52. Chemical peels

Doctor Jacob here, and today we're talking about chemical peels for the treatment of acne.

Chemical peels can actually be very, very helpful for the treatment of acne, but don't do them at home. Consult with a licensed aesthetician or dermatologist. A chemical peel done every couple weeks will certainly speed your improvement. They can be helpful for both facial acne, as well as acne off the face, for example on the back, shoulders or chest.

Glycolic acid peels are the workhorse of most chemical peels. Glycolic acid comes in a variety of strengths, and depending on the patient's skin type and recovery time, different strengths can be applied.

Salicylic acid peels can be used as well, though I generally prefer glycolic peels. For patients who are pregnant, a lactic acid peel does wonders. Lactate is present naturally in the body, and thus lactic acid is very safe. The king of chemical peels is the Jessner's peel. Jessner's peel is too strong for dark skin types, for example African-American, dark-colored Hispanic, East-Indian skin or even certain Asian skin types. Jessner's solution is a mixture of salicylic acid, lactic acid and a chemical called resorcinol, prepared in a ethyl alcohol base. It's basically the strongest that I would recommend going for acne in terms of a chemical peel.

Peeling can be extensive, so if you have the time to peel, the downtime to be out of the public eye maybe, or if you just don't care about peeling, it's not a bad thing if you wanted to do some Jessner's peels if you are trying to avoid oral therapy and you've tried the rest of things, then maybe think about Jessner's peels. But I wouldn't start there for everybody. I would usually recommend glycolic acid for most, lactic acid for pregnant patients and maybe for stubborn cases a Jessner's peel.

I'm Doctor Jacob, we'll see you next time.