Acne is the commonest skin disorder across the world and affects men and women across all ages and skin types. The process leading to acne involves entrapment of excess keratin and sebum in the hair follicles in skin. This debris may further get infected by skin bacteria, transforming the open and closed comedones (blackheads and whiteheads) to active acne (pimples, nodules and cysts). Left untreated, acne may leave permanent scars, pits and pigmentation. Thus it is imperative to treat it at the earliest
Chemical peels are a useful tool for dermatologists to help speed up the resolution of acne. Excessive deposition of keratin is one of the main steps in the mechanism of acne formation. Peels help decrease and prevent acne by renewing the skin surface and reducing this build up of excess keratin and sebum on skin. Peels contain enzymes and medical grade acids which produce a controlled mild resurfacing of the outermost layer of skin, such as glycolic, salicylic, mandelic or lactic acid. The chemicals are derived from natural sources, such as glycolic acid from sugarcane and lactic acid from milk. Chemical exfoliation with peels makes skin smoother and increases the penetration of active ingredients into the affected follicles for quicker resolution of acne. Peels differ in the acid used and time of contact with the skin. Superficial peels used for acne are a simple ten minute office-based procedure wherein a mild peeling agent is applied to the skin with a brush under medical supervision and cleaned with specific neutralizers and water after a few minutes.
Superficial chemical peels cause no visible redness, skin peeling or downtime and require only gentle skin care and sun protection. In the few days following a chemical peel, skin is usually visibly clearer, with significant reduction in the extent and severity of acne. Your dermatologist may treat acne, with peels alone (one or more sessions at two week intervals) or in conjunction with oral and topical prescription medication, based on the skin condition, grade and severity of acne.