I Recently Had a Med Chemical Peel. My Skin Hasn't Recovered and I'm Noticing Breakouts. Before This, I Never Broke out ): Help?

My doc suggested a medium chemical peel for my scars that my pimples left behind. I've never had acne. After getting the peel, I am in the recovery stage and my skin had a break out. I've never has such a bad break out. My doc suggested that I have another peel done. But I suspect the chemical peels causing it. My doc. has asked me to trust her but I am really confused and depressed since I've never in my 19 yrs had such a horrible break out. What do I do?! Please help!

Doctor Answers 3

Breakouts after a chemical peel

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Breakouts after a chemical peel are normal. Sometimes even if your skin appears healthy on the surface you can have underlying bacteria and pigmentation that has not come up yet. Because peels accelerate you cell turnover, it is normal to have a purging phase when you first start treating the skin. During this beginning stage you can notice things such as breakouts and areas of pigmentation getting darker. You will get thru this phase, continue doing a peel regimen every 6 to 8 weeks depending on your skin type until your skin seems to be clearing up. After this you can extend the time between your peels if you would like, meanwhile using a good skin care regimen.

While you are getting peels done it is important to keep your skin clean and hydrated, you new skin is exposed and is more susceptible to bacteria and sun damage. Wear sunscreen and kept your sun exposure to a minimum! SPF is one of the most important factors in protecting your skin from damage.

Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Milia after a chemical peel

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Without a photograph it sounds like you have developed milia which are small cysts under the skin.  These may need to be extracted by an aesthetician.  See a physician who is experienced with chemical peels if you are unsure about your current course of treatment.  

Jeffrey Zwiren, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Chemical peels can uncover deep-set, evolving acne lesions.

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As a dermatologist, I feel chemical peels can be a highly useful adjunct to removing unwanted acne scars.  However, chemical peels fall under "exfoliating agents".  Such agents can "unmask" and accelerate appearance of hidden acne lesions that have not yet evolved to the surface. I call this the "purging phase".  Fortunately, chemical peels enhance more rapid unclogging of pores, and with appropriate medical guidance and continued acne maintenance at home, the complexion eventually usually improves nicely.

Windell C. Davis-Boutte, MD
Atlanta Dermatologic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 228 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.