Facial Peels for Acne
Acne, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), stands as the most common skin condition in the United States, with about 85 percent of teenagers and young adults plagued with pimples. Most achieve clear skin with the help of good skin care and over-the-counter acne treatments. But for some people, extra help in the form of dermatologist treatments is necessary. Facial peels can help clear acne in patients who haven't had good success with other treatments, according to the AAD.
Hormone fluctuations common in the teenage years and early adulthood often trigger acne outbreaks. Acne occurs when hormones trigger the skin to produce too much oil, and this excess oil goes on to combine with dead skin cells to clog pores at the skin's surface. An oily environment is perfect for acne-causing bacteria to proliferate, which can cause inflammation. The result is a major breakout of pimples in the form of moderate or severe acne.
Facial peels, which are generally administered in the office of a dermatologist who is treating your acne, target the skin's surface, encouraging the cells to regenerate. There are two main types of facial peels available: chemical peels and laser peels. Both target only one or two of the different factors that cause acne, according to the AAD. Dermatologists generally use light chemical peels to clear dead skin and help work loose blackheads from pores. Meanwhile, laser peels help to shrink the oil-producing glands, which reduces skin oil and kills acne-causing bacteria.
Medical studies indicate chemical peels are effective in clearing acne for at least two months. In one study, published in 2008 in the journal "Dermatologic Surgery," a total of 20 patients with facial acne were treated with two different types of chemical acid peels. Both types of peels worked equally well after six treatments (spaced two weeks apart) to clear acne lesions, the study found, and the salicylic acid treatment used kept skin clear for longer than the alpha hydroxy acid treatment.
Meanwhile, medical studies also show that laser peels can effectively combat acne, although the effects may not be as long-lasting. In a 2009 study published in the "Journal of Cosmetic Laser Therapy," clinicians took 45 patients with mild to moderate acne and divided them into three groups: one group received laser treatment, one group received chemical peels, and the third group used topical medications. After 12 weeks of treatments spaced every two weeks, the laser peel group showed the best acne clearing, the study said. However, after treatment wrapped up, many patients in the laser peel group reported that their skin broke out again.
The AAD cautions that moderate and severe acne likely will require a combination of different treatments to clear. Facial peels using lasers or acid preparations can play a role in effective acne treatment, but your dermatologist likely will recommend some combination of facial peels plus topical prescription treatments to fight all the factors that cause acne.
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