Is a Chemical Peel Safe for Sensitive Skin?

Woman having chemical peel treatment on sensitive skin Is a Chemical Peel Safe for Sensitive Skin?

So you’re considering your first chemical peel because you’ve been hearing about them nonstop, but you’re worried about how your sensitive skin might react. Don’t worry; we have all the information you need on whether a chemical peel is safe for sensitive skin.

What to Know About Chemical Peels and Safe Skin

What Is a Chemical Peel?

A chemical peel is a long-practiced dermatological treatment that can treat a variety of skin concerns. A chemical peel is a fairly simple process, and it can be conducted right in your dermatologist’s office. A chemical peel starts with a gentle cleansing, removing dirt and dead skin cells. This enables the chemical peel to focus on the living skin where the issue is present. There is very little discomfort associated with the process, so in case you hear “chemical peel” and wince, just know it’s not so bad. You may feel a slight burning sensation while the peel is on your face, but it won’t last long.

Afterwards, your skin may look and feel sunburnt. The peel process refers to the chemical exfoliation of the upper layers of the skin on your face. An acid like salicylic or glycolic acid is often used during the peel phase. This damages the skin, and you’ll notice it peeling and flaking off in the following days and weeks. The skin that grows in its place should be much healthier and more defined. Since the skin was damaged, the body’s response to that trauma is more pronounced than a normal cycle of skin cells dying and growing. The body puts more work into growing skin after damage, meaning the many valuable substances the skin needs, like collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid, are all produced in greater quantities. The bottom line is: after a chemical peel, your skin should be looking and feeling better than it has in years.

Is it Safe for Sensitive Skin?

But there’s still the question, is a chemical peel safe for sensitive skin? On paper, a chemical peel sounds pretty intense, and you may be worried it’s not right for you. Fortunately, a chemical peel can work for most people. Sensitive skin doesn’t automatically exclude you from this incredible treatment. Instead, your dermatologist can dial back the intensity of your chemical peel to safely work on your sensitive skin. With that said, there are some allergies or other sensitivities that do exclude a person from being a good chemical peel candidate.

For instance, if your skin is incredibly sensitive, even to much less harsh chemicals and beauty products, a chemical peel isn’t going to be for you. If you’re looking for a chemical peel to treat acne, your doctor will make sure you haven’t taken Accutane for at least a year. The drug can cause your skin to be too sensitive and dry to properly cope with a chemical peel. If your skin is prone to open wounds or scarring, it’s also probably not safe to get a chemical peel. Immunocompromised people, people on chemotherapy, and people who are pregnant or nursing shouldn’t get a chemical peel. If you have herpes simplex, tell your doctor. A chemical peel is still possible, but you’ll need to take antiviral drugs in preparation for the treatment.

You can absolutely get a chemical peel if you have sensitive skin. A dermatologist is very experienced in determining a person’s needs and limitations, and chemical peels aren’t new. Being a commonly offered treatment for years has made chemical peels very safe for most types of skin.


Interested in learning more and getting your first chemical peel? Call the pros at Northeast Dermatology Associates to schedule your chemical peel consultation today.

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