Chemical Peels For Acne
Depending on whether you have Inflamed or Non-inflamed Acne, what peel you get done to your skin will vary. Remember inflamed acne is very sensitive. Therefore, you will want something that will kill bacteria and reduce inflammation while being gentle at the same time.
Non-inflamed acne skin is quite resilient and can tolerate and actually needs a stronger peel. The key to getting rid of non-inflamed acne is exfoliation!
Here is my recommendation for best types of peels for Non-inflamed and Inflamed acne:
Inflamed Acne Lesions & Sensitive Skin
A combination of Resorcinol (anti-bacterial), Lactic Acid and Salicylic Acid. This is a light to medium peel that is a step above a basic AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) peel in strength and effectiveness. The Jessners peel is especially great for oily skin because of the Salicylic Acid (see below for more information on salicylic). Due to its blend of ingredients, one will see a reduction in oil production, bacteria and inflammation in the skin. This peel is appropriate for light to dark skin tones.
Salicylic (Beta) Peel
A BHA (beta hydroxy acid) derived from the bark of a willow tree. This peel is best for acne, oily skin due to its unique ability to penetrate and dissolve excess oil in the pores.
Salicylic is lipophilic which means it has the ability to dissolve and breakdown the oil in the pores that AHA’s, like glycolic acid, do not have the ability to do because they are hydrophilic. Salicylic peels are appropriate for light to dark skin tones. If you are allergic to aspirin, you may not have this peel.
Mandelic Acid & TCA Peel
A mild, medium-depth peel combines Mandelic acid, which is the mildest AHA and a derivative of bitter almonds, with a TCA solution. TCA stands for trichloroacetic acid and is a more aggressive solution that is able to penetrate deeper than an AHA.
This combination works well together as you get the anti-bacterial properties of the Mandelic and the lightening of hyperpigmentation from the TCA. Typically, most skin types are candidates for this peel.
Non-Inflamed Acne & Non-sensitive Skin
A mild AHA peel derived from sugar cane. This light, superficial peel is great for exfoliation when combined with other treatments such as microdermabrasion, dermaplaning and Isolaz Acne Treatments.
A glycolic peel exfoliates or dissolves the stratum corneum (outer most layer of the skin consisting of only dead skin cells) and does not affect the living layers of the skin. Therefore, it is safe enough to be used just before a laser treatment or other form of exfoliation to maximize results. This peel is best for light to medium skin tones.
A mild AHA that treats acne and wrinkles making it a great choice for adult acne. Due to its’ anti-microbial and anti-bacterial properties, this is a great peeling agent for acne including cystic acne. Results are seen quickly as dead skin cells and debris are rapidly exfoliated away.
Mandelic acid also inhibits melanin production, which is the cause of discoloration left on the skin after a breakout. With repeated use, one will see improvement in discoloration and acne scarring. This peel is appropriate for all skin types.
A medium-depth peel that is either combined with other acids at lower strengths or used on its own at 20-50% under the direction of a physician. This peel is great for Non-inflamed acne because it removes the stratum corneum (dead skin cell layer) and penetrates into the living cell layers. The TCA peel leaves behind fresh skin free of bumps, blemishes and hyper pigmentation.
In addition to its amazing exfoliating and re-texturing abilities, the TCA is also the best peel for reducing discoloration left behind from acne as well as sun damage. This peel is only for lighter skin types and should not be performed on medium to dark skin tones at full strength.