Can a Chemical Peel Help with My Rosacea?


As we wrap up our focus on Rosacea Awareness month, we want to put a spotlight on another treatment option that may offer some relief: chemical peels. Now, there are differing opinions about whether a chemical peel is the right treatment option for rosacea sufferers. The main reason is that redness and skin sensitivity are its defining characteristics. Because chemical peels are inherently used to dissolve the topmost layers of dead skin cells, some argue this can cause added irritation. Other derms, on the other hand, have proven that making calculated choices when using acids and their applications have gotten great results when using chemical peels for rosacea.

There are many brands and varieties of chemical peels. It can be overwhelming to understand the difference between Obaji and PCA peels, or pumpkin peels and retinol peels. So, let’s just zoom out and talk about the main chemical peel types: superficial, medium and deep peels.

Three Main Types of Chemical Peels

1. Superficial peels consist of an alpha-hydroxy acid or another mild acid used to penetrate only the outer layer of skin. They are primarily used to improve skin discoloration and rough skin, but they are effective for creating a glowy, fresh complexion.

2. Medium peel, which are glycolic or trichloroacetic acids, go deeper into the middle layers of skin to improve age spots, remove damaged skin cells, fine lines, wrinkles, and freckles.

3. Deep peels use trichloroacetic acid or phenol to penetrate even deeper to remove moderate lines, age spots, and even shallow scars.

So, what’s the best chemical peel treatment option for rosacea symptoms? Most derms agree that using low concentrations (20 to 40 percent) of glycolic, TSA, or salicylic acids are the safest bet.

To avoid aggravating already sensitive skin, derms will likely avoid stronger applications and opt instead for a combination of treatments, which pair chemical peels or laser with medications and/or topical gels or ointments. Learning more about rosacea triggers and how to avoid them is equally important. And, as always, remember to keep that sunscreen handy at all times. Follow your post-care recommendations every step of the way to ensure proper and speedy healing, and to get the best possible results.

If you have questions about whether a chemical peel is right for you, talk to a board-certified dermatologist by requesting a consultation with The Derm Group or by calling 973.571.2121.