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What Are the Best Chemical Peels to Treat Acne?

Cosmetician Applying Facial MaskAcne is a stubborn and an embarrassing skin condition that begins to affect many people in their teenage years. Blemishes form as a result of excess sebum production, bacteria, and a build-up of dead skin cells getting trapped in the pores. “Some of the best chemical peels for acne exfoliate the surface of the skin, increase the rate of cell turnover, and kill acne-causing bacteria,” shares Dr. Miriam Hanson, a board-certified Dermatologist and cosmetic specialist at Sanova Dermatology in Austin, Texas.

Mild chemical peels can be purchased at beauty retailers and are safe to use at home. For faster and more longstanding results, a dermatologist may recommend a more aggressive preparation or procedure.

Salicylic Acid Peel

Salicylic acid is a BHA, or beta-hydroxy-acid, which loosens the dead skin from the surface and allows the skin to shed dead cells quicker. It is one of the most common ingredients found in acne products. This BHA is great for reducing levels of acne-causing bacteria and thinning sebum. Salicylic acid peels are great for those with active white-heads and blackheads.

Lactic Acid Peel

Extracted from sour milk, lactic acid is an AHA, or alpha-hydroxy-acid, which also exfoliates dead skin from the surface of the skin. “A great benefit of lactic acid is that it balances the pH levels of the skin, which will improve the skin’s overall health,” mentions Dr. Hanson. This peel is generally great for sensitive skin and beginners.

Glycolic Acid Peel

Derived from sugar, glycolic acid is a potent AHA. Glycolic acid is found in many facial cleansers and anti-aging products because of its effectiveness in shrinking pores and reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. This peel also helps reduce mild acne scarring.

With any chemical peel, it’s important to wear sunscreen with a  broad spectrum and at least an SPF of 30. Removing excess layers of skin will cause the surface to be more sensitive and prone to sun-damage.

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No matter which treatment you decide to go for, it is best to contact a dermatologist who can correctly diagnose and treat your skin care needs.