Can chemical peels help with ice pick and rolling acne scars?

So Ive recently finished up my course on accutane. I know i have to wait 6 months before i can have additional procedures, but i wanted to get a doctors opinion on wether or not chemical peels are a good choice to reduce acne scarring. And i am also asking for any opinons on what type of peels i should use. Any answers would be a huge help. Thank you

Doctor Answers 3

Chemical Peels to fix ice pick acne scarring

Chemical peels rarely are of any value in treating acne scars.  The gold standards for ice pick scars are dermabasion (NOT micro dermabrasion) or fractional CO2 laser resurfacing.  These may be don alone or in combination with surgical removal of some of the scars first.


Miami Dermatologic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

The answer is that it depends.

Generally I would encourage you to wait a full year after completing the course of accutane before considering and type of chemical peel and then only if oil production in the skin has returned to normal.  For the most part, chemical peels are only modestly helpful for acne scars especially in young people.  Direct acne scar surgery with subcision and possible fat grafting is more reliable but this depends on the individual scar.  The Cross method has been successful for given individuals but I have also seen some terrible scars caused by peelers who did not really understand the limitation of this method.  I think extreme caution in appropriate for that approach.  I also have patients with acne scars who get hyaluronic acid fillers as a volume option which does not require much down time and are very pleased with this approach.  Let your face recover from the accutane and get several opinions before proceeding.

Kenneth D. Steinsapir, MD
Los Angeles Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

There are better options.

Thank you for your question. Although chemical peels are an option in treating acne scars, they are associated with significant downtime and potential complications in certain skin types, considering very deep peels have to be performed to resolve acne scarring. As of today, the treatment of choice for acne scarring is a radiofrequency micro needling device such as Infini or non-ablative fractional laser resurfacing. These are done in a series of treatments, are safe for nearly all skin types, and can achieve very significant improvement in deep acne scars. 

Neda Vanden Bosch, MD
West Palm Beach Physician
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 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.