If you suffer from acne or discoloration, chemical peels can be an effective treatment to improve the appearance of your skin.
“There are many benefits to chemical peel treatments, and they can be effective for any kind of skin tone,” said Padma Chitnavis, M.D., Carilion Clinic dermatologist.
The process involves a dermatologist or master aesthetician applying an acid solution to remove dead skin cells and then peeling it off to reveal newer, healthier skin.
Chemical peels can be used to:
- Increase collagen production
- Diminish fine lines
- Reduce pore size
- Improve skin tone and hyperpigmentation
- Reduce acne breakouts and signs of scarring
Treatments last 30 minutes to an hour, and they require little recovery time, although multiple treatments may be necessary to achieve the best results.
Types of Peels
According to the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, there are three types of chemical peels that vary in the chemicals they use and how deeply they penetrate the skin:
- Superficial peels
- Medium-depth peels
- Deep chemical peels
Superficial peels treat acne, hyperpigmentation and melasma by using salicylic, glycolic and mandelic acids to penetrate the top layer of skin. This type of peel is unlikely to cause complications in skin of color.
Medium-depth peels use trichloroacetic acid to penetrate the upper portion of the second layer of skin, removing the top few layers. Medium-depth peels can help improve age spots, fine lines and wrinkles, freckles and moderate skin discoloration.
Deep chemical peels are used to treat deep wrinkles, scars or skin that has been severely damaged by the sun. They use phenol to penetrate the lower portion of the second layer of skin to remove damaged skin cells. This type of peel should not be used by people with skin of color.
A consultation with your provider will help determine the best treatment option specific to your skin care needs.
After Your Peel
Potential complications of a chemical peel include burning, itching, redness or swelling. In addition, patients of color may experience temporary darkening (post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation).
Dr. Chitnavis recommends wearing a moisturizer and broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, daily, following a chemical peel procedure.
For more information about chemical peels or to schedule a consultation with a dermatologist or master aesthetician, call Carilion Clinic Dermatology and Mohs Surgery at 540-345-6010. Visit online at CarilionClinic.org/skincare.