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Our Procedures:Skin Resurfacing

Skin resurfacing is an effective form of treatment to improve skin quality on the neck, face, chest and hands

Why Choose To Have Skin Resurfacing?

There are several different ways in which the skin can be resurfaced by removing the top layer of skin on the face, neck, chest and hands. This procedure is ideal in treating a number of problems including skin that has become thinner and wrinkled with age and developed irregularities. It can also treat blemishes (including Acne scarring) and pigmentation.

Stephen McCulley most commonly uses a Chemical Peel to effectively treat the skin conditions described above. The particular technique, known as the Obagi System, uses 15-20% of Tri-chloracetic Acid which is very safe and the most common type of resurfacing procedure.

Dermabrasion is used to treat Acne scarring – but this depends on the individual case.

Procedure In Brief

Before having treatment (including both Chemical Peels and Dermabrasion) it is important to prepare the skin and make sure it is the best possible condition. Stephen McCulley advises patients to start using certain creams including active ingredients (including Retin A and Hydroquinone) six weeks prior to treatment. This will enable the skin to increase its healing power and reduce the changes on the pigment cells in the skin. Patients usually notice a significant improvement on the skin before treatment.

Chemical Peel
When applied to the skin the acid in the Chemical Peel essentially damages the top layer of skin, which then peels away itself after a few days. The advantage of this particular type of treatment is that the face remains ‘dry’ during healing as it does not leave a raw surface to heal. The deeper the layer of skin removed means a greater chance of a better result, however this also increases the chance of side effects (see below).

The treatment is performed in Stephen McCulley’s clinic without the need for anaesthetic. Cold air is used to reduce the ‘sting’ feeling of the peel being applied which can last for a few minutes. Patients are discharged on the same day and the peeling process starts a few days later, continuing for 3-14 days depending on the strength of the acid used. The strength of the acid will be determined by Stephen McCulley based on your skin needs.

Unlike a Chemical Peel, Dermabrasion is an operation and is therefore carried out in hospital, under local or general anaesthetic. It is important that patients having Dermabrasion should avoid aspirin and other anti-inflammatory drugs (including ibuprofen) prior to surgery.

A full medical history will be obtained before any surgery. As a precaution, do not take any over the counter medicines or herbal remedies prior to surgery or for 3 days following. Also avoid aspirin, ibuprofen and Voltarol based tablets. It would be useful to bring a list of any prescribed medications to your pre-op assessment.

If you are a smoker, try and stop around the time of the procedure as it can reduce the chances of complications.

Recovering from Skin Resurfacing


  • Chemical Peel: The area that has been treated will be a little red and swollen for the first few days. For mild wrinkles a light peel will be used and therefore the patient can expect 3-4 days of peeling, compared to a deep peel that will last up to 14 days.
  • Dermabrasion: The healing process is slightly different and instead of peeling the skin that has been treated will form a scab which will fall away once the skin underneath has healed.

Time Off Work And Socialising

  • Chemical Peel & Dermabrasion: Very little time will be needed for mild peels but patients who have a deep peel may need up to take up to 2 weeks to recover. There is very little physical restriction after a peel.

Time To Exercise

  • Chemical Peel & Dermabrasion: Strenuous exercise should be avoided for the first 3-4 days, and slightly longer for deep peels.


  • Chemical Peel & Dermabrasion: Driving should be avoided immediately after the procedure, but patients can usually drive after a few hours or the following day. Patients should avoid driving until they are completely free of pain and restriction, and be able to confidently perform an emergency stop. This is to ensure they will be covered by their insurance policy.

Final Outcome

  • Chemical Peel: The results will be visible once the peeling process has finished, and the colour of the skin and overall appearance will continue to improve over the first few weeks.
  • Dermabrasion: The results will be visible once the scab has fallen away revealing the healed skin underneath. The overall appearance will continue to improve over the first few weeks, however some redness of the skin might still be visible.

Potential Complications With Skin Resurfacing

This is a routine procedure that is a great success for the vast majority of patients. However, as with any procedure, it is very important you understand what can go wrong as well as right. The potential complications are listed below, most of which would only occur if the product used was too strong.

Pigment Problems

  • Chemical Peel and Dermabrasion: Although relatively uncommon any resurfacing method can alter the pigment in the skin. This usually results in reduced pigmentation, but there is occasionally the risk of increased pigmentation. The risk of this occurring is greatly reduced by using creams containing active ingredients for 6 weeks leading up to the treatment.

Healing Problems

  • Chemical Peel: This can occur if the peel is too deep and could potentially result in scarring. However, with Stephen McCulley’s technique this is extremely rare due to the amount (15-20% of Tri-chloracetic Acid) that he uses.
  • Dermabrasion:


  • Chemical Peel: Most redness fades after a few weeks. Very rarely it can be visible for slightly longer.
  • Dermabrasion:

What does Skin Resurfacing cost?

Obagi Chemical Peel from £750 – £1200 depending on the area treated
from £1,760 – £2,925 depending on the area treated
from £150 – £350

Frequently Asked Questions

If you’d like to see more then please view our frequently asked questions on Non Surgical Procedures!