Are the Scar Removal Results of a Chemical Peel Permanent?

I spoke to a doctor who told me that my skin is very sensitive and so chemical peeling can ruin my skin. She also said that the chemical peeling is temporary and scars will reappear. I have acne scars and i was hoping to get rid of them through chemical peeling. Will a chemical peel be safe on sensitive skin and will it provide permanent results?

Doctor Answers 4

Chemical peels on sensitive skin has been safe for me

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I have a lot of patients with sensitive skin and they seemed to do well with resurfacing. Obviously, everybody is different and you would have to get a complete history and physical exam to make sure that you are okay to receive this particular treatment.

Here are some of the contraindications to having a resurfacing:

previous cancers or active skin cancers, on Accutane within the last 1-2 years, medications such as tetracycline, chloroquine, bleomycin, amiodorone, St. John's wart, recent sun exposure within the last 4-8 weeks, recent skin procedure within the last 4-8 weeks, previous chemical peel or laser within the last 6 mos to a year, skin koebnerizing diseases, autoimmune diseases, hiv, active infections, herpes, lupus, hormonal/endocrine diseases, bleeding disorders, history of keloid and hypertrophic scar formation, pregnancy / nursing, porphyria, previous radiation to the face.

In terms of whether they are permanent, this is a difficult question because permanent can mean forever and nothing lasts forever. Studies show that after a resurfacing, and this depends on how it is done and how aggressive, the results lasts around 8-10 years and then you will likely want to do this again.

Bellevue Facial Plastic Surgeon

Fraxel For Acne Scars

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Thank you for your question. If you want permanent results, a chemical peel will likely not provide them. 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.

Chemical peels only give temporary improvements

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Chemical peels can be used on sensitive skin for wrinkles and discolorations and work quite well if done gentely and repetitively but they usually do nothing for true depressed scars. Light TCA peels (10-15%) every 2-4 weeks @$250 each help with discolorations. Usually stronger ones are needed for wrinkles. Dermabrasions (sanding) of the skin or fraxel lasers or subcisions or punch grafting help with depressed scarring and usually need to be done a few times and are quite expensive but do give permanent results.

David Hansen, MD
Beverly Hills Dermatologic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

Permanent results from chemical peels

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  There are very few cosmetic treatments that are "permanent."  But I would not say that the results of chemical peels are temporary either.  you will get significan improvement but many of the light peels will have even greater effect is they are repeated.  There is little that light peels can do for depressed acne scars, however.

Lawrence Kass, MD
Saint Petersburg Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 140 reviews

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.