Should I start with glycolic acid peel or salicylic acid peel for acne?

My skin is sensitive, so I want to work my way up with chemical peels, build a tolerance to them. I have slight acne scarring and uneven skin texture, but it's the extremely clogged pores (especially my nose) that bothers me. I've heard salicylic acid peels are better for sensitive skin and improve inflammation, as well as evens out skin texture and mild acne scarring. And what percentage peel is best to start with? 3? 5? 10?

Doctor Answers 4

Seeing a board certified dermatologist for guidance is invaluable.

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For sensitive skin, there is no substitute for the assessment by a skin expert.  There are many who pretend to be experts in this subject.  However, there is absolutely no substitute for a cosmetically oriented board certified dermatologist to examine you, evaluate your history and based on the totality of your circumstance, make informed recommendations regarding what is best for your skin.

Beverly Hills Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Chemical Peels-Salicylic Acid Peels-Acne-Scarring

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Peels are a great way to improve acne.  But I don't recommend doing them on your own. If done incorrectly, and if the wrong product is used, scarring and permanent damage can occur. It is just not worth it.

Done in the correct hands, and under proper supervision peels are very effective.

In my office we utilize salicylic acid peels and have had good success.

I wish you the best.

Dr. Daniel Radin,  Dermatologist, Windsor, Ontario, Canada

Daniel Radin, MD
Windsor Dermatologist


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Thank you for your question. Please consult with a licensed provider before doing any at home treatments. I highly discourage DIY Peels, it is easy to cause permanente damage to the skin if done incorrectly. Without seeing your skin for a consultation it is had to say which peel would be best for you. This is something that your aesthetician will be able to discuss with you.

Best Wishes,

Pablo Prichard

Pablo Prichard, MD
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Avoid do it yourself peels

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You should consult a board certified dermatologist who can assess your skin and prescribe appropriate medication to help your concerns.  There have been many unfortunate results from patients treating themselves.

Martie Gidon, MD, FRCPC
Toronto Dermatologist

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.