5 Commandments of Getting a Chemical Peel With Sensitive, Acne-Prone Skin

If the first thing that comes to mind when you hear "chemical peel" is Samantha Jones's scabbed, fiery face à la Sex and the City, you are not alone. In fact, when I attended a PCA Skin event during the annual AAD (American Association of Dermatology) meeting last month—that haunting and iconic image of Jones seemed to be the macroscopic elephant in the room. Except, of course, that all-too-common association made between chemical peels and scabbing, flaking, and redness is a complete fallacy; a gross misrepresentation of what a quality customized peel will look like. In fact, it was this exact misconception that the three industry-leading dermatologists leading the event were hoping to disprove. But would a borderline-terrified skeptic with sensitive, acne-prone skin (hi, that's me) be persuaded?

Two hours, countless assurances from fellow beauty editors, and my own peel experience later, the answer was a resounding yes. Hi, my name is Erin Jahns, and although in a previous life you couldn't have paid me to undergo a chemical peel (FYI: It still took some major cajoling), I'm now a believer. And thanks to my calm, cool, and collected post-peel complexion, I would like to spread the word. (Because I know I'm not the only Sex and the City devotee who vowed to swear off the idea of chemical peels forever.)

Because I am by no means an expert on the topic, I reached out to Candace Spann, MD, of Couture Dermatology & Plastic Surgery in Las Vegas, Nevada, who was one of the three expert dermatologists speaking at the lunch. The main takeaway: Chemical peels for sensitive skin are indeed possible—but having information (courtesy of a world-renowned dermatologist) is key. And luckily, we have your back. Ahead are five must-know commandments concerning chemical peels for sensitive skin. (And for brownie points, I even included a selfie I took immediately post-peel to prove how very un-Samantha I looked immediately after the treatment.)