Chemical peels are a great way to rejuvenate the skin and an excellent way to treat many skin conditions like acne and hyperpigmentation. But it turns out that chemical peels can do even more than that – some peels might help prevent further development of superficial skin cancers.
According to Morag Currin in her book Oncology Esthetics *(page 134):
Superficial chemical exfoliations and peels are recommended for treatment of skin conditions that primarily affect the epidermis such as actinic keratosis and superficial skin cancers. There is a usually a decrease in the incidence of superficial skin cancers after resurfacing procedures.
Chemical exfoliation and peels are not the only treatment for skin cancers, however, any resurfacing procedures (the deeper the better) may actually decrease the chance of developing superficial skin cancers and precancerous lesions.
Strong chemical peels may kill very early skin cancer cells since the treatment removes the top layer of sun damaged skin, which can include precancerous cells as well as sun-damaged cells, and give the skin a rough, blemished and discolored appearance.
Renee Rouleau concurs on the same subject in a recent blog post of hers:
Exfoliation by using facial scrubs, acid serums and professional chemical peels are all popular treatments for shedding dead skin cells to improve the look and feel of your skin. But the latest research now shows another benefit of exfoliation: the reduction of the number of actinic keratosis–skin lesions that can develop into squamous cell cancer. For home use, physicians recommend glycolic acid serums in formulas up to 20%.
So remember – the next time you are considering a chemical peel as a way to treat your skin remember that there are added medical benefits to getting that peel.
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* I recently completed Currin’s 3 day intensive course on oncology esthetics and highly recommend it to all my fellow estheticians who are interested in working with cancer patients. I learned so much!
Image from myadvancedderm.com