Last updated on November 17, 2023
Struggling with persistent acne and looking for an effective solution? You’ve likely heard about the benefits of a chemical peel for acne, but understanding how it works and who it’s best suited for can be overwhelming.
This comprehensive blog aims to demystify chemical peels, explaining the various types available, how they treat acne and what you can expect during and after the procedure.
A chemical peel is a skincare treatment that involves the application of a chemical solution to remove the upper layers of skin. The process aims to improve the skin’s overall appearance by treating a variety of concerns, including acne and acne scars.
A chemical peel is a treatment where a chemical solution – often containing alpha hydroxy acids like glycolic acid or lactic acid – is applied to the skin. This solution works by breaking down the dead skin cells, allowing them to peel away and reveal the fresh, less damaged layers underneath.
Chemical peels are generally classified into three categories: superficial peels, medium-depth peels and deep chemical peels. Superficial chemical peels use mild acids like salicylic acid and are suitable for lighter skin issues and mild acne scarring.
Medium-depth peels often involve trichloroacetic acid and treat moderate acne and deeper scars. Deep peels, usually containing phenol, penetrate the skin more deeply and are used for severe skin disorders or deep scars.
Chemical peels can be an effective way of treating acne and its residual effects like post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and acne scarring.
One of the main actions of chemical peels is exfoliation. By removing the dead skin cells from the skin’s surface, new, healthier cells can emerge, helping to improve both skin texture and appearance. Glycolic acid peels, in particular, are effective at this.
One of the key causes of acne is clogged pores, filled with excess sebum, dead skin cells and bacteria. Chemical peels act as a potent tool for unclogging these pores, effectively reducing the prevalence of acne. Ingredients like salicylic acid are particularly useful for this, as they penetrate oil to exfoliate inside the pore.
Chemical solutions like salicylic acid peels are known for their anti-inflammatory properties, making them ideal for treating active acne vulgaris and reducing acne scarring.
Chemical peels for acne are suitable for various skin types, although there are some exceptions and considerations.
Peels are particularly effective for those dealing with mild to moderate acne, including acne vulgaris. The treatment can also help to reduce acne scarring, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and other related issues. However, for more severe forms of acne, other treatments may be recommended.
People with highly sensitive skin, certain skin disorders, or those who are pregnant should generally avoid chemical peels. The treatment may also not be recommended for darker skin tones, as they are more prone to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. It’s crucial to consult a healthcare provider for tailored advice.
Understanding the steps involved can help you know what to expect during the treatment.
During the treatment session, one of our dermal professionals will clean your skin before applying the chemical solution. The exact duration often depends on the type of chemical peel used – superficial, medium, or deep – and the specific issues being addressed.
The frequency and duration of chemical peels for acne depend on various factors like the severity of acne, skin type and the chemical solution used. Light peels might require more frequent sessions, while medium and deep peels, which penetrate the skin more deeply, usually have a longer recovery time and may require fewer sessions overall.
Proper aftercare is essential for achieving the best results and minimising side effects.
Immediately following a chemical peel, the skin will be quite sensitive and vulnerable. Exposure to the sun is not advised and a gentle skincare regimen is recommended to aid in the healing process. Cooling gels and specific moisturisers may also be suggested to soothe the skin.
Long-term maintenance may involve a combination of over-the-counter acne treatments, prescription medications and potentially, additional chemical peels. For individuals with recurring acne or those looking to further reduce acne scarring, a consistent and tailored skincare routine is vital for maintaining the results achieved through chemical peels.
If you have any more questions about a chemical peel for acne or any of our services, please don’t hesitate to contact us today. In the meantime, you can find our FAQs below that may provide the additional information you’re looking for.
Typically, noticeable results can be seen several weeks following a chemical peel. However, the exact timeline can vary depending on the depth of the peel and the severity of the acne or scars being treated. Some individuals may require multiple sessions to achieve their desired results.
In the immediate aftermath of a chemical peel, your skin will be particularly sensitive and may react differently to your regular skincare products. Therefore, it’s usually recommended to switch to a gentler skincare regimen temporarily, avoiding any harsh or abrasive products that might irritate the skin. Our skin professionals will recommend the related skincare products that can be used after the treatment.
While chemical peels can be effective for a wide range of skin tones, those with darker skin should proceed with caution. Darker skin is more susceptible to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and may react differently to the chemical agents used. Consultation with a healthcare provider is essential for tailored advice.