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7 key things to know about Chemical Peels for Acne

chemical peels for acne

Chemical peels are a popular dermatological treatment for acne and acne scars. Here are seven key things to know about chemical peels for acne:

Types of Chemical Peels:

  • Superficial Peels: Use mild acids like alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs) to gently exfoliate the outer layer of skin.

  • Medium Peels: Often use trichloroacetic acid (TCA) or glycolic acid to reach the middle layers of skin.

  • Deep Peels: Use stronger acids like phenol to penetrate deeper layers of skin, providing more dramatic results but with longer recovery times.

Mechanism of Action:

Chemical peels work by removing the top layer of skin, which helps to unclog pores, reduce inflammation, and stimulate the production of new skin cells. This can improve skin texture, reduce the appearance of acne scars, and promote a clearer complexion.

Benefits of Chemical Peels for Acne:

  • Exfoliation: Removes dead skin cells that can clog pores and cause acne.

  • Reduction of Acne Scars: Promotes collagen production, helping to improve the appearance of shallow acne scars.

  • Oil Control: Reduces oil production, which can help in managing acne.


During a chemical peel, a dermatologist applies the acid solution to the skin. The process can cause a tingling or burning sensation. The duration of the procedure and the strength of the peel vary depending on the type used.

Downtime and Recovery:

  • Superficial Peels: Minimal downtime, with possible redness and peeling for a few days.

  • Medium Peels: Moderate downtime, with redness, swelling, and peeling lasting up to a week or more.

  • Deep Peels: Significant downtime, with redness, swelling, and peeling that can last several weeks. Post-treatment care is crucial to prevent complications.

Potential Side Effects:

  • Redness and Irritation: Common, especially with deeper peels.

  • Sensitivity to Sun: Skin becomes more sensitive to UV rays, requiring diligent sun protection.

  • Hyperpigmentation or Hypopigmentation: Changes in skin color, especially in individuals with darker skin tones.

  • Infection and Scarring: Rare, but possible if post-treatment care instructions are not followed.

Suitability and Considerations:

  • Skin Type: Some peels are more suitable for certain skin types and tones. For example, superficial peels are generally safe for all skin types, while deeper peels may not be recommended for darker skin tones due to the risk of pigmentation changes.

  • Acne Severity: Chemical peels are effective for mild to moderate acne and superficial scars. Severe cystic acne may require other treatments.

  • Consultation with a Doctor: Essential to determine the most appropriate type and strength of peel, considering individual skin conditions and goals.

Chemical peels can be an effective part of an acne treatment regimen, but it's important to have realistic expectations and to follow a dermatologist's advice for the best outcomes.

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Klinik De Era is your Premier Aesthetic Clinic located in Ipoh, Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Johor. Having been around for 10 years, we are the pioneers for treatments such as PRP, fillers, skin boosters, threads, lasers and many more.


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