Phenol Peel

The Baker-Gordon phenol peel is a classic deep chemical peel that dramatically improves the appearance of deep wrinkles, pigmentation irregularities, and uneven skin texture. A phenol peel requires a knowledgeable provider to ensure predictable results while avoiding hypopigmentation.

Phenol Peel Overview - Everything You Need to Know

The Skinny

Phenol Peel
avg. recovery
7 weeks
Is permanent
$700 - $6000

About the Procedure

Last Updated: 09.18.2021

The phenol peel, also known as a Baker-Gordon peel, has been a popular solution for chemical exfoliation since the 1960's. The solution is comprised of a combination of phenol and croton oil to penetrate deep into the layers of the skin, sloughing away imperfections such as age spots, acne scars, and fine lines. The phenol peel produces impressive results but is also characterized by its potential side effects which include changes in skin pigmentation and texture. It is essential to have an experienced practitioner perform a phenol peel as depth of penetration is determined by the level of frosting and can quickly cause negative side effects for the patient. Phenol chemical peels, like superficial and medium depth peels, begin by cleansing the skin. Once the skin is thoroughly prepped and cleansed, the phenol solution will be methodically brushed onto the skin and observed for rate of change. The solution will cause the skin to frost, making it turn white as it chemically exfoliates away skin impurities. Multiple layers may be applied to trouble areas such as deep wrinkles. Once treatment is complete, the solution will be neutralized and removed from the skin. Following treatment, a soothing balm or ointment will be applied to the face to keep the skin moisturized and the face may be wrapped in a garment.

The goal of a phenol peel is to improve the appearance and texture of uneven, aged, and wrinkled skin.

Recovery Notes

When recovering from a phenol chemical peel it will take at least 2 weeks for new skin to form. It is common to experience severe swelling and redness during the first week of recovery as well as skin crusting and peeling. Initial recovery is usually complete after 2 weeks although it may take longer. Final results will be visible after several months. Plan to take 2 weeks off from work and normal activities.

Ideal Candidate

The ideal candidate for a phenol peel is someone with a lighter skin tone who is prepared to undergo a lengthy recovery period to achieve dramatic results in a single treatment session with improvement to wrinkles and skin tone.

Not Recommended For

Phenol peels are not recommended for use on darker skin tones due to risk of hypopigmentation.

Side Effects

Side effects from a phenol chemical peel can include local infection, contact dermatitis, irritation, burning, pruritus, pain, persistent erythema, edema, and blistering. Hypopigmentation and changes in skin texture are typically associated with this type of peel. Delayed side effects may include scarring, delayed healing, milia, hyperpigmentation, lines of demarcation, loss of cutaneous barrier and tissue injury, and acneiform eruptions.


  • smooth skin
  • smooth deep wrinkles
  • smooth coarse wrinkles
  • dramatic results
  • long lasting results
  • only one treatment


  • extended recovery
  • elevated risk of toxicity
  • many side effects
  • risk of hypopigmentation
  • waxy skin appearance

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