The TikTok Skin Peel Trend That Could Cause You Serious Heart Problems

It's not that ap-peel-ing tbh.
Yaorusheng via Getty Images

A factory reset but for… the skin? This is what Tiktok users are saying when describing the dramatic ‘phenol peel’ - a facial skin peel procedure that has 90 million views on the social media app.

In the videos, dermatologists remove a slightly crusty, scabby (lovely) layer of skin to reveal a bright red face underneath. This eventually cools down and what is often left is tighter skin with no dark spots and fewer wrinkles.

Of course, chemical peels have been around for a long time and have been a key part of beauty routines for celebrities for decades but these are often performed across several sessions and slowly exfoliate the skin, reducing wrinkles and dark spots as well as tightening the skin. Phenol peels do all of this but in one session that can take weeks to recover from.

A Heart-Stopping Risk

With any chemical peel, there is a risk of infection and scarring but with a phenol peel, there’s an extra danger of developing cardiac arrhytmia (irregular heartbeat) which causes 100,000 deaths in the UK every year.

Dermatologists on the app have spoken about using heart-monitoring equipment to try and reduce the risk of this happening and the procedure isn’t recommended for patients with diabetes and hypertension.

Many Dermatologists Advise Choosing Safer Peels

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the procedure isn’t always popular with dermatologists. Dr Anthony Youn, a plastic surgeon based in Michigan stated that while the results are incredible, these treatments aren’t provided by his surgery because of the risk of arrhythmia. He instead recommends fractional lasers and moderate depth peels like Controlled Depth Peel instead.


#duet with @clinicaharmonia Plastic Surgeon reacts to INCREDIBLE phenol peel before and after! #harmonypeel #chemicalpeel #chemicalpeeling #chemicalpeeljourney #phenolpeel

♬ You And Me - Lyus

Still Find This Procedure Ap-peel-ing?

There are clinics in the UK that provide this intensive treatment but make sure that you do your research and speak to your GP first. Ensure that your practitioner is fully-qualified and experienced in providing phenol peels.