What is a Jessner Chemical Peel?

A Jessner chemical peel is a cosmetic procedure offered at medical spas that involves the application of a specialized chemical solution to the skin’s surface. This solution induces controlled damage to the outer layer of the skin, prompting the removal of dead or damaged cells and stimulating the growth of new skin cells. The result is improved skin texture, reduced imperfections, and a more youthful appearance.

Read on to unveil the magic of Jessner chemical peels and discover how this revolutionary treatment transforms your complexion, erasing imperfections and revealing a radiant glow, improved skin texture, reduced imperfections, and a more youthful appearance. Don’t miss out on the skincare secret that you need!


Chemical peels can target various skin concerns such as acne, fine lines, hyperpigmentation, and uneven skin tone. The specific formula used depends on individual skin needs and the desired outcome. This treatment is performed by trained professionals to enhance skin quality and promote a refreshed, revitalized complexion.

At AFYA Medical Spa we use two types of chemical peels – We use the Jessner Peel and the Jessner with Kojic Acid. A Jessner chemical peel is a popular cosmetic procedure used to improve the appearance of the skin. This type of chemical peel is named after the dermatologist Dr. Max Jessner, who introduced the formula in the early 20th century. It involves the application of a specialized solution to the skin, which causes controlled exfoliation and encourages the growth of new, healthier skin.

How Jessner Chemical Peels Work

Jessner chemical peels typically consist of a combination of three key ingredients: salicylic acid, lactic acid, and resorcinol. Each component plays a specific role in the exfoliation process:

Salicylic Acid: This beta-hydroxy acid is known for its ability to penetrate oil-filled pores, making it effective in treating acne and preventing future breakouts. It also helps to remove dead skin cells and promote a smoother complexion.

Another component of these peels is Lactic Acid: As an alpha-hydroxy acid, lactic acid exfoliates the skin’s outer layer, promoting cell turnover. It can improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation.

And last, but certainly not least, Resorcinol: This phenol derivative enhances the penetration of the other acids and has antiseptic properties. It is particularly effective in treating acne and promoting skin renewal.

When combined, these ingredients work synergistically to remove damaged skin cells, stimulate collagen production, and reveal a more youthful and vibrant complexion.

The Procedure

 1. Consultation

Before undergoing a Jessner chemical peel, it’s essential to have a consultation with a qualified skincare professional or dermatologist. During this consultation, your skin type, concerns, and medical history will be assessed to determine if you are a suitable candidate for the treatment.

 2. Preparing the Skin

To optimize the results and minimize potential complications, your skin will be prepared for the peel. This may involve discontinuing certain skincare products containing retinoids or exfoliating agents, or melanin suppressors in the days leading up to the treatment.

 3. Application of the Peel Solution

The chemical solution is applied to the cleansed skin in a controlled manner. The depth of penetration can be adjusted based on the specific skin concerns being addressed. The solution is left on the skin for a specified amount of time, allowing it to work its exfoliating magic.

 4. Neutralization

To get the best benefits from the peel, it is important to keep it dry and leave it on the skin for 12-24 hours.  After the desired time has passed, the peel has self neutralized to stop the chemical reaction on the skin.  

 5. Post-Treatment Care

Following the peel, the treated area may be red and sensitive. Your skincare professional will provide specific instructions for post-treatment care, including the use of gentle cleansers, moisturizers, and sun protection.

Benefits of Jessner Chemical Peels

 1. Improved Skin Texture

Chemical peels can significantly improve the texture of the skin by removing dead cells and promoting the growth of new, healthier skin.

 2. Reduced Hyperpigmentation

The exfoliating action of the peel helps fade hyperpigmentation, including sun spots, age spots, and melasma, leading to a more even skin tone.

 3. Acne Treatment

Salicylic acid in the Jessner peel is effective in treating acne by unclogging pores and preventing future breakouts.

 4. Minimized Fine Lines and Wrinkles

The peel stimulates collagen production, reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and promoting a more youthful complexion.

 5. Pore Size Reduction

Chemical peels can help minimize the appearance of enlarged pores, giving the skin a smoother and more refined look.

 6. Enhanced Product Absorption

By removing the outer layer of dead skin cells, Jessner peels enhance the absorption of skincare products, making them more effective.

Potential Risks and Side Effects of Jessner Chemical Peels

While Jessner chemical peels are generally safe when performed by trained professionals, there are potential risks and side effects to be aware of:

 1. Redness and Irritation

Immediately after the peel, the treated area may appear red and irritated. This is typically temporary and resolves within a few days.

 2. Peeling and Flaking

The treated skin may undergo peeling and flaking as part of the exfoliation process. This is a normal reaction and usually subsides within a week. 

It’s essential to note that the extent of peeling can vary depending on factors such as the type and strength of the peel, the individual’s skin type, and the specific skin concerns being addressed.

Not everyone peels either.  In some cases, the effects of a chemical peel may be more subtle, but the overall improvement in skin quality can still be significant.  The peeling process is just one aspect of how chemical peels work to rejuvenate the skin. 

 3. Sensitivity

The skin may be more sensitive following the peel, and exposure to sunlight should be minimized. Sun protection is crucial during the recovery period.  We strongly recommend keeping your skin covered and reapplying SPF 30 (minimum) every 2 hours. 

 4. Pigment Changes

In rare cases, there may be changes in skin pigmentation, including darkening or lightening of the skin. This risk is higher in individuals with darker skin tones.  For this reason, when we are treating darker skin tones we use Jessner with Kojic acid, or we may recommend pretreatment with melanocyte inhibitors to prevent pigment changes.

 5. Scarring

While uncommon, improper application or post-treatment care could lead to scarring. This risk is minimized when the procedure is performed by a skilled and experienced professional.

Aftercare and Recovery

Proper aftercare is essential to ensure optimal results and minimize the risk of complications. Your skincare professional will provide detailed instructions, which may include:

First, and most importantly, Sun Protection: Protecting your skin from the sun is crucial after a Jessner peel. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF (minimum 30), and avoid prolonged sun exposure.

Another integral part of recover is moisturization. Make sure to keep your skin well-hydrated with a gentle, non-comedogenic moisturizer to aid in the healing process. We recommend UniverSkin B Baume, and Vivier Lexxel.

 Because your skin is going to be extra sensitive during the healing process it is important to ensure that you are avoiding irritants. This means avoiding using harsh skincare products, such as retinoids or products containing alcohol, during the initial recovery period. Avoid these products and any products containing active ingredients. Make sure your skin has healed from the peel and is no longer flaking or peeling.

 And the hardest advice to follow – Patience! Your skin has been deeply exfoliated to reveal very fresh and new skin. Allow your skin time to heal and avoid picking or peeling the treated area, as this could lead to scarring or complications.

Who Is a Good Candidate?

These peels are suitable for a wide range of skin types and concerns. However, not everyone is an ideal candidate. You may be a good candidate if you:

– Have concerns such as acne, hyperpigmentation, fine lines, or uneven skin texture.

– Have a fair to medium skin tone.

– Are in good overall health and not pregnant or breastfeeding.


Jessner chemical peels are a popular and effective cosmetic treatment for improving skin texture, reducing hyperpigmentation, and addressing various skin concerns. When performed by a qualified professional and with proper aftercare, the risks are generally minimal, and the results can be significant. If you are considering a Jessner chemical peel, schedule a consultation with a skincare professional to discuss your specific needs, expectations, and any potential risks based on your skin type and medical history.