Do Chemical Peels Help Treat Rosacea?

Doctor Answers 6

No. Chemical peels are not ideal for rosacea.

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Thank you for your question.

There is no chemical peel that is good for rosacea. Rosacea is primarily due to possible faulty regulation of the blood vessels of the face, leaving them dilated and producing the characteristic redness. There are other hypothesized factors, but none have been proven as a definite cause. Over time, there are telangiectasias (permanent tiny blood vessels), and other signs of rosacea (acne, rhynophyma) that may occur.

Chemical peels work by removing the top layer of the skin (epidermis) and sometimes remove the second layer (dermis). The blood vessels are in the second layer and chemical peels do absolutely nothing to target them or remove them. A chemical peel is the wrong choice for rosacea.

To get the best treatment for your rosacea, you can do antibiotics, topical creams/gel, and laser. Currently, laser seems to the best solution for most rosacea, especially the Vbeam laser or the IPL.

Good luck!

Beverly Hills Dermatologist

Chemical Peels & Rosacea

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Depending on the type of Rosacea you have, it can help treat it. Without treatment, the condition can get worse. Because the signs and symptoms of rosacea can vary from one patient to another, we customize treatments based on each individual patient. These rosacea treatments can include a mix of topical treatments (including antibiotics and anti-inflammatory gels) and oral medications (including antibiotics), only if absolutely necessary. We try to avoid oral prescriptions and our patients appreciate our approach which is unique to our practice. Oral medications can help to reduce inflammation and clear up breakouts.
Our patients have achieved impressive results with our state-of-the-art lasers and/or intense pulsed light therapy; these treatments help to remove the visible blood vessels from the face—clearing up redness and dramatically improving the overall look of skin.

Chemical peel may worsen your rosacea

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Chemical peels are good for causing an exfoliation of the skin. They work best in patients that do not have sensitive skin. Patients with rosacea usually have sensitive skin and the rosacea can be worsened with use of chemical peels. It would be best for you to see a qualified dermatologist. Good luck.

Chemical peels and Rosacea

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People with Rosacea tend to have sensitive skin. Chemical peels can help with Rosacea, but I would only recommend very light peels. Anything deeper than a light chemical peel can cause increased and prolonged redness and greater skin sensitivity.

My preference for treating Rosacea is a combination of prescription medications and the IPL/fotofacial to reduce redness, inflammation and the small blood vessels frequently associated with Rosacea.

I would consult with your dermatologist to discuss which treatments might be appropriate for you.

Good luck.

Bryan K. Chen, MD
San Diego Dermatologist

Chemical peel often makes rosacea worse - Not recommended

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Definitely not. Rosacea skin is very sensitive. Acids, be it Salicylic Acid, Glycolic acid, trichloracetic acid (TCA), would all tend to flare up rosacea, as would the acetone or alcohol that is used in the prep.

Anything which causes the blood vessels to react, i.e. quickly dilate, will make it worse. I personally have seen Rosacea flares after patients went to "medical" spas for chemical peels.

Intense Pulse Light (IPL) would be a far more prudent choice.

Arnold R. Oppenheim, MD
Virginia Beach Dermatologist

Chemical Peel and Rosacea

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No, chemical peels actually increase inflammation in the skin.  Patients with Rosacea have extremely sensitive skin and cannot tolerate the extra exfoliation caused by a chemical peel.


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.