peels: Medium peels penetrate deeper into the skin, addressing moderate wrinkles, sun damage, and age spots. They usually employ trichloroacetic acid (TCA) to provide more noticeable results than superficial peels.
  • Deep Peels: Reserved for more significant skin issues, deep peels can combat severe wrinkles, deep scars, and extensive sun damage. These peels use phenol or high-concentration TCA and require longer recovery periods due to their deeper penetration.

Keep in mind that the deeper the peel, the more risks associated. Many cosmetic clinics, like Concept Medical, only offer chemical peels at the superficial level for this reason.

The Science Behind Chemical Peels

Chemical peels are grounded in science, leveraging our skin’s natural processes to reveal a fresher complexion. The main aspects of this treatment are exfoliation, collagen production, and cell turnover.


At the core of a chemical peel’s effectiveness is the exfoliation. When the chosen chemical solution is applied to the skin, it penetrates the outermost layers, dissolving the bonds that hold dead and damaged skin cells together. As these bonds break, the old skin peels away to make way for smoother skin.

Stimulating Collagen and Cell Turnover

As exfoliation occurs, it simultaneously triggers collagen production and cell turnover. Collagen, the structural protein responsible for skin firmness and elasticity, tends to decrease with age. Chemical peels kickstart this collagen production as part of the skin’s healing response. Exfoliation also accelerates cell turnover—shedding old skin and new cell replenishment. 

These processes work hand-in-hand to bring out healthier-looking skin.

How Different Acids Work

Depending on your desired results, chemical peels can contain different types of acids. Each solution has unique benefits. For example:

  • Glycolic Acid: Derived from sugar cane, glycolic acid is a popular choice for superficial peels. It effectively removes dead skin cells, brightens the complexion, and treats mild discolouration.
  • Salicylic Acid: Known for its prowess in combating acne, salicylic acid penetrates deep into the pores, helping clear out debris, reduce inflammation, and prevent breakouts.
  • Trichloroacetic Acid (TCA): TCA peels are versatile, ranging from medium to deep penetration. They can target wrinkles, sun damage, and significant pigment issues.

The Benefits of Chemical Peels

Chemical peels offer many benefits, making them a compelling choice for those seeking skin renewal in Ottawa. From refining skin texture to addressing specific concerns, here are some of the remarkable advantages of including this treatment in your skincare regimen:

  • Improved Skin Texture and Tone: As discussed, chemical peels remove the outer layer of damaged skin cells. This encourages cell turnover and collagen production, creating a more even skin texture.
  • Reduction of Fine Lines and Wrinkles: Chemical peels can target wrinkles and fine lines by encouraging skin renewal and collagen synthesis.
  • Treatment of Acne and Acne Scars: Salicylic acid-based peels are particularly effective at treating acne, preventing breakouts, unclogging pores, and fading the appearance of acne scars.
  • Hyperpigmentation Correction: Exfoliation from chemical peels can target pigmented areas, gradually reduce their appearance, and promote a more even tone.
  • Sun Damage Reversal: Overexposure to the sun can lead to damage, such as sunspots and uneven skin tone. Chemical peels can reverse these effects by removing the compromised skin cells and increasing collagen production.

Woman with glowing and radiant skin.

Customizing Chemical Peels for Ottawa’s Climate

As an Ottawa resident, you know that the Capital’s climate is characterized by dramatic seasonal shifts from harsh winters to humid summers. These changing conditions have a unique influence on your skin’s health.

Cold, dry winters can leave skin parched and sensitive, while warm, humid summers may lead to increased oil production and the risk of breakouts. In either case, aesthetic clinics offer chemical peel options to suit these seasonal needs. For example:

  • In the winter, gentler peels with hydrating properties are favoured to combat dryness and soothe irritated skin.
  • In the summer, oil-controlling peels help prevent clogged pores and treat breakouts.

At Concept Medical, we have the knowledge and expertise to adapt chemical peel formulations to your skin’s response to climate conditions so you can experience the full benefits of these treatments year-round.

The Treatment Process: What to Expect

For your best interest, safety, and optimal results, your chemical peel treatment will typically follow this process:

  • Consultation and Skin Assessment: Your journey begins with a comprehensive consultation with a skincare professional. They will assess your skin type, concerns, and goals to determine your eligibility and the most suitable peel type.
  • Pre-Treatment Instructions: Before the peel, you may receive specific instructions, such as discontinuing certain skincare products or medications to prepare your skin for the treatment.
  • The Peel Application: The chosen chemical solution is applied to your skin. You may experience a tingling sensation, which is typically well-tolerated.
  • Post-Treatment Care and Recovery: Following the peel, your skin will require special care. You may need to use gentle cleansers, avoid sun exposure, and apply moisturizers or soothing creams.

Who is a Good Candidate for Chemical Peels?

Ideal candidates for chemical peels are those who have concerns like:

  • Fine lines
  • Uneven skin tone
  • Acne
  • Sun damage

Generally, chemical peels are not recommended if you have severe skin conditions, like eczema or psoriasis, take certain medications, or have active skin infections.

Potential Side Effects and Risks

While chemical peels are generally safe, they may entail some side effects and risks. These can include:

  • Temporary redness
  • Peeling
  • Increased sensitivity

To minimize risks, always choose a reputable cosmetic clinic, follow post-treatment instructions diligently, and discuss any concerns with your provider.

Choosing the Right Aesthetic Clinic

Selecting the right cosmetic clinic in Ottawa for your chemical peel treatment is crucial for a safe and satisfying experience. Look for clinics with experienced, trained professionals and positive reviews. Reputable clinics should prioritize cleanliness, safety, customizable treatments, and offer comprehensive consultations. 

Taking the Next Step Towards Flawless Skin

Chemical peels are an effective option for skin renewal, backed by science. These treatments, tailored to Ottawa’s unique climate and seasons, provide a versatile solution for a range of skin concerns, like uneven skin texture, fine lines, acne, and sun damage.

Ready to embark on your rejuvenation journey? At Concept Medical, our physicians have the expertise to recommend the right chemical peel treatment for your unique needs. Schedule a consultation with us in Ottawa today—your radiant skin awaits!

Get started

Book your Consultation Today

Your patient journey is unique and begins with an in-depth consultation.

Book Consultation

Are you a current patient?(Required)