What Happens During a Jessner’s Peel?

So, what exactly is a Jessner’s Peel? Well, a Jessner’s Peel is a medium-strength “superficial” chemical peel that is commonly used to treat facial imperfections like: wrinkles, acne (blackheads and pimples), fine lines, laugh lines, pigmentation and damaged skin (i.e. aging and sun damage). This type of peel does not penetrate your skin as deeply as some of the other chemical peels. Although this peel is normally used on the face, it can also be used on the hands and chest. Moreover, this cosmetic procedure is normally performed in a dermatologist’s or plastic surgeon’s office, but a trained and experienced esthetician (skin care specialist) can also administer a Jessner’s Peel. If you are wondering whether or not you should schedule a Jessner’s Peel, you have come to the right place – this article explains what happens during this cosmetic procedure so you will know what to expect.

Prepping Stage

The first thing you will need to do, during the prepping stage, is apply Retin-A to the treatment area every night, two to three weeks before your appointment. Why Retin-A? Well, Retin-A unblocks your pores so that pimples rise to the surface of your skin. In fact, during the first couple of weeks, following treatment, your acne may actually worsen. Stay out of the sunlight because Retin-A contains harsh chemicals that can cause your skin to blister and burn. Furthermore, don’t forget your hat, sunglasses and sunscreen whenever you venture outside.


It is now time to have your procedure! Yay! Once you get to the doctor’s office, get checked in and follow the nurse back to the treatment area, the dermatologist or plastic surgeon will remove oils from your face with a glycolic cleanser. An oil-less face is needed to allow the Jessner’s Peel to penetrate your skin better. You will be given protective glasses before the procedure to protect your eyes from the solution. Once your face is nice and clean, your physician will apply gauze strips to the treatment area. These strips will be coated in salicylic, resorcinol and lactic acid – the three chemicals that make up the Jessner’s Peel solution.

The amount of layers applied depends largely on the severity of your skin damage. As the coated gauze is applied to your face, you may experience a mild burning sensation. Do not fret because that is normal. If the burning and/or stinging sensations become unbearable, your dermatologist or plastic surgeon may place a mini fan next to your face to keep it cool during the treatment. At the end, it will take your physician approximately 10 to 15 minutes to neutralize the peel with water and remove it from your face. A calming mask may be applied to your face to reduce any facial discomfort. The procedure will then be complete.

Aftercare Procedures

Now that you have successfully completed your first Jessner’s Peel, you are ready to reap the benefits! But, first you must take care of your skin, following the procedure. Stay out of the sunlight for approximately two weeks. Wash your face with a gentle cleansing milk or vitamin cleanser, but refrain from washing your face for an hour after the treatment.  In addition, apply a thin layer of lotion to your face for at least a week after the treatment. Try a gentle, moisturizer like Aquaphor and if you have to venture outside – put on sunscreen.

It is important to note that your skin will peel and flake for approximately a week, following the treatment. You will also notice that pink and/or beige skin will emerge once the old skin has peeled off. Do not, under any circumstances, pick at your peeling skin. If you do, you will increase your risk of infection and permanent scarring. Moreover, do not scrub, exfoliate or apply make-up until the peeling has stopped. Two weeks after the procedure, start using Retin-A again. Around that time, you should start to notice a positive change in your skin texture, tone and appearance.


If you are considering additional Jessner’s Peels – wait at least 4 weeks before scheduling your next appointment. Your skin will need time to properly heal from the first peel. It is important to note that you skin will become lighter, smoother, healthier and more youthful with each subsequent treatment.


Jessner Solution. (2013). Jessner’s: Your source for everything about Jessner’s solution.     Retrieved from http://www.jessners.com/

Real Self. (2011). What should I expect after a Jessner’s Peel? Retrieved from             http://www.realself.com/question/what-should-expect-after-jessners-peel


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