Contraindications for a Chemical Peel

A chemical peel is done to re-texture the skin on the face through removing any outer layers that are damaged with the use of a chemical solution. People who have wrinkles, facial blemishes and uneven skin pigmentation can be helped by this procedure, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons 1. There are different types of chemical peels, so when considering this procedure, ensure none of the contraindications of chemical peels applies to you.


Certain medications must be discontinued at least five days before a chemical peel and five days after a chemical peel, according to the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery 1. These medications include:

  • Trentinoin
  • Renova
  • Tazorac
  • EpiDuo
  • Retin-A
  • Differin
  • Avage
  • Ziana


Pregnant women should avoid getting a chemical peel. Women who are lactating should also avoid getting a chemical peel. Salicylic acid is a chemical used in some chemical peels and it can be harmful to the pregnancy as well as to the unborn child. This chemical has been shown to cause various pregnancy complications and birth defects when taken orally in large amounts, according to the website Baby Center 2. Having a strong body or face peel containing this chemical can result in the salicylic acid soaking into the skin; results are similar to consuming at least one or more aspirin during pregnancy, according to Baby Center 2.

Active Herpes Lesions

Active herpes lesions are the lesions present when a herpes outbreak is occurring. Herpes is a a virus that is incurable, but controllable with antiviral medications for most patients. The lesions can appear on the mouth, vagina, anus, penis, urethra or cervix. A chemical peel can cause herpetic activation, according to The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. If an outbreak of herpes lesions does occur, acyclovir--a medication used to treat herpes simplex outbreaks--can be used to help treat the lesions and prevent scarring.