Review in peeling complications

J Cosmet Dermatol. 2017 Sep;16(3):319-326. doi: 10.1111/jocd.12329. Epub 2017 Mar 27.


Chemical peeling, a procedure wherein a chemical agent is applied to the skin to cause controlled destruction followed by regeneration and remodeling, is a dynamic tool for the treatment of acne, pigmentation issues, and photoaging [Journal of cutaneous and aesthetic surgery vol. 5 (2012) 254-260]. The results and complications are related to the depth of the procedure, with deeper peels producing more marked results and higher rates of complications. Complications are more likely with darker skin types, certain peeling agents, and sun exposure after treatment [Journal of cutaneous and aesthetic surgery vol. 5 (2012) 254-260]. They can range from minor irritations and uneven pigmentation to permanent scarring. In extremely uncommon cases, the complications can be life-threatening. This knowledge is essential to prevent, reduce, and eliminate the occurrence of complications [Cirurgia dermatológica em consultório. São Paulo: Atheneu; 2009]. Swelling, pain, persistent erythema, pruritus, allergic reactions, folliculitis/acne, infection, herpes recurrence, hypopigmentation and hyperpigmentation, demarcation lines, and scarring are some of the complications that will be discussed in this article. The first step in preventing complications is to identify the patients at risk. By doing so, complications can be anticipated, prevented, and, if they still occur, treated as early as possible.

Keywords: chemical peel; complications; erythema; peels; pigmentation; scar.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris / etiology
  • Blister / etiology
  • Chemexfoliation / adverse effects*
  • Cicatrix / etiology
  • Cysts / etiology
  • Dermatitis, Allergic Contact / etiology
  • Ecchymosis / etiology
  • Edema / etiology
  • Erythema / etiology
  • Eye Injuries / etiology
  • Folliculitis / etiology
  • Humans
  • Infections / etiology
  • Pain / etiology
  • Pigmentation Disorders / etiology
  • Pruritus / etiology
  • Telangiectasis / etiology