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Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) Chemical Peels

AHA peels are a cost-effective way of maintaining results from laser rejuvenation procedures. They can improve skin texture and quality by reducing pigmentation and sun damage. AHA peels can also reduce fine lines, wrinkles and pore sizing. These peels have no downtime.

Key Points

  • AHA peels include glycolic, lactic, citric and mandelic acids
  • This family of peels are not associated with any downtime
  • AHA peels are best for maintaining results from laser procedure
  • They are also employed to treat pigmentation, age spots and sunspots
  • A series of 4-6 peels are conducted every 2-3 weeks
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Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) Chemical Peels at a glance

For: Pigmentation, sun damage, pores
Procedure time: 10-20 minutes
Duration of results: Months
Back to work: 4-6 sessions
Recovery: Immediate
Anaesthetic: Nil
Your specialist: Nurse, therapist
How much: $

Our results speak for themselves


What can chemical peels do for my skin?

Exfoliation properties: improves pigmentation, skin texture and skin quality. Skin looks brighter and feels smoother. 



Collagen stimulator: in concentrations exceeding 50%, AHAs are effective stimulants of collagen. This reduces fine lines, wrinkles, scars and enlarged pores.



Glycolic acid is a strong AHA and is better for sun damaged skin, open pores and scars. 

Lactic acid is gentler and more hydrating for the skin so it’s better for dry skin types, aging, wrinkles and brightening.

When will I see results?

Skin brightening can be seen within 1-3 weeks; however, it does take 2-4 months to see the benefit of collagen stimulation and dermal remodelling. The wrinkle erasing properties of AHAs are best seen in concentrations above 35-50%.

How do I know if peeling is the best option for my skin?

Our experienced nurses at Cutis Dermatology can guide you through the best skin rejuvenation procedures. We have over a dozen types of peels and over 35 lasers and energy devices, hence will prescribe a bespoke rejuvenation program based upon your goals. 

The best way to see if a peel will address your concerns is to visit our Brisbane clinics. Our specialist nurses can examine your skin and discuss a treatment plan. Book a FREE* consultation to see what peels can do for you.

*Consult fee goes to skin procedures. 

How much are chemical peels?

Peels start at $120. This includes AHA, BHA, retinoic acid and modified Jessner peels.

Are chemical peels painful?

Higher concentrations can sting, but it is not uncomfortably painful. You should feel slight tingling or heat. This typically lasts no more than 3 to 6 minutes. We then neutralize the solution, bringing skin back to normal. 

What peel is best for hyperpigmentation?

Cosmelan or Dermamelan peels are best for pigmentation, including melasma. 

Though we love chemical peels, lasers are more effective than peels. Pico lasers are more efficient and safer. 

Learn more (link to Cosmelan peel in this section)

What peel is best for wrinkles?

Jessner or Jessner TCA peels are best for wrinkles. The latter is classified as a medium to deep peel with a recovery time of 7 to 10 days. 


This peel is performed by a dermatologist under conscious sedation. TCA can treat deep pigmentation, severe wrinkles, extensive sun damage and scarring. Only one peel is required. 

Learn more (link to Jessner TCA in this section) 


Medik8 Physical Sunscreen SPF50+

Dermaceutic All Things Pigment 21 Day Kit

Lunchtime peels such as lactic or glycolic acid can improve skin quality & tone. Peels reduce pigment, sun damage as well as fine wrinkles. These peels have no downtime, however will require a series of 3 to 6 sessions for best results.

What peel is best for acne?

Salicylic acid or beta hydroxy acid peels are best for acne and acne prone skin. Salicylic acid is anti-inflammatory and penetrates oil skin better than AHA peels. 



Retinoic acid peels are best for acne and acne scarring, whilst TCA peels are best for deeper scars. 

How long is the recovery period?

AHA peels have the shortest recovery time – hence the term lunchtime peels. 

Redness typically subsides within an hour or three post peel.

Can I have chemical peels if I have rosacea/sensitive skin?

Mandelic acid is a special AHA peel that is less irritating. We occasionally use it for patients with sensitive skin including rosacea. 


Pico and vascular lasers are much better and safer for rosacea prone patients. Lasers reduce redness whilst providing skin rejuvenation. 

What is the difference between AHAs in skin care and our AHA peels?

Power. Lot of it. Home skincare peels differ as they are lower concentration, typically 5 to 10%. They have a much higher pH. 

Specialist peels go up to 70% glycolic acid in a lower pH solution. These require precise neutralization as they are unbuffered or minimally buffered

What is the next step up from AHA peels?

Step up treatments from AHA peels include-


  • Higher strength Jessner peels (AHA + salicylic acid + resorcinol), low strength TCA peels. 
  • Lasers including pico and fractional lasers.



Cutis Dermatology has over a dozen peels and 35 lasers and energy devices. The optimal treatment will depend on your goals and skin type. Book a consultation with our nurses to discuss treatment options. 

What are the side effects of AHA peels?

Performed by trained clinicals, AHA peels are safe. Side effects though rare, include:



  • Blistering
  • Post peel redness 
  • Post peel pigmentation
  • Scarring
  • Infection
  • Delayed healing, blotchy skin



AHA peels should not be performed on inflammatory rosacea or sensitive skin. There are far better options. 

What should you consider before undertaking chemical peels?

There is no one peel fits all, and hence you should carefully consider: 



Your goals: We employ over a dozen peeling agents and techniques. AHA peels are best for skin rejuvenation maintenance. There may be better peel options. 



Your skin type: You must sun protect pre and post peel. If you receive a lot of UV, peels may not be the best option.



Number of treatments: Will vary depending on the peeling agent. AHA peels require multiple sessions, TCA peels require only one, at the expense of downtime and costs.  



Your skin’s history: If you have sensitive skin or rosacea, don’t opt for a peel. Lasers are far better and safer.

Need more information?

Book a consultation with our laser nurses at our Brisbane clinics. They will examine your skin, understand your goals and concerns and provide a clear program to meet your expectations.


Superficial peels are performed by nurses. 

Deep peels are performed by dermatologists in an operating theatre.

Ask us more about this treatment

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