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When you think about chemical peels, it’s hard not to conjure up horrifying images of painfully raw skin (like Samantha in that one episode of Sex and the City). But they’ve come a long way in the last few years. Joshua Zeichner, MD, and director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research in Dermatology at NYC’s Mount Sinai Hospital, guides us through what might actually happen if you got a chemical peel today.

RELATED: 6 Secrets of Women with Soft Skin

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It Might Put a Tiny Dent in Your Wallet
The average cost of a professional peel can range anywhere between $75 to upwards of a few hundred dollars depending on what type of peel you're getting, who is administering it (and where you live). That said, it’s still going to be more affordable than most other treatments like laser resurfacing (or a jar of La Mer anything).

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It Might Tingle a Bit (but Shouldn't Hurt)
A peel by its very nature is supposed to remove the outermost layers of your skin. In doing so, you can improve both the tone and texture. Talk to your derm or aesthetician about what type of peel you want. Depending on what you’re getting, you might experience some mild tingling or a prickly sensation—at most. Nothing should burn or feel intolerable.

It Might Take a Few Treatments to See Results
While there are peels that will show more dramatic results after one treatment, they will require some recovery downtime. For the majority of us who can’t afford the extra days, a series of lighter peels (like PCA SKIN's Sensi Peel) is your best bet so you can go straight back to work afterward.

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It Might Make Your Products Work Better
One immediate benefit you’ll see is that the same moisturizer you’ve been using forever (to no real effect) will suddenly make your skin feel ten times softer than before. This is because there is no longer a layer of dead cells blocking the ingredients from going in and doing their job.

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But It Might Make Your Skin More Sensitive to the Sun
If you want to maintain those glowing results, you’re going to have to be more vigilant about your sunscreen application. Use a minimum of SPF 30 and wear it rain or shine. On that note, winter is actually the ideal time to get a peel since there is less exposure to UV rays. 

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It Might Get Addictive
Once you find the right peel for your skin, you may never want to stop getting them. Luckily, there are a ton of at-home options that can help in the interim that cost a lot less (and don’t require another visit to the derm or spa). You can also try adding a retinol to your skincare routine to further prolong your results. 

Or It Might Not Meet Your Expectations
Though peels can do a lot of great things for your skin (like fade fine lines and blotchy brown spots), one thing they can’t do is get rid of deep wrinkles. For that, you’ll need to bring in the big guns (like those aforementioned lasers or fillers). Or you could just own those hard-earned lines and spend the money on traveling.

RELATED: 8 Ways to Look Younger Without Botox

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