I'm 17 and have problems with Acne coming back, should I get a Chemical Peel?

I am 17 and I have had problems with acne since I was 14. I have had treatment but it alwayd came back :(....I was thinking of a chemical peel as my next option, should I do it?

Doctor Answers 6


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Acne is an extremely common skin condition that can occur at any point in any person’s life—from the teenage years through to middle age. We know that patients feel more confident with clear, beautiful skin—why we work with each patient to customize a long-term, effective treatment plan.With the latest advances in acne—all available at our practice—there’s no reason for anyone to suffer from acne anymore.

We work with each individual patient to customize a treatment plan that targets his/her acne. This could include:
Topical acne treatments: You can apply to the skin to help kill bacteria, reduce oil, and/or exfoliate the dead skin cells so they don’t clog the pores. These include in-office chemical peels and prescription products you can use on your skin at home.
Oral acne treatments: To treat acne cysts and nodules. These prescription medicines can include antibiotics (to kill the bacteria and reduce inflammation), or isotretinoin (which treats all causes of acne).
State-of-the-art in-office procedures: Can help treat acne. These treatments include lasers and light therapy (to reduce bacteria on the skin and reduce the scars, redness, and marks that acne can leave behind), chemical peels (which slough off the dead skin cells that are clogging the pores), and acne removal (we can inject large medicine to reduce inflammation fast and drain large cysts to prevent the possibility of scarring).

New York Dermatologist
4.7 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

A Series Of Superficial Peels Can Work Well To Treat Acne in People Of Color

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The genetic predisposition to forming plugged-up, inflamed pores is the underlying cause of acne vulgaris, or so-called  typical "teenage" acne. Unfortunately, acne is a chronic condition, which means it will have its ups and downs over time until the genes (the family trait predisposition) say it is time to stop--and this may mean it can continue to be a problem into a person's twenties, thirties and forties, and even beyond. While, unfortunately, at present, we do not have any cure for acne, we do have a whole range of very effective prescription topical and oral treatments and effective in-office techniques to help people during those disturbing times when acne flares up.

Although there has been much hype and media attention to the use of lasers and light therapies for treating acne, overall, I have found the results of these to be disappointing. Tried and true, proven, at-home therapies include the use of prescription-strrength retinoids, alone, or in combination with benzoyl peroxide, topical antibiotics, and salicylic acid. For more severe or difficult-to-control cases, there may be the need for the addition of a short course of an oral antibiotic, such as doxicycline or azithromycin, among others.

Time-tested, in office treatments include a thorough professional cleaning of whiteheads and blackheads and the injection of anti-inflammatory agents to shrink large pimples, nodules, and potentially scarring cysts. In addition, the physician may recommend treatment with a series of glycolic or salicylic acid peels, both of which have been shown in studies (and born out during my over thirty years of experience using them) to be extremely helpful in speeding acne clearing and which can be safely used in people of color without concern for causing permanent or long-lasting pigmentary irregularities.

Consultation with a board certified dermatologist with extensive expertise and experience in treating "teenage" acne in people of color is strongly recommended.

Nelson Lee Novick, MD
New York Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

The Laser Equivalent of a Chemical Peel

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Yes, it is true that at your age, the acne has a lot to do with hormonal changes which affect the size and activity level of sebaceous glands which secrete oil. A safer alternative to chemical peels and oral medications is the Spectra laser, which gives results that are comparable to a chemical peel if not better. Your skin will be covered in a photo sensitive lotion which interacts with the laser to give fairly quick results. Blockages in your pores will be cleared out. Bacteria which later causes inflammation and subsequent acne scars will be killed. And also the laser decreases the activity of the sebaceous glands, which secrete oil that contributes to the acne condition. Results are a lot more predictable than a chemical peel too. 

Sanusi Umar, MD
Redondo Beach Dermatologic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Chemical Peels

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Due to your dark skin type, I would not use an invasive chemical peel as is done by  a plastic surgeon but you may benefit from one done by an aesthetician as well as treatment with the Hydrafacial machine or Oxygen Infusion Facial. Use these in conjunction with a light peel . Deep peels and lasers with your dark skin will lead to hypopigmentation.

Chemical Peel or Other

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Any exfoliating type of skin care procedure will help with acne. At your age, it is still very common for young adults to experience hormonal acne. I would schedule an appointment with a local Dermatologist or Aesthetician to discuss options.


Philip Young, MD
Bellevue Facial Plastic Surgeon

Chemical peels help clear acne when all else fails.

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Chemical peels do help acne at any stage of the game and are easy to undergo for modest cost.  They exfoliate the acne prone skin and even out skin color.  Usually a series of peels are needed to make a significant difference.  Sincerely,

David Hansen,MD

David Hansen, MD
Beverly Hills Dermatologic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 46 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.