These Chemical Peels for Acne Scars Are Dermatologist-Approved
Before getting into the science behind chemical peels, it’s important to note that there are two types of skin exfoliation: chemical and physical. The former, according to NYC plastic surgeon Melissa Doft, MD, is “an acid solution,” that does away with dead skin and pore-clogging impurities on contact. The latter involves massaging something that has a slightly abrasive texture over the skin in order to manually remove debris (classic exfoliating scrubs like St. Ives Apricot Scrub, $4, are physical exfoliants).
Chemical peels are a strong form of chemical exfoliation. Doft says that they “cause a controlled injury to surface skin cells.” It sounds a lot scarier than it is, but remember these injuries are on a cellular level (kind of like micro-needling). “The strength of the peeling solution will determine the level of injury to your skin,” Doft says. “After the skin is injured, it will peel off and new cells will replace the old ones. Stronger peels will cause a deeper injury and thus require more downtime to heal.” Since brand new cells replace the old, expect the skin to look more even, glowy, and fresh.