Is It Possible That Most Doctors Can Be Bias About at Home Chemical Peels Because They Could Lose Clients?

I resently paid $400 dollars for a series of 5 chemical peel treatment for the acne on my back. My aesthetician said that I should be summer ready, summer is almost 2 months away and I finished the treatments. The spots are slightly faded but not gonne or have a drastic change in the appearance . I even purchased a $70 dollar a skin lighting cream that she said would make my results even better. Now she wants me to get another $400 dollars so she could get it completely. I haven't decided

Doctor Answers 4

Home Chemical Peels?

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Most chemical peeling agents are made of some form of acid, which when applied, leads to coagulative necrosis and injury to the skin.  The depth of penetration of the peel correlates with the degree of response or effect a patient will have.  Different skin types and different parts of the body have varying capacities to tolerate this type of injury and heal in a cosmetically acceptable fashion.  Any remarks that are seen on this website regarding home chemical peels are designed to enhance the safety of the viewing public.  Please see below a post I have already answered on chemical peels for more info.

Chemical peels at home

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We price peels as a service to our patients with little to no profit. Therefore, when we recommend to stay away from at home peels it is due to concern of doing treatments without proper safeguards. The starting point with any treatment especially peels is to find an expert and experienced physician who understands and cares about your objectives.

Performing Chemical Peels At Home

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Chemical peeling, like many skin treatments, typically requires knowledge, expertise and experience and does not come without risks and side effects. If done incorrectly, discoloration and scarring are possible even with lighter peels.  For this reason primarily, I do not recommend patients do chemical peeling at home. I know many people do glycolic and TCA peels at home without problems, but there are people who do them and who have serious problems, some long-lasting.  As a physician, I do not want to put a patient in harms way by allowing them to peel at home with materials that, despite their best efforts, could still cause damage. That being said, I do prescribe peel pads of lighter strengths of glycolic which my patients use at home, following my detailed directions.  In my practice, I do all the chemical peeling myself, assisted by my nurses. I do not believe non-physicians should be doing anything more than very light, superficial chemical peeling, and even those should be done under direct supervision of a physician. I recommend you consult with a board-certified dermatologist or facial plastic surgeon experienced in chemical peeling and using chemical peeling for acne and discoloration from acne. 


Chemical peels at home

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You have asked a very interesting question.  I cannot speak for everyone here, but I typically do not recommend at home chemical peels.  It's not the fear of losing money that worries me as much as it is concern about what happens if something goes wrong.  Permanent scarring can happen with superficial peels if they are applied with too much pressure or allowed to sit on the skin for too long.

That being said, I recognize that many people do Glycolic and TCA peels at home and are happy with their results.  I do not endorse this practice because if injury were to occur I would have harmed a patient and be legally responsible for it.  


Before committing to at-home-chemical-peels I would suggest meeting with a doctor that treats acne and is comfortable with peels. 

Hope this helps.

Christopher Kolstad, MD
San Diego Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 58 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.