How to Treat Acne with a Chemical Peel?

Acne can take away your self-confidence and the prime years of your life. But you are not alone in this. It is the bane of existence for many teenagers and young adults. You might have been in a constant war with acne throughout your life, going on and off medications and dermatological treatments, which can significantly impact your mental and physical health, altering your lifestyle and the idea of self-love. To regain your confidence and appearance, first, you need to stop overthinking and then start exploring the option of a chemical peel. A chemical peel might be the right option for you as it possesses many benefits. 

Chemical peels have been around for a while, treating acne and its scars. A good, board-certified dermatologist will perform your chemical peel procedure expertly and carefully. Before getting the treatment, here is all you need to know about a chemical peel.

What are chemical peel and its types?

Chemical peels are an effective way to clear your skin and achieve flawless results. In a chemical peel treatment, an acidic solution is applied to areas of your skin. This solution penetrates the skin, destroying the dead skin and unclogging pores. This allows new skin to regenerate while clearing out scars and blemishes. This treatment thoroughly exfoliates your skin, helping you with acne vulgaris and other skin conditions.  

There are different types of chemical peels;

1. Superficial Peels

Superficial peels are applied to the top layer of your skin, the epidermis[1], treating minor skin issues. They clear out the outermost layer of your skin. This kind of peel takes little time and has minimal downtime. 

2. Medium Peels

These peels target wrinkles and scars by going deeper into the skin, impacting the dermis layer [2]. It treats the skin by removing dead skin cells to eliminate uneven skin tone and wrinkles. 

3. Deep Peels

To tackle complex skin issues, deeper peels are used, which go further into the skin layers to remove dead cells. These are used for wrinkles, scars, pre-cancerous growth, and sun damage. This procedure usually occurs under anesthesia and has a more extended downtime. Proper skin care is advised before and after the procedure. 

What is the procedure for treating acne with a chemical peel?

When you go for a chemical peel, your dermatologist will examine your skin and suggest a suitable treatment. Before getting the procedure done, they will suggest proper skin care to prepare your skin. On the day of your chemical peel treatment, these steps will follow:

  1. First, your dermatologist will clean your skin.
  2. Then the chemical peel solution will be applied to your, carefully avoiding your eyes and hair, with an applicator.
  3. The solution will be left on your face for a few minutes, then a layer of the neutralizer is applied to deactivate the burn from the chemicals. 
  4. After the neutralizer, a cold compress will be applied to further reduce discomfort and burning sensation. 
  5. Once the peel is removed, the dermatologist will apply a cream or mask for a few minutes to soothe the skin and improve the result of the peel. 
  6. In the end, your skin will be cleansed again.
  7. This procedure happens in approximately 20 minutes. For deeper peels, it may take a little longer. Results are much improved after a series of chemical peel treatments.

What are the post-treatment guidelines for chemical peels?

After a chemical peel treatment, the dermatologist will tell you about the post-treatment guidelines. Proper care will be needed before and after chemical peel treatment. As your skin will be red, dry, and mildly irritated, it could also be swollen after treatment in case of a deeper peel. To take care of your skin when it is sensitive, your dermatologist may suggest the following;

  • A protective ointment or moisturizer to soothe the skin [3]
  • Pain-relieving medicines such as ibuprofen  
  • You can use icepacks to cool down the burning sensation
  • A surgical dressing may also be applied to the skin 
  • Avoid makeup for at least 48 hours till the skin starts healing
  • You will be advised to stay away from the sun and use sunscreen during the healing period 

As the after-effects of the treatment, the new skin may appear a little crusty and darker. It will come over 3-7 days. The total healing time will be of 2 weeks. You can continue your follow-up visits to your dermatologist so that the healing of the skin can be monitored 

A chemical peel works for which skin types?

There are many types of chemical peels for different skin types. After a skin examination, your dermatologist will suggest the type of chemical peel to get. This will depend on your skin texture, type, problems, and goals. Some peels are Glycolic acid peel, Salicylic acid peel,  TCA (Trichloroacetic acid) Peel, Phenol Peel, and Fruit Acid Peel [4].


1. Are chemical peels effective in getting rid of acne?

Chemical peels are effective in removing acne and clearing out skin. They deeply exfoliate your skin, removing dead skin cells and allowing new skin regeneration. Moreover, they clear out your pores, leaving you with fresh and smooth skin. 

2. Which chemical peel works for acne?

For acne, the best chemical peel is with Salicylic Acid. Salicylic acid clears out your poses and removes oil. It stops the dead skin cells from clogging out your pores, which is the cause of pimples. 

3. How often should I get a chemical peel treatment?

A chemical peel treatment works best when it is done in series over a few months. When it comes to light peels, you can get them done after 2-5 week intervals. However, 6-12 months intervals can be taken with medium to stronger peels. 

4. How long-lasting is the result of a chemical peel?

Lighter peels are very common, and you can get them done quickly. Their result lasts up to 1 to 2 months when you start getting it done. Over time its result can last up to 6 months. 

5. What should I avoid after getting a chemical peel?

Your skin will be sensitive after getting a chemical peel. It needs to be handled with care. Things you should avoid post-treatment are picking at your skin, skipping sunscreen and moisturizer, using too much moisturizer, and exfoliating. You can use cold compresses. The results will appear over time. 







author avatar
Sabina Gordon

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