Acne Chemical Peels

Acne Chemical Peels At A Glance

  • Best Results2-6 treatments
  • Treatment Recovery0-3 days
  • Procedure Time10 min
  • Skin SpecialistDermal therapist, nurse
  • Duration of ResultsVariable
  • AnaestheticNil required
  • Back to WorkImmediately to 1 day
  • Cost$

Acne Chemical Peels

Chemical peels are used to treat various forms of acne.  Most commonly alpha or beta-hydroxy acids are used.  Chemical peels work best in combination with topical treatments, tablets & a skin care regime to optimise the improvement of acne.  Our team at Cutis Dermatology can tailor a chemical peel program based upon your acne & skin type to help improve your complexion and texture.

Acne assessments by our dermatologists, nurses & therapists, a chemical peel starts at $98! No referrals are required for chemical peels.

FactsFacts on chemical peels for acne

  • Alpha-hydroxy acids (eg. glycolic acid), beta-hydroxy acids (eg. salicylic acid) & retinoid (eg. tretinoin) peels are best for acne
  • Treatments are light (superficial) with little no downtime.
  • Beta Hydroxy acid peels are ideal for blackheads, whilst AHA peels are better suited for acne associated with mild scarring
  • Chemical peels can improve acne, remove blackheads & congestion
  • Treatments start from just $98
  • You do not need a referral for chemical peels
  • Depending on your skin type, we recommend a particular type and concentration of chemical peel

How do chemical peels treat acne?

Acne Chemical Peels

Chemical peels work in 3 ways to help improve acne

  1. Exfoliate the skin surface.
  2. Reduce inflammation.
  3. Decrease bacteria involved in acne, Propionibacterium acnes.
acne chemical peels

3 sessions of chemical peels
Dr Davin S. Lim


What types of acne respond best to chemical peel?

  • Comedonal acne (“black-heads” and “white-heads”).
  • Inflammatory pimples & cysts – salicylic acid peels are particularly useful in this setting.

4 chemical peels combined with Vitamin A creams.
Dr Davin S. Lim


Chemical peels can be extremely effective for treating blackheads

3 peels

Dr Davin S. Lim

How do we perform acne chemical peels?


At your consultation, your dermatologist will prescribe a customised programme with the appropriate agent and concentration of peel for your skin type and sensitivity. A therapist or nurse will remove your make up & prepare your face with acetone for the chemical peel.

The agent is applied to the skin with a gauze applicator.

If glycolic acid is used, it is neutralised on the skin by the application of water. Salicylic acid or tretinoin peels do not need to be neutralised.

The whole process takes about 10-15 minutes.

BHA peels can markedly reduce blackheads & acne in only 1-2 treatments.

Are there any side effects from chemical peels?

  • Mild discomfort in the form of tingling or burning – generally well tolerated, subsides rapidly once peel ends.
  • Redness/swelling – typically less than 12 hours, sometimes slightly longer.
  • Peeling – usually gentle flaking for a few days after the peel.  Your dermatologist will recommend the right moisturiser to reduce this.
  • Pigment changes – especially for darker skin types, your dermatologist may put you on a fading agent and recommend lower concentration peels to reduce this risk.
  • Scarring – extremely small risk when done properly, under specialist care with superficial peels – picking scabs may however result in this.

What is the recovery period from acne chemical peels?

Superficial chemical peels performed for acne do not incur any “down-time”

Patients can return to work or school the next day. Sun avoidance is important, especially for the first few days after the peel, but cautious return with hat and sunscreen is often sufficient. VitA peels or vitamin A peels consists of tretinoin between 1-5%. This concentration is about 1000 X stronger then over the counter retinol. Most patients experience delayed peeling over 2 to 4 days.

Chemical peels are repeated every 2-4 weeks.

Retinoic acid peels are 200-400X stronger tham retinol.

Davin’s Viewpoint on chemical peels for acne

Salicylic acid and glycolic acid peels are an excellent and integral part of the combination approach towards treating acne. A good routine is to use it fortnightly in combination with home creams & antibiotic tablets. For acne or for patients not suitable for isotretinoin, the combination of retinoic acid peels with LED red light treatment can give another avenue for significant improvement with minimal down-time.

Our Specialist Nurses can assess your suitability of chemical peels, and will tailor an individual peel program based upon your skin type and acne.

Disclaimer: I do NOT teat acne, in the context of peels, I perform medium to deep peeling including Jessner TCA & phenol croton oil only.

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