A superficial chemical peel is a popular method of exfoliating the skin. During a chemical peel, a solution of diluted chemicals is applied to the skin. The most commonly used acid is glycolic acid, a natural acid that is found in sugarcane and many fruits. It breaks down the chemical bonds that keep the outer layer of dead skin cells attached to the face.
How it Works
Acne is primarily caused by hormonal changes that affect the shedding of dead skin cells and sebum production. Difficulty in properly shedding dead skin cells causes pores to become blocked, and the combination of blocked pores and excess sebum allows bacteria to grow, producing pus and inflammation. One of the more popular over-the-counter treatments for acne, salicylic acid, helps dead skin cells shed properly. A superficial chemical peel is a much more effective method of removing dead skin cells and unblocking pores, helping to clear up current acne outbreaks and also preventing future outbreaks.
Chemical peels can be done at a variety of different levels – superficial to very deep. The concentration of acid and the length of time it is left on the skin determines the strength of the peel. For treating acne, a superficial, or light, peel is sufficient as it exfoliates the skin gently without causing further irritation. Superficial chemical peels have a distinct advantage over deeper peels in that they have very few side effects, have no recovery time, and are very safe for most skin types.
What to Expect
During a superficial peel, the skin will be cleansed thoroughly. Next, the solution will be applied to the area being treated with a brush or cotton pad. Many people feel nothing during a superficial peel, but others report a tingling or warm sensation. After about 10 minutes, a neutralizing agent will be applied to the area, and it will be washed with lukewarm water. The skin may be red like a sunburn after the treatment. It is essential to carefully protect the skin from the sun for at least two weeks after a superficial peel, as your new skin surface will be sensitive.
For treating acne, superficial chemical peels are usually administered every one to two weeks. After four to six peels, most patients report dramatic improvements in their acne. After completing a course of six weekly peels, patients can often transition to a monthly peel to maintain control over their acne. Many individuals find that they get the best results if they combine chemical peels with other acne medications, such as topical antibiotics or benzoyl peroxide.
If you’re interested in a superficial chemical peel for your acne, Center for Dermatology in Lawrenceville can help. Our medical team will work with you to create a treatment plan that is tailored to your needs. Contact Center for Dermatology today to schedule your consultation.