Blackheads Normal After Laser Resurfacing and TCA Peel?

I had laser skin resurfacing done on my face and a TCA chemical peel on my neck about three weeks ago. Now, I'm getting a lot of blackheads! I'm following all the directions my doctor gave me on cleansing and moisturizing (I'm done crusting and peeling). Is this normal? Will it eventually stop?

Doctor Answers 2

Skin debris after laser resurfacing can cause blocked pores, pimples and blackheads

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Laser resurfacing vaporizes skin cells. During healing dead skin cells and debris often block the pores. Build up of skin secretions behind the blockage can cause pimples, blackheads, and small whiteheads called Milia.

Good cleansing of the skin is very important after laser resurfacing. Once the skin is healed microdermabrasion can help and milia can be extracted by the aesthetician.

Topical steroids can help the first 2 weeks and after 6 weeks I use topical Retin A and microdermabrasion to control acne outbreaks after laser resurfacing.

Follow up skin care with an experienced medical aestheticiian can solve these problems

What you are experiencing is somewhat common.

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Post resurfacing, you are more likely to develop blackheads if you are applying a pore-clogging substance such as Vaseline or Aquaphor. You can discontinue these and frequently apply a bland moisturizer, e.g. Cetaphil.

Things that can help: gentle facials, extractions of the blackheads by your doctor. Continue to avoid picking or manipulating the skin.

Good luck.

Bryan K. Chen, MD
San Diego Dermatologist

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.