ZocdocAnswersCan a chemical peel damage your skin?

Question

Can a chemical peel damage your skin?

I did my first chemical peel a year ago and I'm hooked. Is this actually bad for my skin and should I stop doing them?

Answer

Chemical peel, which is also known as chemexfoliation or derma-peeling, is one of the least invasive ways to rejuvenate the aging skin. As you may know already, the treatment requires that a chemical solution is applied to the skin to cause it to "blister" and eventually peel off to smooth the texture of the skin by removing the damaged outer layers. Serious complications rarely occur with chemical peels, especially when they are performed by a qualified and experienced professional. However, it is important to recognize some risks and uncertainties that accompany healing with chemical peels. These risks include, but are not limited to, skin infection (i.e., herpes simplex virus, Pseudomonas organisms, Straphylococcus or Streptococcus organisms, Candida organisms), lower eyelid ectropion, cardiac arrhythmias, renal failure, laryngeal edema, toxic shock syndrome, or facial scarring, etc. Infections are uncommon, but herpetic outbreaks can almost be expected if appropriate antiviral prophylaxis is not administered. Prolonged use of ointments after chemical peel may promote folliculitis and acne, especially in patients with a prior history. These complications can usually be treated with good results. Chemical peels are an effective and extremely satisfactory procedure. Careful patient selection and education are essential to both the patient's final result and his or her satisfaction. I strongly recommend you consult a dermatologist or plastic surgeon in person for more details.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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