Using Chemical Peels for Acne

Acne is a complicated skin condition that has many causes and remedies.  Using chemical peels for acne can be beneficial for many individuals.  Chemical peels use hydroxy acids to improve acne by clearing pores, controlling oil production, and removing dead skin.  This procedure can be done by a skin care professional, but it’s possible to get great results at home.  It’s important to understand the best way to use peels at home so that you avoid irritation and burning.

Chemical peels typically use either alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) or beta hydroxy acids (BHAs).  AHAs  like glycolic or lactic acid are the most common ingredients found in peels.  BHAs like salicylic acid are less common, but they might be the best choice for chemical peels for acne.  AHAs are water soluble and great for removing dead skin and in strong concentrations, live skin.  BHAs are lipid soluble and are better at unclogging pores, which is a major contributor to developing pimples.  Salicylic acid also has anti-inflammatory properties, which is ideal for acne prone skin.

At Home Chemical Peels for Acne

Using a peel at home has many advantages over going to an office.  The first one is obviously saving money.  Professional peels can be very expensive.  Getting good results will require more than one peel, and doing them regularly works best.  All of these visits quickly add up to significantly more money than you’d spend on at home peels.  Peeling at home also allows you to gradually increase the strength of your products, which is critical to avoid irritation.  Professionals often skip this step because their clients are looking for extreme results.  You can now get professional strength products for home use, so you don’t have to sacrifice the quality of the peel you’ll receive.

Salicylic Acid is probably the best chemical peel for acne sufferers that deal with active acne.  It’s pore unclogging properties are very effective.  The anti-inflammatory properties are helpful for younger, more sensitive skin types.  In high concentrations, you’ll still get the skin peeling effect, which makes skin smoother and more even in coloration.  Glycolic and Lactic acid peels are better for adult acne that is infrequent.  These peels usually remove more skin, which also has anti aging benefits.  Removing more skin also help the peel reach deeper pimples, common in adult acne.  Both types of acids can minimize pores and regulate skin sebum production.  You can use both types of peels in your routine, and some peels contain both ingredients.

Exfoliation is an important part of eliminating acne.  Peeling is technically a form of strong chemical exfoliation.  Exfoliating removes dead skin and the debris that can clog pores.  This layer often keeps products from be properly absorbed, making them less effective.  If you are dealing with acne, add exfoliation to your routine by using a facial scrub regularly.

Severe acne sufferer should use caution when using chemical peels for acne, especially if you are currently having a bad breakout.  The peel may be too irritating if you have too many pimples when you use it.  You may also spread bacteria around your face, causing worse breakouts.  You should try to get your breakout under control by using exfoliation and mild salicylic acid skin care products like a lotion or serum.

Many chemical peels for acne contain strong concentrations of acids.  Salicylic peels are often used at 15% to 20% and AHA peels can be as high as 50% to 70%.  Using this strong of a product can irritate and burn your skin if you haven’t used acids before.  Your skin need to adjust to the acidity of the products gradually.  Start off by using serums and lotions that contain 2% of salicylic acid, or around 5% of glycolic or lactic acid.  You may already be using these products daily, as most acne skin care products typically use those ingredients at those levels.  Move up to stronger serums that contain 5% salicylic acid and 10% lactic or glycolic acid.  Work towards using those daily or every other day.  After doing this for a few weeks, look for the mildest peel you can find, like a 10% salicylic acid peel, or 20% AHA peel.  Once your skin can tolerate those, try the stronger products.

Chemical peels for acne can leave your skin dry and irritated.  You need to let it heal before repeating the peel.  You can use renewing skin care products, like mild Vitamin C lotions to help the new skin heal faster and in better condition than before.  Peeling also causes your skin to become very sensitive to sun damage.  You must use a sunblock daily to avoid burning, which can lead to hyperpigmentation.

You’ll get the best results by consistently using chemical peels for acne.  Don’t give up on them after just one session.  Using a peel once or twice a week in the beginning, once you can tolerate it.  After 6-8 weeks at that frequency, use it once a month to maintain your results.