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Are chemical peels safe?

From the acne clear and acne care perspective, it is safe if done properly and can be done along with a topical or oral acne regimen to achieve better acne treatment results.

In fact, chemical peels have become an increasingly popular option for us to treat acne and to minimize scarring from acne. There are several different solutions available for chemical peels, and each has its advantages and disadvantages.

Common peeling agents shall include α-hydroxy acids (or glycolic acid), salicylic acid, and trichloroacetic acid. Among them, salicylic acid which is fat soluble does have anti-inflammatory effects and may penetrate into those sebum-heavy follicles more easily than the water-soluble α-hydroxy acids. On top of that, there is usually more active peeling after a salicylic acid treatment than with glycolic acid. Hence, many consider salicylic acid as a very useful peeling agent in the treatment of acne.

As for trichloroacetic acid which can be used in strengths from 5% to approximately 20%, is generally a more active peeling agent for achieving a superficial peel. Because the strength of the peel does varies depending on how it is applied, and with the possibility of some risk of scarring associated with deeper penetration of trichloroacetic acid, as such this treatment should be done by a qualified dermatologist.

Light chemical peels is generally useful to help correct our surface scarring and hyperpigmentation (i.e. darkening of skin resulting from higher amounts of melanin in a particular spot). Although the light chemical peels do not penetrate beyond the upper layers of our skin, its light or superficial chemical peel may cause our skin to stay red for a few hours before returning to normal. It is considered unusual to have blisters or areas of bleeding after a superficial chemical peel and we should have no obvious peeling of the skin after the treatment.

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