Treating Acne with Chemical Peels


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Acne vulgaris (acne) is a common skin complaint that affects the dermis layer of the skin (a layer deeper than the superficial epidermis layer) on areas of the body such as the face and back. There are multiple underlying causative factors which result in an individual suffering from acne, these include: hereditary disposition, hormones and bacterial infection. As a result acne is a difficult disease to treat and has no cure, however it can be managed and notable improvements can be made visible in terms of the sufferer’s skin, reducing irritation and improving self-esteem. Chemical peels are one of the numerous possible treatment options available.

What is Acne?

Acne occurs when the sebaceous glands, which lie within the dermis layer of the skin (below the top-layer also known as the epidermis) become overly active. The sebaceous glands naturally secrete an oily substance, which is called sebum. Sebum is a substance that is effectively released via tiny pores pitted all across the skin. However certain factors stimulate the sebaceous glands to produce excessive amounts of sebum. For those that are prone to suffering from acne the hormone testosterone acts to trigger greater sebum productive, as the body is particularly sensitive to  even normal blood levels of testosterone. Simultaneously dead skin is not properly shed from around the hair follicles, which causes the follicles to become blocked. Blackheads and whiteheads appear on the skin’s surfaces as a result.

If you suffer from acne then an acne chemical peel may be appropriate to your condition when previous treatments such as over-the-counter acne treatments and prescribed acne preparations such as Accutane have yielded disappointing results. If these topical medications fail to reduce, eliminate or control an individual’s acne, then a chemical peel may be a successful option.

The ideal candidate for an acne chemical peel treatment is someone who has superficial acne rather than another candidate who has deeper acne. Moreover if you have surface level acne scars their appearance can also be reduced by administering a chemical peel to the affected area of skin.  However, if you have active acne or it’s severity is to such an extent that you have deep ‘ice-pick’ scars then these can not be removed by chemical peels. If this is your situation then you should consider alternative procedures such as laser resurfacing.

Some cases of acne develop further, with the bacteria Propionibacterium acnes metabolising sebum (using it to gain energy) which  in turn causes skin irritation.  As the skin becomes increasingly irritated, hair follicles are plugged (blocked) by debris. This debris then erupts into the dermis layer of the skin causing the body to attempt to rid itself of this foreign body, effectively it is perceived as an intruder and sparks an immune response. This type of acne can be slightly alleviated by a chemical peel but you should always remember that it is by no means an ultimate cure.

It is vital that you should not be treated with a chemical peel if you are already undergoing a course of Accutane. Furthermore, for you to see if the chemical peel has helped your acne, rather than other factors, it is important to be treated with a chemical peel in isolation. 


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