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Chemical Peel for Acne Scars

I've got scars due to pimples but not too much. I want permanent solution to get rid of the scars. Is chemical peel a permanent solution? If not, what are treatments are available without any side effects?

Doctor Answers 15

Chemical peels and ematrix for acne scars

Our office specializes in chemical peels and acne scars. I would utilize a combination of the fractional co2, ematrix sublative laser, and chemical peels to improve your acne scars.


Dr. Karamanoukian

Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 58 reviews

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Acne Scars

Chemical peels are good treatments for acne scarring. Peels such as salicylic acid and TCA can help clear existing acne and lighten any hyperpigmentation due to scarring. Side effects are minimal and temporary. Things that people normally experience after a peel are redness, tightness, and sloughing of the skin. Peeling of the skin usually lasts for 2-5 days, depending on the person and the depth of the peel.

Additionally, treating your skin with a pre- and post-peel home care regimen will enhance your results from the peel. Multiple peels may be needed and not all peels are suitable for all skin types. It is best to be evaluated by your skincare professional to better assess your needs and goals.

Chemical peels and laser resurfacing don't make scars disappear

Dear Shahzad,

Prevention of facial scaring is the major reason we are so aggressive in recommending control of acne on the face. Once the scaring has occurred there is no way to remove the scar tissue or the damage done to the skin by the scarring. Chemical peel and laser resurfacing is often touted as a way of treating these scars. Like any good lie it is based on a bit of truth. As we age, the elasticity of the skin decrease. Skin sags and the skin tends to hand on scar tissue created by the old acne scars. A laser resufacing or chemical peel tightens the face and helps to reduce the appearance of the scars but this is absolutely no the same thing as getting rid of the scars.

In some cases such as ice pick scars, direct excision or stimulating secondary healing with the use of 95% trichloroacetic acid (so-called TCA cross method) can be help full. However, none of these techniques actually get rid of scaring, they simply mask its appearance.

Kenneth D. Steinsapir, MD
Los Angeles Oculoplastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Chemical Peel for Acne Scars

Dear Shahzad, 

When treating acne scarring it is often necessary to build a treatment regimen that incorporates several modalities to help lessen the appearance of acne scars.  First, It is of utmost importance that you have a skin care regimen built to maintain the health of your skin that will aid in reducing future breakouts(since this is the root cause of the scarring). A series of chemical peels will offer some correction, but incorporating collagen induction therapy(microneedling) and/or laser resurfacing into the clinical treatment plan will promote an optimal result. Unfortunately, there is no permanent solution when it comes to skin. However, maintenance will be key to retaining the correction you achieve. 

One can surely use chemical peels

Thanks for your question and know that there are many treatment options for acne scars that are useful
in 2015. One can surely use chemical peels, but for many the more superficial peels are not always the
best here; board-certified dermatologists or plastic surgeons usually recommend that medium depth
peels are used here. These need to be done by very skilled providers and sometimes, several peels are
needed to give the optimum results.
In addition, there are a variety of lasers and energy based fractional treatments that can be used here.
The non-ablative fractional lasers will help here, and will require a series of treatments, with minimal
downtime to give some very nice results. Four to six treatments over 4-6 months is usually required and
many of the scars will improve. The ablative fractional lasers work faster, but have more downtime.
Sometimes more than one treatment is needed with your kind of scarring. There are many kinds of
ablative fractional lasers – we use mainly the Lumenis UltraPulse or AcuPulse, the Ellman Cortex, and the
Syneron Core. We also have the sublative RF fractional devices, the Syneron eMatrix and the Venus Viva
that has shown great results in treating acne scars. We did a lot of the FDA work with the eMatrix and use
it regularly in our clinic. The new Venus Viva is showing similar results. And now there are RF
microneedling devices, such as the EndyMed Intensif, and this also works well with acne scars.
In addition, we recently have seen the approval of the first long-term filler for acne scars – this is
called BellaFill. You need to see which procedure is best for you.

Michael Gold, MD
Nashville Dermatologic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Peels for acne scars

Peels can help with scars if they're not too severe. Pockmarks can be corrected with fillers (temporary) and laser technologies can also help remodel the skin. You should see a board certified plastic surgeon or dermatolgist for an assessment to see what would work for you, because there are many, many options available.

Chemical peel for acne scars

Chemical peels would work for you if the scars are mild and the results are permanent. However, you can also consider micro needing, which can work on deeper pitted scars.

... always find a treatment for your type of acne scars.

If you have deep ice pick scars, or box car scarring, than chemical peeling can help. Certainly a medium depth peel can also help collagen induction and help with other types of acne scars. 

The solution lies in the type of scars you have as well as the skin type..... if you have rolling and atrophic scars, a peel may not be in your best interest, CO2 fractional lasers, combined with Juvederm or dermal fillers maybe better. 

Hope this helps 

Dr Davin S Lim
Laser and cosmetic Dermatologist

Davin Lim, MBBS, FACD
Brisbane Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Fixing Acne Scars

Sandstone’s Fractional CO2 laser is considered the gold standard for reducing the appearance of scar tissue. Fractionation of the CO2 laser allows us to target deeper portions of the dermis, while protecting small bridges of unaffected tissue that are left intact. These islands make the healing process much faster, the procedure safer, and you back to work with rejuvenated skin quickly. Each pulse vaporizes a column of tissue that heats collagen deeply. This heat stimulates collagen growth, replacing worn older scar tissue..

Bobby Buka, MD
New York Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Fraxel For Acne Scars

Thank you for your question. At my practice, I have gotten excellent results for scarring with Fraxel. This treatment eliminates irregular skin discoloration, and stimulates new collagen production, tightening the skin without prolonged recovery. After a series of 2 to 4 Fraxel treatments, the cumulative cosmetic improvement is near more aggressive lasers, but unlike more aggressive lasers, redness and swelling eliminated within 2 to 4 days after each treatment. Fraxel is outstanding for fine wrinkles, mild skin laxity, irregular pigmentation, acne scars, surgical scars, enlarged pores, stretch marks, age spots and Rosacea. It can be used safely on the face, neck, hands, arms, and chest.

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.