Suitablity for Chemical Peels

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Medical problems

Whether you suffer from potentially life threatening medical conditions such as HIV or have a history of keloids (thick scars which are pigmented) you might discover that you are an inappropriate candidate for a chemical peel. Prior to being approved for a chemical peel you should be thoroughly assessed as to your medical history to check for any potentially dangerous issues. This could either prevent you from having a chemical peel or alter the chemical peel solution which is to be applied to your skin.

Cardiac/Venal/Hepatic Diseases

These may all influence your treatment. For example those with cardiac problems are commonly advised not to be treated with a phenol peel due to it’s proven cardiotoxic nature (it very rarely results in abnormal heart rhythms).


Those who suffer from HIV/AIDS should never undergo a chemical peel and neither should those with immunosupression . If you were to receive a chemical peel whilst suffering from any of the outlined conditions then you would further impede your skin’s appearance. Instead of being left rejuvenated the skin would not revert from the wound stage. Moreover, the likelihood of the wound becoming infected would increase and the risk of scarring would be vastly heightened.

Cold Sores (Herpes Simplex Virus)

If you have either a history of cold sores (which are caused by the herpes simplex virus) or currently suffer from cold sores then you should always inform a doctor of your situation.  You should  then be asked to wait for a few weeks until signs of the infection have cleared prior to being treated with a chemical peel. Alternatively, if you have a history of cold sores then you should be prescribed with anti-viral prophylaxis medication which will lessen the likelihood of an outbreak. This should be provided to you several days before you are due to be treated with a chemical peel.

If you were to be treated with a chemical peel and did not alert anyone to your history of cold sores then you run the risk of the virus being re-activated. When your skin re-epathilises (new skin cells have grown) you’re skin could therefore be marked by cold sores.

Pigmentation problems

If you have a history of keloids (pigmented, thick scars) you may still be able to be treated with a chemical peel but this could only be a superficial peel. Moreover if you already suffer from hyperpigmentation prior to a chemical peel, it is advisable not to be treated with one.

Current medication

It is important to inform the practitioner of any medication that you are currently taking as some medications have a profound effect upon chemical peels.  Exogenous estrogens, oral contraceptives and photosynthetic medications have been linked with predisposing you to unwanted skin pigmentation changes. If you are on a course of retin-A or retin-A derived medications then this could enhance the effectiveness of a glycolic peel, which could mandate a lowering of chemical concentrations

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