Wednesday, 24 April 2019 06:42

Chemical Solutions: A Peel for Every Body

Written by   Brittany Facio, L.C.I., L.C.

Signs of aging, hyperpigmentation, and acne can appear all over the body, including the back, neck, shoulders, and chest. Though primarily thought of as a face treatment, chemical peels can be a great solution for these areas, as well. Armed with an understanding of the various chemical peel categories, prime marketing strategies, and tips for effective pricing, skin care professionals can incorporate chemical peel body treatments into their spa menus with ease.

The skin care clients of today are more product knowledge savvy than ever before. Many of them know what types of peels and treatments are available to them, as well as the benefits of receiving regular professional exfoliation services. It is important to know how to market these procedures to not only nurture a business, but also attract the right following. To ensure professionals are incorporating these services into their spa appropriately, special care must be taken in regards to pricing, education, and promotions. Providing these result-bearing services is mutually beneficial for the professional, as well as the client; it enhances the professional’s success and, in turn, delivers stellar outcomes. Chemical peels have come a long way in recent years and they are not just for the face anymore. The skin care clients of today are more product knowledge savvy than ever before. Many of them know what types of peels and treatments are available to them, as well as the benefits of receiving regular professional exfoliation services. It is important to know how to market these procedures to not only nurture a business, but also attract the right following. To ensure professionals are incorporating these services into their spa appropriately, special care must be taken in regards to pricing, education, and promotions. Providing these result-bearing services is mutually beneficial for the professional, as well as the client; it enhances the professional’s success and, in turn, delivers stellar outcomes. Chemical peels have come a long way in recent years and they are not just for the face anymore. 

For decades, chemical peels have been used as a means for improving the signs of aging, controlling acne, and lightening hyperpigmentation, including that of the body, by removing damage to the outer layers of the skin. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons says, “although chemical peels are used mostly on the face, they can also be used to improve the skin on your neck and hands.” Aging does not just occur on the face and acne is not isolated to the cheeks or t-zone. These conditions, along with hyperpigmentation, can occur virtually anywhere on the body. Often, conditions seen on the face, much like the ones listed, can also be seen on the body and tend to be exacerbated by lack of care over time. Hyperpigmentation and acne are prime examples; an individual typically takes great care to protect their face from these conditions but will neglect the neck, chest, and back, regardless of the fact that the same condition may be present in those areas. A client seeking care for their face in the form of a chemical peel is very much asking for help for other areas of their body, as well. A simple scan of the décolleté, shoulders, and hands during a treatment can start a wonderful conversation about additional services. Utilizing the appropriate chemical peel solution to target these conditions can broaden a professional’s practical scope and positively influence the impact they make on a chosen demographic. This will foster trust and build loyalty between the professional and client. Ingredient knowledge and understanding skin solution science will propel business forward and allow any service menu to thrive.

To be effective in treating all types and conditions of skin on the body, professionals must first truly understand chemical peel solution categories and the depths to which they penetrate the skin. The University of Wisconsin explains, “there are several types of chemical peels ranging in strength from mildly superficial to deeply resurfacing; alpha hydroxy acid peels, beta hydroxy acid peels, Jessners’ peels, retinoic acid peels, trichloroacetic acid peels (TCA), and phenol peels.” The common alpha hydroxy acids include glycolic, which is derived from sugar cane, lactic from sour milk, malic from apples, citric from citrus fruits, and tartaric from grapes. The more commonly used acids of the group are glycolic and lactic acid. The most commonly used beta hydroxy acid is salicylic acid, which is derived from willow bark. A Jessner’s solution consists of salicylic and lactic acids with resorcinol blended in ethanol; the standard blend consists of 14% salicylic, 14% lactic, and 14% resorcinol, with other variations being considered a modified Jessner’s type. This collection of acids is naturally superficial in their depth penetration. They are recommended in a series of at least four to five treatments spaced at minimum three to four weeks apart for optimum results. TCA and phenol peels are considered deeper penetrating solutions, with TCA being medium to mid-deep and phenol being deep. TCA peels, typically under 20% concentration, can be administered safely by licensed aestheticians. But, in certain concentrations, and with phenol, they can be performed only by a physician. Each chemical peel ingredient serves its unique purpose and successfully navigating this knowledge will lead to countless results, positive client feedback, and a booming business. 

very chemical preparation will have its unique advantages and disadvantages. Being aware of how this relates to skin solutions will elevate the professional to new heights and allow them to target specific body concerns. The standard alpha hydroxy acid bears an exceptional benefit to virtually all skin types and conditions. It works superficially to aid in the repair of damaged tissues that contribute to the signs of aging, like fine lines and wrinkles. These signs can often be attributed to dehydration and dryness and, more often, collagen degradation. Alpha hydroxy acids can offer hydration and moisture to counteract the primary culprit of the lighter signs of aging. They also help to support cellular turnover by working from the top down, essentially removing the damaged outer layers of skin and facilitating the more rapid proliferation of new, healthy skin cell growth. The can also be effective in lifting and brightening hyperpigmentation to the same effect by acting as tyrosinase inhibitors and targeting melanogenesis. Acting in this way, superficial pigment can be lightened and the complexion can be evened with little fear of new spots forming. However, because they are superficial, they must be done more frequently, especially on the thicker skin of the body, such as the back of the arms, for relief of conditions like keratosis pilaris and even actinic aging. This can be time consuming and costly. Beta hydroxy acids, like salicylic acid, have a tremendous advantage for oily and acneic skin as this acid’s mechanism of penetration is through the hair follicle and sebaceous gland; this can regulate oil production and aid in the decongesting of the skin. Beta hydroxy acids are oil-soluble and aid in the breakdown of lipids that have blocked the follicle with keratinized cells, debris, and bacteria. They work from the bottom, upwards. Now, because salicylic acid is a precursor to aspirin, it has a wonderful anti-inflammatory use which will reduce redness, irritation, and swelling in acneic skin types. Although great for reducing the lesion count for acneic skin, which is achieved primarily by slowing skin cell proliferation and regulating sebum, this acid can cause excessive dryness in normal to dry skin types in higher concentrations and is not usually recommended for these types, as well as mature skin. A Jessner’s solution can vary in strength depending on the desired end result. These peel procedures can be layered for maximum efficacy – up to three layers is all that is allowed for licensed aestheticians in some states – and are best used for the thicker skin of the body. When performing these treatments, proper care should be taken to pretreat the skin and build a tolerance to the blend as they are self-neutralizing and cannot be mixed with water or rinsed off. This peel solution is quite advantageous for the more stubborn signs of aging, acne, and pigmentation and can be well incorporated into a body peel series to ensure the correct results are achieved. There is more downtime associated with this superficial peel, as well as more time in between clinic visits; the skin can become dry, tight, and may flake and peel post-procedure. Education is key. With TCA and phenol peels being considered deeper procedures, it is important to consult with a physician on the appropriate strength needed for these treatments. Trichloroacetic acid is phenomenal in ablating the deeper layers of the epidermis to create real change in deeper wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, and acne scarring. The skin will reveal a refreshed and new appearance, but only after many days of recovery. It is imperative to inhibit melanogenesis in higher Fitzpatrick types for proper application and, in certain concentrations, this service may be contraindicated altogether. Lastly, a phenol or carbolic acid peel must be administered by a physician only, as they typically completely ablate the epidermis. This procedure can counteract years and even decades of damage, but most times can only be done once in a lifetime. The recovery time is significant and requires close physician supervision to promote the correct outcome. It is of paramount importance to understand the pros and cons of each service offered to educate clients on what to expect; this will prevent miscommunication and will promise a satisfied client each and every time.

Providing chemical peel services is one of the most cost-effective ways to build a business and grow a loyal clientele. Anton Eliasson of said it best: “to be an effective marketer today is to use visual storytelling.” Marketing body peel offerings to potential clients is best done by showcasing what the service itself entails. Search engine optimization begins with the curiosity of the prospective client. They are seeking help, education, and safety, and the professional should be there to assist them on their journey to full body skin health. Optimizing the spa’s social space and website for this purpose will drive clients to engage and inquire about the spa’s service menu. However, professionals must first assess what they seek to gain from such enhancements. If it is their aim to target a demographic of clients that suffer from body acne, showcasing videos of a back or chest acne treatment being performed in the spa can create excitement, as well as facilitate education to start the conversation about those specific services and others that the spa may offer. Conveniently placing these videos on the spa’s platform so that they are easily accessible can translate into phone and in-person inquires. Adding these visual marketing stories to the spa’s social media pages and a website can increase customer conversion by upwards of 40%, according to Eliasson. With a very lucrative industry that shows no signs of slowing down, professionals cannot afford to pass up on that kind of potential. With the very social climate of today’s society, growing a thriving business can be easier than ever before. 

Incorporating body peels into a spa menu can seem a daunting task. Pricing for body peels will vary by the area being treated, so allowing for starter pricing is a good place to begin. According to, “Superficial peels can start from anywhere between $150 to $300, TCA peels can start between $1,000 to $2,000, and phenols, being the most expensive, can start between $2,500 and $6,000.” Using these prices as a preliminary cost, professionals can then charge according to the area where the procedure will be administered, whether it is the chest, back, arms, or legs. This will allow professionals to appropriately gauge product usage, overhead, and profit margin which will aid in securing their bottom line and strengthening their core business model. Professionals may also choose to offer these services on an à-la-carte basis or as add-on services to pre-existing menu items. For example, incorporate a chest, back, and arm peel into a facial peel that was already scheduled to benefit the entire upper body, which is typically exposed to the same number of ultraviolet rays. Professionals can choose to incorporate pre-treatment and post-treatment care into pricing, as well as offer special pricing for patrons that choose to purchase treatment packages. Offering special pricing on treatment packages encourages clients to think ahead and allows professionals to tie emotion to their services, which can play a big role in virtually all consumer buys. They will have the opportunity to associate the treatments and results they receive from the spa with good feelings and positive feedback. This will translate into referral opportunities by word of mouth, which is the best form of advertising, as well as the most cost effective. Professionals should also have a robust marketing calendar set up months in advance, to help to ensure they have successfully incorporated body peels into the business for the months ahead and so that they can reach out to vendors for special pricing and promotions, gifts with purchase items, or event support. Growing a business that will thrive can be difficult in today’s competitive market, but by being adaptable and by adding services that have become sought after and are the favorite treatments of clients, professionals can be sure that their company will last for years to come. 

Adding new services to a treatment menu promises that professionals will remain adaptive and innovative for themselves and for their clients. This will translate into a successful business and long-lasting, beautiful results for clients. Clients today are more aware that it is not just the face that is being affected by aging, acne, or pigmentation, it is the neck, hands, chest, arms, and back, as well. With so many chemical solutions to choose from, each with their own unique benefits, advantages, and disadvantages, education is key. Knowing the pros and cons of each procedure will allow professionals to successfully market them and create loyal clients who not only keep coming back, but also bring friends. With so many amazing advancements in skin care in the past three decades, it is sufficed to say that there is truly a peel for every body.


1 “Chemical Peels.” FitnessHealth101.

2 “Chemical Peel.” American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

3 Ilao, Jillian. “29 Creative Spa Marketing Ideas to Attract More Customers 2017.” Aug 2017.

4 “Which Chemical Peel Is Right for You?” UWHealth.

BrittanyFacio2019Brittany Facio, L.C.I., L.C., is a Phoenix, Arizona-based educator-turned-business development manager, passionate about how proper aesthetics education and sophisticated protocol implementation can create business-changing revenue. As a business development manager, she is responsible for not only educating her clients on IMAGE Skincare products and protocols, both on an individual basis and in monthly regional training seminars, but also for providing marketing, merchandising, and branding assistance to generate leads and capture a new audience. When she is not working, Facio can be found enjoying play time with her family and Havanese rescue Spruce, trying a new dinner recipe, and binge-watching comedies on Netflix.

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