Why a Chemical Peel?
It’s common for people to have a variety of types of skin problems on their faces. In many cases, people attempt to hide their skin problems with makeup, or to fix them with face creams or other similar treatments, but this often produces disappointing results. A chemical peel can help to improve the appearance of the superficial layer of the skin in a more permanent way, reducing the appearance of such skin problems as fine wrinkles, age spots, acne, scars, scaly or unevenly colored patches of skin, and other similar problems with the superficial skin layer. Chemical peels can be applied at different depths, depending on the type of skin problem being treated; these are generally referred to as light, medium, and deep chemical peels, although there are gradations of depth within each category.
If you’re choosing a chemical peel, make sure you’re choosing it because you really want it, not to please someone else or to fit an imagined ideal. No one else can make the choice for you; it’s your body, and you’re in charge of it. After you do your research and understand the procedure, if you believe that a chemical peel is right for you, then proceed. You can learn more about the chemical peel procedure, its risks and benefits, in our Education Wiki.
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the average cost to have a chemical peel is $720. This cost varies according to several factors, including the depth and extent of the chemical peel, the region, and the particular clinic. You should check with the provider(s) you’re considering to determine their exact fee for the procedure. Ask what’s included in that fee, to make sure you aren’t surprised by extra costs when you get the bill later.
In most cases, the provider’s fee includes all of the expenses of the procedure. However, in some cases, there may be other costs as well. In the case of a more complex procedure, such as a deep chemical peel, there may be anesthesia costs and operating room or hospital fees that aren’t included in the surgeon’s fee. Medications (for example, pain medication, or antibiotics) may also be an extra cost. If any medical testing is required, this could also be a separate cost. A few providers may not include your preoperative and postoperative appointments in their fee, although most do include these visits to ensure that you’re adequately cared for. You should ask what all of the fees will be before your procedure, so that you aren’t surprised when the bill comes.
Additionally, keep in mind that you may need to have the procedure more than once for optimal results. While the results of a deep chemical peel usually last for years, a light or medium chemical peel may need to be repeated after a few months to achieve the results you’re looking for.
It’s also important to make sure you have access to a little extra money, via financing or savings, in case you have medical complications from the procedure (for instance, if you develop an infection). Your insurance usually will not cover complications from an elective surgery. While complications from this procedure are not common, they do happen to a few people, and so you should be prepared in case that rare person is you.
Will Insurance Cover It?
Medical insurance does not cover cosmetic dermatology, with very rare exceptions. If you believe that you may be one of those rare exceptions (which would mean that there is a functional, rather than purely cosmetic, reason to have your procedure), then you can call your insurance company to be sure. Usually, you’ll need to pay all of the costs above: the surgeon’s fee, any extra fees, and any postoperative complications that may arise.
What Are the Financing Options?
To many people, paying hundreds or thousands of dollars up front seems impossible. However, if you don’t already have the money saved, you have many options available for financing. Many physicians offer financing plans for their patients. You can also get a medical credit card or other credit card, often with an attractive introductory interest rate; a medical loan, personal loan, or home equity loan from your bank; a loan from your 401(k); or loans or gifts from family and friends. Even if your credit isn’t great, you’d be surprised how many options you have. For more details about the financing options for your procedure, check out our Cosmetic Dermatology Financing page.