If you’ve ever had acne or have it right now, you know how difficult it can be to eliminate those irritating bumps, blackheads and whiteheads on your face. Acne is the most common skin condition globally and affects most teens and young adults at some point in their lives. Less commonly, acne will appear out of the blue, usually associated with hormonal changes such as pregnancy or menopause.
The good news is that acne can be treated with a chemical peel. They’re an excellent treatment to clear up acne and get rid of the appearance of acne scars. However, chemical peels must be conducted with care and handled by a qualified professional. Here, we’ll outline chemical peels, the types of chemical peels, and which peels could be suitable for your skin.
What is acne?
Acne, known as acne vulgaris, occurs when your pores become clogged with excess oil, dirt, dead skin cells or bacteria. In some cases, these clogged pores can cause significant inflammation. Acne is most common in teenagers and young adults; however, sometimes acne can develop in older age. Symptoms of acne can vary, but in general, they include:
- Pustules or pimples with pus at the tips
- Papules or small, tender, red bumps.
- Whiteheads or blackheads are closed or open clogged pores.
- Large nodules or cystic acne
Acne can arise due to hormones, genetics, stress, poor diet or as a side effect of medication. Most cases can be treated well with medication, both prescription and over-the-counter; however, some patients with acne find they need stronger treatments. Over time, large nodules or cystic acne scars can form if not treated.
What are chemical peels?
Chemical peels are specialist acid solutions applied to the face by a professional esthetician. When applied correctly, this acid solution damages and removes the top layer of skin over a period of 2 weeks or sometimes more. The peel reveals the new smooth, healthier skin underneath. Chemical peels have become increasingly popular and can treat a range of skin conditions, not just acne. These include:
- Uneven skin tone
- Fine lines and wrinkles
- Hyperpigmentation (dark spots)
- Sun spots, age spots, and liver spots
Chemical peels are applied over several sessions and can treat even deep acne scars. Your practitioner will use different types of peels depending on your skin condition and target different layers of your skin.
Types of chemical peel
Our skin comprises different layers, i.e. the stratum corneum, epidermis, dermis and subcutaneous tissue. Different chemical peels impact our skin at different depths; thus, there are three types of peels your practitioner can perform.
The restore peel is good for darker skin, rosacea, sun damage, uneven skin tone, poor texture, inflammatory acne and blocked pores. Mandelic acid contains unique antibacterial and antimicrobial properties and, over time, can help repair damaged skin and is extremely beneficial in reducing fine lines and wrinkles. It’s also perfect for patchwork peels to apply on flushed areas such as cheeks for clients who suffer from rosacea. This peel is suitable for all skin types.
Derma peel gives you that megawatt glow. It offers multi-surface exfoliation without irritation. Derma peel contains 40% lactic acid, which has the closest pH to the skin and can be used regularly to keep looking radiant and healthy. It’s suitable for all skin types and is ideal as a stand-alone treatment or in combination with Dermaplaning or Micro-Needling.
Regen peel is the ultimate rejuvenation peel, combining multiple peeling agents that work in synergy to target photodamage, inflammatory acne, moderate scars, oily skin, actinic keratosis, sun damage and pigmentary disorders. It contains pyruvic acid, which offers unique properties to treat many skin concerns. Pyruvic acid has been clinically proven to target acne by applying a monolayer (superficial peeling). Two layers will offer a medium-depth peel to reach the upper dermis for clients with photo-ageing problems.
Your practitioner will discuss your skin care needs at consultation and help you decide which chemical peel to choose for the best results.
Which chemical peel is best for acne?
Your practitioner will perform a superficial or medium-depth peel to treat your acne. Superficial peels can help mild acne and improve the texture and tone of your skin. Medium peels will help moderate to severe acne scars and improve the appearance of wrinkles and hyperpigmentation.
Superficial peels will usually contain one or more of the following:
- Glycolic acid
- Salicylic acid
- Lactic Acid
- Mandelic Acid
- Trichloroacetic acid (TCA)
Moderate peels are usually made with higher concentrations of these acids or a combination of acids to create a more effective solution.:
- TCA between 35% to 40%
- Glycolic acid at 35% or higher
It may be recommended for some patients to have a deeper chemical peel. This is often the case if you have severe cystic acne or deep acne scars. Deep peels contain phenol or TCA beyond 50%. Phenol, in particular, is known for its ability to treat deep-seated acne and acne scars.
What are the benefits of chemical peels on acne?
To give you the best results, your practitioner will perform several chemical peels over several weeks. Deep chemical peels are done once and need an extended healing period, but after the complete treatment and the chemical peels have removed damaged skin, you’ll find your acne clears up.
There are some added benefits to chemical peel treatments, too, such as improving the absorption of topical treatments you can use to keep your acne at bay. Chemical peels also reduce pore size and may decrease sebum production, the oil that can cause acne, meaning you’ll get fewer outbreaks in the long term. You’ll be left with beautifully clear, glowing skin and renewed confidence without feeling the need to cover up your face.
How chemical peels are used to treat acne
After your initial consultation, follow all instructions before your peel, such as avoiding excess sun exposure, makeup and exfoliating.
On the day of your treatment, your practitioner will first cleanse your face. Then, the prepared chemical solution is applied to the face with an applicator. The peel stays on the skin for a few minutes before being deactivated with a neutraliser to prevent any burning. The process takes around 20 minutes, a little longer for deeper peels.
At The Body Work Clinic, we pride ourselves on offering a wide range of treatments to suit all patients. We want all prospective clients to feel confident and informed about the range of services on offer.
Are you still unsure which chemical peel is best for you and your skin? Book a free consultation with our nurse, Ruth Holt, today by calling us on 01223 455144.