Chemical Peels For Acne: Do They Work?

Acne and its resulting scars affect not only teenagers, but also adults. Breakouts can continue long into adulthood, making you self-conscious and causing you to look and feel less than your best. When topical creams aren’t effective enough, a chemical peel may be able to help treat acne as well as the scars it can leave behind. In this blog, the team of board-certified dermatologists at Rendon Center for Dermatology & Aesthetic Medicine in Boca Raton, FL provide information to help you learn whether a chemical peel can help your acne:

What is a chemical peel and how does it work?

A chemical peel is a solution that’s applied to the skin in order to improve its appearance. It’s left on for a few minutes and then removed. Afterward, the treated skin eventually peels off, allowing younger skin cells to migrate toward the surface of the skin. These newer cells are usually smoother and have a better appearance than the old, dead skin cells.

What are some types of chemical peels?

Different types of chemical peels can be used, depending on your skin type and the issue you’d like to see improved. In some cases, the same chemical may be used in different type of peels, but its concentration is higher in one type of peel when compared to another. The following are the main types of chemical peels:

  • Superficial: A mild acid such as alpha-hydroxy acid gently exfoliates the outer layer of skin. This type of peel can help freshen your appearance and help treat acne scars and mild skin discoloration.
  • Medium: Glycolic or trichloroacetic acid targets the outer and middle layers of skin. It can be used on acne, age spots, fine lines, freckles, and more.
  • Deep: This stronger type of peel uses trichloroacetic acid or phenol and deeply penetrates the middle layer of skin. It treats acne scars, age spots, freckles, and moderate lines.

How can they help with acne?

If you’re not getting the results you want from topical acne medications, chemical peels may be more effective. They can reduce inflammation as well as oil secretions, which can help cut down on breakouts. Depending on their strength, chemical peels can help eliminate or reduce the appearance of acne blemishes and/or scars.

What are the side effects of a chemical peel?

A chemical peel can cause the following aide effects:

  • Redness: Some redness is normal, especially with medium or deep peels.
  • Scarring: A rare occurrence, scarring can be treated with antibiotics or steroids.
  • Changed skin color: Skin can sometimes turn darker than normal or lighter than normal. These changes are more common in people who have darker skin.
  • Infection: A peel can cause the herpes virus that causes cold sores to flare up, and it can rarely lead to a bacterial or fungal infection.

How long does a chemical peel last?

The deeper the chemicals reach, the longer they last. So, for example, a deep peel will last longer than a superficial one:

  • Superficial: lasts about 1 to 2 months
  • Medium: lasts about 2 to 6 months
  • Deep: can last for years

If you have acne or another skin issue and would like to find out if a chemical peel can help improve its appearance, make an appointment today with Rendon Center Dermatology & Aesthetic Medicine in Boca Raton, Florida. Our team is dedicated to helping you look and feel your absolute best!

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