Dermatologist Questions Dermatology

Do chemical peels remove blackheads?

I am a 32 year old female and I want to try a chemical peel for the first time. Do chemical peels remove blackheads?

6 Answers

I routinely use full strength glycolic acid and salicylic acid peels for freshening the face, treating acne and softening up blackheads and whiteheads making removal much easier.
Yes, in the right hands
Chemicals peels do remove blackheads. Generally the more superficial glycolic or salicylic acid peels are used. These peels are safe for all skin colors. Deeper chemical peels can disrupt pigment in darker skinned individuals.

In my practice I offer the dermasweep treatment, which combines a chemical peel with crystal free microdermabrasion. There is also suction to remove blackheads. A series of dermasweep treatments should help you.

Chemical peels may remove very superficial blackheads, but the deeper ones may need extraction. I have found that on some occasions, the lesions are not true "blackheads", but rather pores with oxidized sebum (oil) within. the oxidation (or contact with air) turns the substance dark. If the problem is pores with sebum, as I have described, then these certainly will improve with a chemical peel. Choose one with beta-salicylic acid for an oily complexion. Hope this helps!

Susan Schroeder, MD
Not usually, cp's may remove the black top. The remainder may need to be removed with an extractor. Chemical peels do make it easier and do work in prevention of future black heads.
Most likely not, chemical peels usually don't go deep enough to remove "black heads" or open comedones. But comedone extractions do and some aggressive facial procedures. Visit your dermatologist for more information and treatment options.