Expert Doctor

Vi Peels

Anne McNeill, MD, PHD

Newport Beach, CA

Vi Peels

Vi Peel is a chemical peel designed to treat brown spots, age spots, lentigos (small brown patches on the skin), and melisma (gray to brown patches on the face). A Vi Peel treats pigmentation issues whether they are caused by the sun, hormones or even old acne that did not heal properly (post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation). Vi Peel also softens wrinkles and fine lines because it helps build collagen. For these reasons, it is very popular among people who want to experience an “all over” rejuvenating procedure that is also not too aggressive for the skin. Vi Peel has a combination of different acids including:

  • TCA (trichloroacetic acid)
  • Phenol
  • Retinoic acid which is a form of Retin-A
  • Salicylic acid
  • Vitamin C 

Am I a Good Candidate for Vi Peel?

GOOD CANDIDATES for Vi Peel include:

  • A person in overall good health
  • All skin types including darker skin tones
  • Patients who can avoid social situations as their skin peels

Patients who are NOT GOOD CANDIDATES are:

  • Those without realistic expectations
  • Anyone looking to do the peel at home as it is recommended for in-office treatment
  • Patients who will not continue to care for their skin after the results of the peel are visible

How is Vi Peel Performed?

The first step of the Vi Peel process is cleansing the skin and removing oil and dirt from the area to be treated. Then, the Vi Peel is evenly applied to the face in two phases. The first phase penetrates into the skin cells on the surface of the skin. The second phase is designed to let the Vi Peel go even deeper into the dermis where the dead skin cells and toxins are located. The patient is only in the office for 30 minutes to an hour and will leave while still wearing the Vi Peel solution. After an amount of time determined by the doctor (4 or 5 hours), the patients can wash off the solution.

Other Treatments

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) is very good at treating brown spots but it will not do much for wrinkles or fine lines. If a person just has brown spots, IPL might be a good option for their needs. If they just have a little bit of brown spots, but they are worried about wrinkles as well, they should definitely lean towards having Vi Peel.

Microdermabrasion takes off dead skin cells at the surface and makes the skin feel smoother. However, it does not do anything long-term to help reduce pigmentation or fine lines when compared to the results from Vi Peel.

What is the Cost of Vi Peel?

The cost of Vi Peel varies by the fees charged by the facility and/or the person administering the peel and also the area of the country where it is performed. In general, the cost is between $200 and $600.

Recovery and Downtime

When it comes to RECOVERY from a Vi Peel, the day patients have the peel, they leave it on until that evening. They will need to use the towelettes provided by the doctor because it boosts and augments the effects of the peel. These towelettes have a bit more of the retinoic acid in them. If a patient doesn’t use the towelettes, they won’t get as much benefit from the peel. For three days after the peel, the patient applies a personal towelette every night in order to get an increased benefit from the peel.

Once the Vi Peel is washed off the face, the skin will appear red and even slightly swollen. Two or three days after the treatment, the skin will start to peel. The peeling lasts from three to seven days depending on the condition of the skin before the peel. A moisturizer can be used to hide the appearance of the peeling. Patients should wear sunscreen with SPF 30, or higher, during the recovery process to protect the skin when they are outdoors. After about 14 days, the skin will be healed and patients will see smoother and healthier skin.

In terms of DOWNTIME, patients are able to return to work and resume their normal activities immediately after the treatment.  Any strenuous activities or heavy exercise should be avoided for 24-48 hours as the sweat from the exercise could alter the results of the Vi Peel.


The results from Vi Peel should be permanent as long as patients are not in the sun on a consistent basis. Staying out of the sun should prevent patients from getting any new brown spots and also preserve any improvements they get from the Vi Peel.

Some patients get Vi Peel three or four times a year to maintain the results. However, there is not a great need to get the procedure performed that often each year. Having Vi Peel on a yearly basis is a more standard timeframe for patients.

Limitations of Vi Peel

One of the main limitations of Vi Peel is the fact that the treatment can limit the social and work calendar of the patient. The skin will literally peel off the cheeks and dead skin will be hanging from the face for a couple of days. The patient needs to plan ahead with their social and work schedules. However, this condition lasts for just a few days before it heals. The patient will have much smoother skin but it is a limitation because a lot of people are working and busy on a daily basis.

Risks of Vi Peel

Some common risks for Vi Peel include:

  • Pain
  • Redness
  • Long term peeling of the skin
  • Hyperpigmentation (darkening of the skin) and Hypopigmentation (lightening of the skin)
  • Acne
  • Folliculitis
  • Burns
  • Scarring
  • Allergic reaction to the peel
  • Infections

Choose an Experienced Doctor

Vi Peel helps reduce pigmentation as well as soften fine lines and wrinkles on a patient. It is performed best by a doctor who is experienced in handling the treatment. An experienced doctor can discuss the treatment, in advance, with patients and set realistic expectations about the kind of results that will be seen after the peel. Patients who decide to have the procedure need to know what to expect from Vi Peel so they won’t be disappointed with the results.


Written by Cosmetic Town Editorial Team - MA

Based on an exclusive interview with Anne Marie McNeill, MD in Newport Beach, CA