Phenol Peel Overview

A phenol peel is a type of chemical peel used as a skin resurfacing technique. A phenol solution is applied to the face to remove the outer surface layers of skin. A phenol peel is a deeper peel that allows new, healthier skin to emerge. It may be used for really rough, sun-damaged skin or sometimes as a precancerous skin treatment.

  • A phenol peel is sometimes recommended for treating particularly rough and sun-damaged facial skin. Phenol is effective in reducing the appearance of wrinkles ranging from fine lines to deeper creases.
  • It can correct pigment problems including blotchiness or age-related brown spots and may be used in the treatment of precancerous skin conditions.
  • Since a phenol peel is a deeper peel, results can last for months to years.
  • Phenol is particularly useful for minimizing the vertical lines that often form around the mouth as a result of aging. The disadvantage of phenol for spot peeling of limited areas is that it often has a significant bleaching effect. 
  • After your skin has been treated with phenol, you may need to wear makeup in order for the treated portions of your skin to more closely match the skin color of the surrounding areas. 
  • Unlike TCA peels, phenol cannot be used on your neck or other parts of your body. Certain variations in the phenol peel formula, creating a "buffered" or milder solution, may allow for greater flexibility in its use.
  • A full-face deep chemical peel takes 1 to 2 hours to perform. A more limited procedure (such as treatment of wrinkling above the lip) will generally take less than a half-hour. A solution is applied to the area to be treated (avoiding the eyes, brows and lips). 

Who should consider a phenol peel?

Any of the following conditions may indicate that you might be a good candidate for a phenol peel. Phenol skin peel for even skin tone
  • wrinkled or sun-damaged facial skin
  • vertical wrinkles around your mouth, such as those that cause lipstick "bleed"
  • "crow's feet" lines around your eyes and perhaps some skin laxity in your lower eyelid area
  • fine wrinkling of your upper eyelids
  • brown spots or blotchy skin coloring
  • certain precancerous skin growths
  • acne or chicken pox scars
  • superficial facial scars from a past injury

Phenol peel side effects

The subject of risks and potential complications of surgery is best discussed on a personal basis between you and your surgeon, or with a staff member in your surgeon's office. Skin resurfacing procedures are generally safe when performed by an experienced board-certified plastic surgeon.
Potential risks include:
  • infection
  • abnormal healing
  • allergic reactions
  • if prone to herpes, possible eruption
  • raised or thickened scarring
  • unanticipated skin color changes or skin blotchiness

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