Acne, an uninvited guest, often appears on our faces at the most inopportune times. And for some, it persists beyond the turbulent teen years, accompanying them into adulthood. The quest for clear skin can often lead us down various paths, from holistic treatments to advanced clinical procedures. So, it's natural to ask, is there a solution as effective as a chemical peel to tackle it? At Aesthetic Envy, we understand the intricacies of skin health and are committed to providing treatments that combine science, efficacy, and individualized care. One such treatment that's been making waves in the skincare industry is the chemical peel. But can it really address acne and its after-effects?

Acne: A Quick Overview

Acne vulgaris, commonly known as acne, occurs when our skin pores are blocked by oil, dead skin cells or bacteria.  Inflammation leading to raised bumps can take various forms:
  • Papules: Tender, red bumps.
  • Pustules: Pimples topped with pus.
  • Whiteheads or Blackheads: Clogged pores that are either closed or open.
  • Nodules or Cystic Acne: Severe form of acne.
Factors like hormones, genetics, diet, stress or certain medications can trigger acne. While many cases can be managed with medications, some might need an advanced treatment approach, like chemical peels.

Understanding Chemical Peels

Chemical peels, as the name suggests, involve applying a specialized acid solution onto the skin. Appropriately executed by professionals like board-certified dermatologists or certified estheticians, they damage and subsequently shed the top skin layer for two weeks or more, revealing smoother and healthier skin beneath. These treatments are effective for:
  • Hyperpigmentation and various types of spots
  • Uneven skin tone
  • Melasma
  • Fine lines
  • Rough skin texture
  • Scarring, and yes, acne!

How Chemical Peels Reduce Acne Scarring

Chemical peels, as the name suggests, are procedures where chemicals are applied to the skin to "peel" away damaged or older layers. This exfoliation process reveals the younger, healthier layers beneath, encouraging the skin's natural repair mechanisms.

Skin Cell Turnover

Our skin sheds millions of dead cells daily. Over time, these can accumulate, leading to dullness and clogged pores. Chemical peels expedite the turnover, revealing newer skin cells faster. The removal of the outer layers pushes the skin to regenerate, meaning that the newer, smoother skin comes to the surface with a more even tone, making scars less noticeable. This can significantly reduce surface irregularities.

Collagen Production Boost

Acne scars often create indentations or raised patches on the skin. Collagen is a protein responsible for the skin's elasticity and firmness. When the skin is injured, collagen fibers work to mend the damage, a process that plays a significant role in scar formation. Chemical peels stimulate increased collagen production, which can help smooth out the appearance of depressed acne scars, making them less noticeable.

Pore Cleansing

Acne is often the result of clogged pores. When sebum, dead skin cells, and bacteria accumulate in a pore, it can become inflamed and result in pimples. By removing the outermost layers of the skin, chemical peels can unclog pores, preventing future breakouts and reducing the chances of new scars forming.

Hyperpigmentation Reduction

Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) is a common after-effect of acne, where the skin darkens at sites of previous inflammation. Certain chemical peels can specifically target this melanin buildup, reducing the visibility of these dark spots.

Texture Improvement

Acne scars often leave the skin's texture uneven, with a combination of raised and depressed scars. By promoting uniform skin shedding and collagen regeneration, chemical peels can lead to a more even skin texture over time. Purging often presents itself as small, white bumps or tiny whiteheads, while new acne can be more varied in appearance, ranging from cystic acne to blackheads.

Unclogging Pores

One of the primary causes of acne is clogged pores. Chemical peels can effectively unclog these pores, reducing the chances of future breakouts and addressing one of the root causes of acne.

New Pimple or Post-Peel Skin Purging?

Many patients notice small breakouts or bumps post-peel and wonder if it's a new acne formation due to the peel itself. This phenomenon is often referred to as 'skin purging'. Here's how to differentiate between the two:


New acne tends to appear in areas where you don't usually have breakouts, while purging often occurs in places where you typically get acne.


While new pimples might linger, purging typically subsides faster as the skin exfoliates post-peel.

Types of Chemical Peels

Since our skin is a multi-layered organ, different scars require different treatment depths. While superficial peels can treat minor discolorations, deeper scars need medium-depth peels. 

Superficial or Lunchtime Peels

Superficial peels, often called "lunchtime peels, " specifically target the epidermis, the skin's outermost layer. These peels are favored for treating minor skin imperfections like mild discoloration, surface acne and light sun damage. Their appeal lies in their convenience: they typically take a short amount of time, often as quick as one's lunch break, hence the moniker. Moreover, the aftermath is generally mild, with potential brief redness or tightness, allowing individuals to return to their daily routines almost immediately with little to no downtime.

Medium-Depth Peel

A medium-depth peel delves deeper, reaching and affecting parts of the dermis, the skin's second layer. Due to its more profound penetration, this peel is particularly beneficial for addressing moderate skin concerns. These might include age spots, deeper wrinkles and moderate acne scarring. After undergoing a medium-depth peel, patients might experience redness, flaking and mild discomfort for several days. The results, however, tend to be more noticeable and long-lasting compared to superficial peels.

Deep Chemical Peel

The most intensive of the three, deep chemical peels target the deeper portions of the dermis, making them suitable for treating severe skin issues such as pronounced wrinkles, extensive sun damage, or significant scarring. Given their depth and intensity, these peels often utilize more potent chemical agents and may require local anesthesia or sedation. The skin may be red, swollen and tender after the procedure, necessitating an extended recovery period. Patients might need to take time off work and daily activities. Proper aftercare, which could involve prescribed ointments and careful monitoring, is crucial. The trade-off is that the results can be dramatic, significantly improving the skin's appearance and texture. However, due to the intensity of deep peels, they are typically a one-time procedure, and only some are suitable candidates.

Which Chemical Peel Is Good For Acne?

Several types of chemical peels are available, varying in strength and ingredients. For treating acne specifically, here are some of the most recommended:

Salicylic Acid Peels

Best for oily and acne-prone skin, salicylic acid is oil-soluble, meaning it can penetrate deeper into the pores and exfoliate from within. This peel not only addresses active acne but also helps reduce the appearance of scars.

Glycolic Acid Peels

This alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) is excellent for treating surface scars. Glycolic acid stimulates collagen, aiding in the skin's natural healing process.

Combination Peel

A combination of salicylic acid, lactic acid and resorcinol, this is designed to treat more severe forms of acne. Its multi-acid composition ensures a comprehensive treatment, targeting acne, scars and pigmentation.

The Detailed Experience of a Chemical Peel Treatment

A chemical peel, while being a straightforward procedure, offers transformative results. While the actual treatment lasts a short duration, the journey from consultation to seeing the full results spans a few weeks. Each step, from preparation to the post-peel phase, is crucial in ensuring the efficacy and safety of the treatment. At Aesthetic Envy, we guide you through each stage, ensuring your journey to rejuvenated skin is seamless and satisfying. 


Your journey begins with a one-on-one consultation with a skincare specialist. Your skin's current condition, concerns and desired outcomes will be discussed during this time. You will also be informed about the different types of peels and which one would be most suitable for your skin type and concern.

Skin Preparation

1 to 2 weeks before the actual peel You may be prescribed specific topical treatments based on your skin analysis to prepare your skin. This might include retinoids, glycolic acid or other products that prime your skin for the peel, ensuring maximum efficacy and minimizing potential side effects.

The Procedure

Takes 1 to 2 hours Your face will be thoroughly cleansed using a gentle cleanser to remove oils and dirt. Next, the appropriate chemical solution will be applied to your skin. You might feel a stinging or tingling sensation – this is the active ingredient at work. The chemical solution is then neutralized and removed after the desired time. For some peels, a neutralizing step isn't required. Instead, the solution remains on the skin.

Post-Peel Phase

During this period, it's essential to keep the skin moisturized and protected from the sun. Here's what you can generally expect post-procedure: Days 1-2: Expect mild redness akin to sunburn and potential tightness. Days 3-5: The skin starts peeling or flaking. This is a natural part of the exfoliation process. Days 6-7: The skin might continue to peel for deeper peels, revealing a fresh layer beneath. Days 7 and beyond: The skin begins to appear rejuvenated, smoother and more radiant.

Expected Results

Texture and Tone

You'll notice a considerable improvement in your skin's texture and tone. The skin will feel smoother, and discoloration or unevenness will significantly reduce.

Acne and Scars

Active acne may decrease, and the appearance of acne scars can be softened.

Fine Lines and Wrinkles

These might become less visible, especially with medium to deep peels.

Pore Size

Many patients notice a reduction in the size of their pores.


A post-treatment consultation within one to two weeks after your treatment ensures that your skin is healing well and allows you to discuss the results and any further treatments or skincare routines with your specialist.

Post-Peel Care & Side Effects

Just as with any medical procedure, there are specific post-treatment guidelines to follow after undergoing a chemical peel. Applying sunscreen and moisturizer regularly to protect and hydrate the skin is essential. Additionally, patients should diligently use any topical treatments prescribed by their dermatologist.  For at least 48 hours post-peel, it's recommended to steer clear of makeup, tanning, or prolonged sun exposure. Engaging in intense physical activities should be avoided for the first 24 hours to ensure optimal healing. Lastly, resisting the urge to pick at any peeling skin is crucial, as this can lead to complications and diminish the procedure's effectiveness.

Ideal Candidates for Chemical Peels

Chemical peels are great for many conditions and skin types, but it’s not for everyone.  Here are some factors to consider:

Desire for Brighter Skin

Individuals aiming to rejuvenate and brighten their complexion stand to benefit immensely from chemical peels.

Mild to Moderate Acne Sufferers

Those looking to combat persistent acne or reduce the appearance of acne scars can consider chemical peels.

Addressing Skin Imperfections

Whether it's fine lines, wrinkles, sun spots, or hyperpigmentation, chemical peels can address a range of skin issues.

Routine Maintenance

For those aiming to maintain youthful skin or prevent skin issues, chemical peels can be an addition to their regular skincare routine.

Who Should Not Get Chemical Peels?

You should skip a chemical peel treatment if you have the following skin conditions:

Skin Infections

Individuals with current or recent bacterial or fungal infections should avoid chemical peels until wholly recovered.

Recent Acne Medication

Patients on specific acne treatments in the past year might need to hold off. The skin might be too sensitive or reactive.

Scarring Concerns

People with a history of keloids or atypical scars should inform their dermatologist, as they might be at increased risk post-peel.

Immune-Related Conditions

Those with certain immune-related diseases might experience complications or slower healing.

Pregnant or Nursing Mothers

While the risk is minimal, avoiding caution during pregnancy or breastfeeding is always better.

Unrealistic Expectations

Chemical peels are powerful, but they're not magic. Understanding that multiple sessions might be necessary for optimal results is crucial.

Deeper Skin Color and Chemical Peels

It's a myth that individuals with darker skin cannot or should not undergo chemical peels. While it's true that darker skin tones have specific considerations, especially concerning post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, modern dermatology is well-equipped to provide safe and effective treatments for all.

Starting Mild

For darker skin, dermatologists typically begin with superficial peels, such as glycolic acid at 20% concentration or salicylic acid at the same strength.

Progressive Intensity

As the skin's tolerance and reaction are observed, dermatologists can gradually increase the strength or opt for combination peels.

Avoiding Deep Peels

Deeper chemical peels pose risks for darker skin tones, including significant hyperpigmentation or damage. They're generally not recommended.

Clear Acne and Scars with a Chemical Peel in Sacramento!

Acne can be a challenging condition, impacting one's confidence and self-esteem. But with advancements in skincare and treatments, clear, radiant skin is within reach. Chemical peels are undeniably effective in addressing various skin concerns, with acne being one of the primary ones.  At Aesthetic Envy, we emphasize the importance of individualized treatment. Not every skin type or acne condition will benefit from the same chemical peel. Trust in our expertise, and let us guide you towards the skin you've always dreamt of. Start by clicking here to schedule your consultation today!

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