Chemical Peel for Acne and Pimples

Recently, I have had 2 chemical peels which haven't improved my skin very much. Since having the peels, when my pimples heal they leave pits. Before the peels I had never had a problem with this. I had pimples, but they didn't leave pits after healing. Why would this be? Also, should I be getting chemical peels if I still have active acne?

Doctor Answers 7

Chemical peels for acne and pimples

Chemical peels can be an excellent tool to treat acne.  It is fine to get a peel when you have active acne.  The pits you are seeing are likely the result of the acne, not the peel.  It sounds like you need to see a board-certified dermatologist and get on prescription strength medication for your acne.

New York Dermatologist
3.3 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Yes, chemical peels can help with acne and scarring.

Different types of peels can help with acne and acne scaring. For overall improvement of acne and MILD scarring, glycolic acid peels at 20-70% can help. For acne that is comedomal (white heads, blackheads, congested skin), I would go for sal. acid peels. 18-23%. 

Sal acid is a beta hydroxy acid and can be anti-inflammatory, even 23% sal acid is super safe in darker skin types. 

Dr Davin Lim 
Dermatologist, laser and cosmetic
Brisbane and Gold Coast

Davin Lim, MBBS, FACD
Brisbane Dermatologist
4.7 out of 5 stars 75 reviews

Chemical Peels for Active Acne

With this type of problem, we would strongly recommend coming in for a consultation so a staff member can take a look at your skin. The most important thing is to not pick at the skin as the pimples are drying up, as that can leave scarring. Chemical peels are a great treatment for active acne, and a good product to supplement the chemical peels at home would be Retin-A, which is a nighttime product that aids in cell turn over and exfoliation.

Jeffrey W. Hall, MD
Austin Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Acne and pimples treated with TCA peels + MelaPads for acne scars pigmented

Acne and pimples can be improved with mild TCA peels and topical skin treatments. I use the Melaquin PM and Melapads for patients who have simultaneous brown spots from old acne scars. Surgery90210

Raffy Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 94 reviews

If you have open lesions I wouldn't do a peel

Chemical peels can help acne especially salicylic acid peels. But one of the most effective treatments for acne is ALA and Vbeam laser treatments. The ALA lotion is put on and is absorbed by the oil glands. The Vbeam laser than helps active the ALA and reduces acne lesions and redness. I often combine this with topical acne medicines for significant improvement.

Lenore Sikorski, MD
Orange County Dermatologist
4.3 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Chemical Peels are generally helpful.

Dear AcneSufferer

Generally chemical peel, usually 10 to 15% trichloroacetic acid are helpful. These are mild peels that help open up blocked pores.

You did not indicate who is performing your peels or what strength agent is being used on your skin.

There are an number of proven approaches to helping acne. I recommend that you find a board certified dermatologist in you area with an interest in treating acne. I think you will find a comprehensive approach will make a huge difference.

Kenneth D. Steinsapir, MD
Beverly Hills Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Chemical Peels for Acne

Chemical peels containing salicylic acid are better for treating acne because they have a better, more specific effect on the oil glands that cause acne pimples. The Obagi® Blue Peel RADIANCE is a new, salicylic acid based peel that we are finding to be quite helpful in controlling acne, along with a good program of effective, prescription-strength acne medications. I recommend you see a dermatologist for an effective treatment plan.

Mitchell Schwartz, MD
South Burlington Dermatologic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.