Do chemical peels build collagen?

Dr Irwin, thank you for a great site, I seem to turn to it for so much of my information nowadays! My question is a rather straightforward - do chemical peels build collagen?

You’re so welcome! Do chemical peels build collagen in the skin? The answer is yes, but not much. The very superficial peels just refresh the outer layer, the epidermis. Medium to deeper peels will generally build a little collagen in the superficial dermis where the collagen, living cells, etc. are.   More on peels in my in-depth resource on it here.

What does work to build collagen in the skin

Deeper peels, in my opinion, aren’t safe unless done by experts because you start to risk permanent pigment problems and sometimes scars as side effects. Lasers and radiofrequency/ultrasound, done well and by experts, are  safer and more effective at building deep collagen. For example, Thermage uses radiofrequency energy to create a uniform heating effect in the deep dermis. This tightens existing collagen and stimulates the production of new collagen. It reduces wrinkles and achieves brow lifting, cheek lifting, and jaw line lifting. More on how this procedure works, who is a good candidate, heal time (spoiler alert, there’s no down time!) and costs in my resource on Thermage here.

The same thing is true of the filler Sculptra. Sculptra is an injectable liquid used to add volume to areas of the face to create a soft, natural, more youthful recontouring of the face. It builds your own collagen while it gradually disappears. The results are long lasting. For more info on what the procedure feels like, average costs, and who it works best on, see my in-depth Sculptra resource here.

Hope this helps,   Dr. I

Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

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Hi, I’m Dr. Irwin. I believe that consumers deserve a medically trained and unbiased skin care advocate.

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