Acne Peel Treatments

There’s a wide range of superficial chemical peels out there, each with its own set of pros and cons. While some are designed to fade dark spots and relieve non-porous skin concerns (like acne), others target scarring or dehydration. So which one should you take? It all depends on your goals and preferences. If you want some quick relief from puffy faces, try a non-invasive peel. On the other hand, if you’re looking to repair the damage teeming with bacteria and infection, then chemical acne peel treatment may be proper for you.

Some Best Acne Peel Treatment 


  • Light-duty Chemical Peel

Light-duty peels are thin, shallow chemical exfoliations that create a barrier over the face to prevent moisture from escaping. They are available in percentages from 10% to 70%, with a stronger peel containing more of the active ingredient. Therefore, they are more effective at peeling away old skin cells and prepping the face for renewed cell growth.

This chemical acne peel treatment can be done anywhere from every other week up to once a month, depending on your skin’s ability to tolerate the process. As long as there is no redness, swelling, or crusting of the skin, you should have been able to maintain your routine by the next day when you wake up. Light-duty peels provide the highest benefits of all chemical peels with little to no downtime.

  • Medium Chemical Peel

A medium peel is considered moderately aggressive. This acne peel treatment treats deeper wrinkles, acne scars, deep-set acne scars, and hyperpigmentation. The medium peel penetrates deep into the skin’s surface, producing new collagen and improving elasticity for more firm skin. Trichloroacetic acid and glycolic acid are commonly used medium-depth chemical peels. This treatment removes the top layer of dead skin cells to reveal new, healthy cells underneath. You might need a series of treatments might to achieve or maintain the desired result.

  • Deep Chemical Peels

Deep chemical peels use an advanced chemical formula to correct skin imperfections such as deep acne scars, dark spots, and wrinkles. The procedure works best with patients whose skin condition creates visible damage such as wrinkles or age-related abnormalities. Although less invasive than laser resurfacing, the deep phenol peel is also more aggressive. As a result, you will experience about a week of peeling and downtime.

How are these peels done?

A light-duty chemical peel is a milder version of the more aggressive medium-duty or deep peels. The aesthetician uses several types of acids, usually an alpha hydroxy acid (e.g., glycolic acid) or a beta hydroxy acid (e.g., salicylic acid). They apply this to the skin at a lower concentration causing exfoliation of only the topmost layers of skin in a series of treatments. The goal of a light-duty peel is to reduce the presence of mild, noninflammatory acne. In addition, superficial chemical peels can let you achieve a brighter, younger-looking complexion. Many chemical acne peel treatments fall into this category, and most people consider them relatively low-risk procedures.

Preparation for chemical peels

Make an appointment with a skincare specialist for a consultation. You can use this time to discuss your goals and learn more about the specific type of acne peel treatment you’ll receive. In addition, the specialist will ask you about any medications you’ve taken and if there’s anything that could interfere with the procedure, such as a tendency to scar easily.

Before a chemical peel, doctors recommended that you stop using topical medications for a minimum of 48 hours. For your safety, please inform your dermatologist of all medications you are taking and let them know if you have not been on Accutane for the past six months.

Your doctor may also recommend you take an antiviral medication during the first couple of days to prevent a breakout around the mouth. You may be advised to use special lotions or humidifiers to improve treatment. You will need to use a retinoid cream and avoid creams and moisturizers that can darken your skin. Your dermatologist will recommend that you do not wax or epilate for one week before the peel. You should also avoid using scrubs three days before the treatment. This is because these treatments can increase your skin’s sensitivity and cause damage after the procedure. If you do decide to have deep acne peel treatment done, it is vital to have a friend or family member drive you home after the peel.

There is no need to cancel or reschedule an appointment due to discomfort. Typically, topical anesthetics are sufficient to manage any minor discomfort during the procedure. However, your provider may prescribe oral medications to relieve moderate pain.

Possible side effects of a chemical peel

While side effects can vary from person to person, chemical acne peel treatments are generally safe when a licensed aesthetician supervises.

Redness and Swelling:

Many people experience temporary redness, dryness, stinging or burning, and swelling. In some cases, this may result in permanent loss of the ability to tan or skin discoloration. After a chemical peel, your skin might feel slightly sore for several days. This is normal as the skin sheds dead skin cells and re-absorbs new ones. You shouldn’t have any problem sleeping or generally eating after having a chemical peel, even if you do have some mild burning or stinging at first.


Scarring can be a worry with any skin peeling, including chemical peels. This isn’t to say it always happens or that you can’t avoid it. The scarring typically occurs when the formulator uses an ingredient that can cause inflammation or irritation or fails to neutralize the acid properly. You may be able to reduce the appearance of scarring with antibiotics or steroid medication.

Skin Discoloration

Acne peel treatment can leave it with a temporary or permanent discoloration. The affected skin may become darker (hyperpigmentation) or lighter (hypopigmentation) and can take up to a year for standard color to return. These charges vary, depending on the depth of the peel and the skin tone of the person who had it done. The extent of skin darkening will depend on the type of peel performed, the area treated, genetics, and other factors.


In rare cases, a person may experience an allergic reaction or a worsening skin condition such as herpes simplex. A chemical peel can lead to a bacterial, fungal, or viral infection, such as a flare-up of the herpes virus, which causes cold sores. You can take antibiotics to treat a bacterial infection. However, you will have to use creams to treat viral or fungal infections.

Liver, Kidney, and Heart damage

A deep chemical peel uses hydroquinone, which can cause the immune system of certain people to attack their body tissues. This can also trigger an allergic reaction. In addition, deep chemical peels might temporarily change the skin’s color, appearance, or sensation. A deep chemical peel can damage healthy tissue if contact is made with deep layers of the skin, even if it’s not visible to you.

Most side effects occur after a chemical peel and disappear within a few weeks of the procedure. Usually, doctors use phenol, a natural form of salicylic acid, to exfoliate the epidermis – the top layer of your skin. Because of this, doctors recommend deep peels only for significant skin conditions that haven’t responded to other treatments. If the doctor fails to take proper care, one could experience heart, liver, or kidney damage. Therefore, it’s essential to seek the advice of a reputable dermatologist.

What to expect?

Preparation for a chemical peel usually includes the doctor rubbing numbing cream on your face and covering your eyes. You may be given pain relief medication to help keep you comfortable during the appointment. If you’ve decided to go light, there’s little to no discomfort.

After the peel, your skin may appear red, tight, irritated, or swollen. You must follow your doctor’s directions for sun protection, cleansing, moisturizing, and applying protective ointments to your skin. Picking, rubbing, or scratching your skin can lead to infection and may increase recovery time. We suggest using a good skincare routine to soothe the skin after your acne peel treatment. It may take up to several months to see the full results of your chemical peel.

Final Thoughts

A chemical peel is a topically applied agent used to remove the top layers of damaged skin and stimulate new healthy skin. You can choose between different kinds of peels depending on your skin condition and the level of improvement you desire. Some people will benefit from light chemical peels, while most will need to have deeper chemical peels. The depth of the peel depends on the severity of the problem. Before beginning any chemical peel treatment, it’s essential to consult with a dermatologist to make sure the treatment will be safe and appropriate for you.

To get the most out of your skincare routine, you must understand how to maximize the chemical peel’s potential benefits. Most people who’ve gone through a chemical peel report that the process was so relaxing and rejuvenating that they felt like they had received a much-needed facial treatment.

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