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Acne Peel Treatments

Acne Peel Treatments Acne Peel Treatments Acne Peel Treatments

An acne peel can rejuvenate the skin's surface and improve the appearance of acne. Acne peels vary in severity. Some are mild and have little recovery time---while others are painful and can take months to heal. A physician can help you choose which type is appropriate for your skin type and condition.

Glycolic Acid

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, glycolic acid is one of the mildest types of acne peel. Glycolic acid, a type of alpha hydroxy acid, is applied to clean skin by a doctor. This acid removes a small portion of the outer layer of skin. The process typically takes around 10 minutes. No additional ointment or bandaging is required. However, a doctor may prescribe a face wash with alpha hydroxy acid to help you reach desired results.

You may experience flaking, dryness, scaling or redness after treatment. However, these side effects are only temporary and should disappear as your skin adjusts. This chemical peel may need to be repeated several times until desired results are noticed.

Trichloroacetic Acid

The Mayo Clinic explains that trichloroacetic acid is often used in medium-depth acne peels. This type of peel removes both the surface layer and part of the middle layer of skin. You may be required to wear a facial bandage for several days following the procedure.

Because this procedure is more invasive than alpha hydroxy acid peels, side effects are more severe. They may include alterations in pigmentation, scarring, infection and severe discomfort. Your doctor will instruct you on how to take care of your skin post-treatment. He may suggest types of ointments, creams or facial cleansers to help the skin recover.


Phenol peels are the strongest of chemical peels. Although the results typically last longer than other acne peels, the recovery time is longer. This is because phenol works by removing deeper layers of skin tissue. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons reports that this type of treatment can take more than an hour to apply.

Although phenol acts as an anesthetic, sedation may be given to encourage relaxation. Recovery can take several months---but results are long-lasting. Be aware that phenol can cause extreme sensitivity to the sun, so you must always wear sun protection.

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