Askanesthetician's Blog

An esthetician explores skincare issues and concerns

Can Chemical Peels Prevent Certain Skin Cancers? June 11, 2012

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 scrubsacid 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.

My Related Posts:

*  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

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5 Responses to “Can Chemical Peels Prevent Certain Skin Cancers?”

  1. zoesays Says:

    Really appreciate the tip. I’ve been using a gentle glycolic foaming cleanser twice a week (Mario Badescu) but have wanted to try a chemical peel, too. I am fair-skinned and get pigmentation easily. I’ll be looking into this!

  2. Geoffrey Barkhimer Says:

    When it comes to chemical peels, the best type is non other than TCA or trichloroacetic acid peels. The only donwside of TCA Peels is that it requires several months of recovery. *`,.` Take care

  3. Vinnie Says:

    Hello its a good article, I have a question been trying a glycolic 30% so my question is if it did not burn much ( lets say not all) or peeled much (not at all ) can we use it twice a week ?? Because first time nothing happened at all ?? Plz help!!!!

    • I wouldn’t use a peel more than once a week. I wouldn’t even use a peel every week, if it is professional strength. You need to let your skin heal in-between peels. Even if you did not experience much burning or peeling that doesn’t mean that the peel didn’t do something. Wait a week or so to see how your skin is doing. You never want to over do it.


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