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Image of orange, lemon, pear and kiwi representing deep phenol peels

Deep phenol skin peels explained

Coming in a variety of strengths, chemical peels can work for most skin types and treat almost every skin concern.

Deep phenol peels help to address a variety of those skin concerns in one swoop.

Also known as a deep chemical peel or a carbolic acid peel, phenol peels target acne scarring, wrinkles, fine lines, and hyperpigmentation in one go.They can be highly effective and deliver longer-lasting results compared to other exfoliating skin treatments.

So, how does a deep phenol peel work compared to other exfoliating treatments?

Fast facts

  • Best results

    1 treatment

  • Duration of results

    Up to 10 years

  • Back to work

    2 to 3 weeks

  • Full recovery time

    Up to 4 months

  • Price range

    300 SAR to 1,020 SAR

  • Treatment duration

    15 minutes to 2 hours

  • Comfort

    Local or general anaesthetic

  • Treatment type

    Minimally invasive

What is a deep phenol peel?

A deep phenol peel is the most powerful type of chemical peel available. It is used to target deep wrinkles, pigmentation changes, acne scars, and sun damage with long-lasting results, as the chemical phenol (carbolic acid) is used to penetrate deep into the skin.

The effect is dramatic – the outer layer of skin is stripped away to be replaced with new skin, and collagen production increases. This can drastically reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. A phenol peel can be applied to the entire face or can focus on specific areas depending on your needs.

How does a deep phenol peel work?

As it’s much stronger than milder chemical peels, the treatment goes deeper and penetrates through the epidermis (the surface layer of skin) into the dermis (the mid layer of skin) for more pronounced results. As the chemical is quite strong, it’s important that a trained practitioner performs the treatment.

Usually, the process will follow these steps:

  • Your practitioner will start by thoroughly cleansing the skin.

  • You may be given a general or local anaesthetic, or a sedative. However, some practitioners may choose not to use anaesthetic, as phenol acts as a topical anaesthetic on the skin anyway. You might also be given intravenous (IV) fluids.

  • The phenol is applied to the treatment area and carefully monitored.

  • Depending on the size of the treatment area, the application time could be as little as 10 to 15 minutes. A full-face deep phenol treatment may take one to two hours, which will be split into 15-minute sessions.

  • The treated areas will start to turn white or grey.

  • The practitioner will neutralise and carefully remove the phenol from your face.

  • They will then coat the area in petroleum jelly or an adhesive tape to protect it while it is most sensitive.


As a deep phenol peel is the most intense chemical peel available, it does require some downtime afterwards. In the days following treatment, you will likely experience:

  • Redness.
  • Stinging.
  • Swelling.
  • Scabbing.
  • Skin flaking.

This will subside as new skin cells start to form, which will usually be within 10 to 15 days after treatment. Your practitioner will advise you on how to keep your skin thoroughly moisturised during this time.

You can expect to resume normal day-to-day activities two to three weeks after treatment, although the treated areas may still look red for several weeks.

It’s very important to stay out of the sun for the first few weeks. Phenol affects the skin’s ability to produce melanin, so sun exposure can result in extreme skin sensitivity and irregular colouring. It’s best to avoid sun exposure for the first two weeks but if that’s not possible, apply a high SPF sunscreen and use a wide-brimmed hat for protection.

How much does a deep phenol peel cost? Plus, other things you need to know

How much does a deep phenol peel cost?

Prices can vary from clinic to clinic and will depend on the size of the treatment area. You can expect to pay around SR300 to SR1,020.

Who is most suitable for a deep phenol peel?

People who may experience the best results from this procedure include those with:

Those with dark skin tones or a tendency to form keloid scars are unsuitable for the treatment, as there is a risk of scarring and further hyperpigmentation.

Where can I get a deep phenol peel near me?

Browse our clinics to find treatments that are local to you.

Alternative treatments

  • Other chemical peels

There are a wide range of other chemical peels available which don’t penetrate as deeply into the skin as phenol, with more subtle results and less downtime. Light chemical peels remove the top layer of skin to reveal the healthier skin below. Medium chemical peels penetrate more deeply and may be effective in treating mild scarring and fine lines.

  • Microdermabrasion

Microdermabrasion is a non-invasive treatment that buffs away dead skin cells to reduce the appearance of scarring, sun damage, wrinkles, and redness. It can also help to improve circulation and promote rejuvenation.

  • Mesotherapy

Mesotherapy involves injecting vitamins and minerals into the skin to improve blood circulation, collagen production and achieve an overall rejuvenated complexion.

  • Skin booster treatment

With skin boosters, hyaluronic acid is injected into the skin to boost collagen production, improve skin texture, and achieve a dewier appearance.

  • Dermaplaning

This treatment involves gently removing the top layer of dead skin cells, bacteria, and fine hairs using a medical-grade scalpel. Dermaplaning can improve skin tone and texture as well as your skin’s ability to absorb topical creams and serums


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