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Contraindications for Peelings

Peels come in all shapes and sizes, and choosing the right peel for the right skin indication at the right time is really a sum of the parts for a perfect outcome of a beautiful skin result.

There are 2 types of Medical Contraindications: the absolute and the relative indication. If you are considering having a chemical peel, it is important to understand the contraindications and relative contraindications to a medical peel. In principle, if one of the two indications applies, then the following applies: NO! So don't do that.

But when is a peeling actually a good idea and when is it better to wait? Not every skin is always in the right condition for this treatment. That is why it is important to be well informed before making a choice.

What are Contraindications?

Contraindications are circumstances or factors where a certain treatment should not be carried out because it can cause serious damage to health. Some examples of contraindications for a chemical peel are:

  • Active skin infections: Such as herpes or impetigo, which can be worsened by the peel.
  • Serious skin conditions: Such as eczema or psoriasis, which can be worsened by treatment.
  • Recent use of certain medications: Such as isotretinoin, an acne drug, which can make the skin very sensitive.

These conditions can lead to unwanted complications such as severe skin irritation, infections or even permanent damage, and therefore it is imperative that they are ruled out before undergoing any medical peel treatment.

What are Relative Contraindications?

Relative contraindications are factors that require extra caution before a treatment can be applied. These circumstances do not automatically mean that treatment cannot proceed, but they do mean that the benefits must be weighed against the potential risks.

Examples of this are:

  • Skin conditions: These can sometimes be worsened by the peeling, but this is not always the case.
  • Pregnancy: Many professionals are cautious about peels during pregnancy due to the unknown effects of the chemicals on the fetus.
  • Susceptibility to scarring: Individuals who form scars easily, such as keloids, may be at increased risk for complications after a peel.

Why should the skin therapist take this into account?

As a skin therapist, the safety of your client is a priority. This means that a thorough evaluation of the skin condition and medical history is necessary to identify both absolute and relative contraindications. Medical peels can be effective for improving skin texture and addressing various skin conditions, but success depends heavily on the correct assessment of contraindications. This not only guarantees health and safety but also increases satisfaction and confidence in the treatment.

In the case of relative contraindications, an adapted treatment plan may need to be drawn up, involving reducing the intensity of the peel or choosing an alternative treatment method. This not only helps avoid negative side effects but also ensures the best possible results.

If you have complaints but have not been diagnosed by a doctor, discuss your concerns and questions with the skin therapist during a skin consultation prior to the skin therapeutic treatment. With your permission, it is also possible for the skin therapist to consult with your doctor. In the event of a relative contraindication, safe implementation of the skin treatment may still be possible.

With our extensive treatment options, Medicadermis is ready to answer your skin problem. But we understand that all the choices we offer online can be difficult. And that sometimes you just need advice in addition to the information we share online. Please feel free to contact us for a no-obligation consultation in the Medicadermis Skin Therapy practice with our skin therapist. But an accessible contact in the form of a free video consultation is of course also possible. Discover which peeling best suits your needs. Get compliments with clear, even and firm skin . Enjoy minimal recovery time with lasting results.

List of Absolute Contraindications

Skin conditions:

  • Active skin infections, such as viral infections, bacterial infections, impetigo, cellulitis, shingles etc.
  • Dermatitis, including atopic dermatitis, seborrheic dermatitis, and contact dermatitis that is active and inflamed.
  • Wounds or Recent Surgery: Areas of open wounds, recent surgical scars, or incompletely healed skin.
  • Skin cancer: active or recently treated skin cancer in the area to be treated. With the exception of Actinic Keratosis, which can be easily treated with a deep peel, but always under the supervision of your doctor or dermatologist.
  • Keloid or hypertrophic scars: People with a history of this scarring are at risk for further scarring problems.

Medical conditions:

  • Autoimmune diseases, such as lupus or scleroderma, that can affect healing.
  • Immune deficiencies, both congenital and acquired (such as HIV/AIDS), which can impede skin healing.
  • Diabetes, especially if poorly controlled, which can affect skin healing.

Medicine use:

  • Isotretinoin use in the last 6 months: This acne drug (often known by the brand name Accutane or Roacutane) increases the risk of serious side effects and slows healing.
  • Anticoagulants (blood thinners): increase the risk of bleeding and may delay healing.
  • Topical medications, such as retinoids and steroids that can irritate or thin the skin.
  • Recent use of other skin treatments: including other peels or laser treatments that have thinned or sensitized the skin.

Other circumstances

  • Pregnancy and lactation: mainly due to the lack of safety data and the potential impact of chemicals.
  • Recent sun exposure: may increase the risk of hyperpigmentation after a peel.
  • Allergies specific to ingredients used in the peeling solution.

Psychological factors:

  • Unrealistic Expectations: Patients expecting an immediate solution to skin problems without realistic goals.
List of Relative Contraindications

Skin conditions:

  • Active skin infections, wounds or eczema: It is important that the skin is intact and not inflamed. Infections, open wounds or active eczema can be worsened by a peeling.
  • History of poor wound healing or Keloid formation: People who tend toward Keloid formation or who have a history of poor wound healing may be more at risk for scarring after a peel.
  • Recent skin treatments: Recent procedures such as laser treatments or other skin exfoliating treatments may make the skin too sensitive for chemical peels.
  • Herpes simplex virus or other viral skin infection such as Shingles: People with a history of viral infections may experience an outbreak after a peel due to the stress the treatment places on the skin.


  • Recent use of certain medications: Patients who have recently used isotretinoin (a powerful acne drug) should wait before undergoing a chemical peel. It is recommended to wait at least six months after completing treatment with isotretinoin.
  • Use of Antibiotics: Some antibiotics, especially those from the tetracycline class, can cause photosensitivity, which means that the skin becomes more sensitive to sunlight. This can pose a risk with chemical peels, as the skin is more sensitive and susceptible to sun damage after a peel. There is also a risk of allergic skin reactions due to the interaction between the chemicals in the peel and the antibiotics.
  • Use of herbs and homeopathy, such as St. John's wort, which makes the skin more sensitive to the sun's UV rays.

Other circumstances

  • Pregnancy and breastfeeding: During pregnancy and breastfeeding, chemical peels are often discouraged due to uncertainty about the effects of the chemicals used on the baby.
  • Allergies to ingredients: An allergy to any of the components in the peeling solution can lead to serious reactions.
  • Photosensitivity: Individuals taking medications that cause photosensitivity, or who have a history of photosensitivity, should be cautious with chemical peels as they can make the skin more sensitive to sunlight.
  • Recent tanning or sunburn: Skin that has recently been exposed to a lot of sun and may be sunburned should be completely healed before considering a chemical peel.

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