Acne is a common skin condition affecting Australians of all ages. Although it's most commonly seen in teenagers and young adults, acne can occur at any age.
There are many treatments available for acne, including chemical peels. But what are chemical peels? How do they work? And are they right for you?
In this blog post, we explore everything you need to know about chemical peels for acne. If you’d like to learn more about our treatments for acne, please book your free consultation with Victorian Dermal Group or call us on 03 9071 4439
What Are Chemical Peels?
A chemical peel is a treatment in which an acid solution is used to remove the top layers of the skin. This can help to improve the appearance of acne, acne scars and other blemishes.
There are different types of chemical peels, and the type that's right for you will depend on your individual skin type and the severity of your acne.
Superficial Chemical Peels
A ‘lunchtime’, superficial or light chemical peel is the mildest type of peel and can be used to treat mild acne. Light chemical peels only remove the topmost layer of skin, so there is no significant downtime - hence the name!
Medium Chemical Peels
A medium chemical peel is a little more intense than superficial peels and can be used to treat moderate acne. These peels remove the outermost and middle layers of skin, so there is some downtime and recovery time required.
Deep Chemical Peels
A deep chemical peel is the most intense type of peel used to treat severe acne. Deep peels remove the outermost, middle and inner layers of skin, so a significant amount of downtime and recovery time is needed to allow the skin to heal.
How Do Chemical Peels Work?
Chemical peels work by helping to exfoliate the skin and remove dead skin cells. This can help unclog pores, reducing the severity of acne breakouts.
In addition, chemical peels can help stimulate new skin cells' growth. This helps to improve the appearance of acne scars and other blemishes.
What Types of Chemical Peels Can Treat Acne?
Many different types of chemical peels can be used to treat acne. The type of peel that's right for you will depend on your individual skin type and the severity of your acne.
Mesoestetic Chemical Peels
Mesoestetic chemical peels are a type of superficial peel that can be used to treat mild acne. These peels only remove the topmost layer of skin.
Mesoestetic peels contain a combination of acids, including glycolic acid, lactic acid and salicylic acid.
Glycolic acid is a type of Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) that can help to exfoliate the skin and improve the appearance of acne scars.
Lactic acid is another type of AHA that can help to moisturise the skin and reduce the severity of acne breakouts.
Salicylic acid is a type of Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA) that can help to unclog pores and reduce the severity of acne breakouts.
Mesoestetic peels are available in different strengths, so it's important to choose a peel that's right for your skin type and the severity of your acne.
Dermaceutic Chemical Peels
Dermaceutic chemical peels differ from Mesoestetic in that they are only available in one strength. The Dermaceutic peel is a medium-depth peel, which means it removes the outermost and middle layers of skin. This peel can be used to treat moderate acne.
Dermaceutic peels also contain combinations of various acids, including glycolic acid, lactic acid, salicylic acid and TCA.
Trichloroacetic Acid (TCA) Peels
Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) is a type of chemical peel that can be used to treat moderate to severe acne. TCA peels can help to exfoliate the skin, unclog pores and reduce inflammation.
You'll need to visit a dermatologist or aesthetician for a TCA peel.
Cosmelan Chemical Peels
Cosmelan is a type of chemical peel that's specifically designed to treat melasma, which is a condition that causes brown or grey patches on the skin. Cosmelan can also be used to treat acne, as it can help to reduce inflammation and pigmentation.
Having a Cosmelan peel involves applying a cream to the skin and then removing it after a period of time. This can be done at home or in a salon.
Some downtime is required with Cosmelan peels, as the skin may be sensitive and peel or flake. It's important to avoid sunlight and wear sunscreen during this time.
Dermamelan Chemical Peels
Dermamelan is a type of chemical peel designed to treat melasma and acne. It can help to reduce inflammation and pigmentation.
If you receive a Dermamelan treatment, the cream will be applied to the skin and remain there for a period to activate. This treatment can be done at home or in a salon.
As with Cosmelan chemical peels, there is some downtime required with Dermamelan treatments and the skin may flake and be sensitive. Wearing sunscreen during this time and avoiding sun exposure until your skin heals will ensure the best results.
Who Is a Good Candidate for a Chemical Peel?
Chemical peels have been used successfully to treat several skin conditions. However, they are not suitable for everyone.
You may be a good candidate for a chemical peel if you have:
- Cystic acne or other acne conditions
- Acne scarring
- Hyperpigmentation (dark spots), liver spots, skin spots or age spots
- Uneven skin tone
- Rough skin or a dull complexion
- Fine lines and wrinkles
You may not be a good candidate for a chemical peel if you have:
- Sensitive skin
- Active herpes simplex virus (cold sores)
- Active acne lesions (pimples, whiteheads, blackheads)
- Open cuts or wounds on the skin
Out of an abundance of caution, we recommend avoiding chemical peels for pregnant women or those taking certain medications.
There is a common misconception that people with darker skin tones should avoid chemical peels, too; however, this is not necessarily true. If you are interested in chemical peels and have darker skin, our experienced team can talk you through the options and possible risk factors so you can decide whether the treatment is right for you.
Peel Back & Reveal Healthy, Bright Skin
Before undergoing a chemical peel, it's important to consult with a dermatologist or other qualified skin care professional. They will be able to assess your skin type, discuss the benefits of light, medium and deep peels and the possible risks involved and help you determine whether or not a chemical peel is right for you.
If you're considering a chemical peel, here are some questions to ask your dermatologist:
- What type of peel is best for my skin type?
- What are the risks and side effects associated with the peel?
- How long will the peel take to work?
- How many peels will I need?
- What can I expect the results to be?
- Are there any alternative treatments that you would recommend?
After your dermatologist has answered your questions and you've decided to proceed with a chemical peel, the next step is to choose the type of peel that's right for you.
Glow On, Book Your Appointment Now
If you're concerned about your acne and considering a chemical peel, it's important to book a consultation with a dermatologist or skin specialist first. They will be able to assess your individual skin type and the severity of your acne to determine whether a chemical peel is right for you.
If you would like to talk to our licensed dermatologists about chemical peels, contact us on 03 9071 4439. We’re here to provide expert advice and a tailored treatment program for your skin to help you achieve a beautiful glow you’ll love.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do chemical peels get rid of acne scars?
Chemical peels can help to improve the appearance of acne scars by exfoliating dead skin cells and stimulating the growth of new skin cells. However, they are not a cure for acne scars and will not get rid of them completely.
Do chemical peels hurt?
Some people report feeling a stinging or burning sensation during a chemical peel. The strength of the peel will determine how intense the sensation is.
Are there any side effects associated with chemical peels?
Possible side effects of chemical peels include:
- Change in skin colour
- Change in skin texture
What is the recovery time for a chemical peel?
The recovery time for a chemical peel will depend on the type of peel that you have. A light peel may only require a few days of recovery, while a deep peel can take up to two weeks.
How much would a chemical peel for acne scars cost?
The cost of a chemical peel will vary depending on the type of peel, the number of peels, and the geographical location.
However, the average cost of chemical peel procedures by Victorian Dermal Group is around $500. Please speak with one of our trained dermatologists for a more accurate cost of chemical peels for your specific skin concern.
How many chemical peels to remove acne scars?
The number of peels required to improve the appearance of acne scarring will vary depending on the severity of the scars. Several deep peels may be required to combat deep acne scars.
Please book a consultation if you would like to learn more about how to treat acne scars, acne-prone skin or other skin disorders.
Do chemical peels bring out acne?
Yes, chemical peels can bring out acne. This is because they cause the top layer of skin to peel off, which can lead to the formation of new pimples. However, peels can also help to improve the appearance of acne scars.
Does chemical peel help with active acne?
Yes, chemical peels can be used effectively in treating acne. They improve the appearance of active acne by exfoliating the skin and reducing inflammation.
How often should I get a chemical peel for acne?
The frequency of your peels will depend on your individual skin type and concern. Please contact us for more information.
How do alpha hydroxy acids work to improve the skin's appearance?
Alpha hydroxy acids (AHA) work by exfoliating the top layer of skin, which can help to improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and acne scars. They are a chemical solution made of various acids, including glycolic acid, lactic acid, and tartaric acid.