Can I Remove Scars on my Legs with a Chemical Peel?

I have a lot of scars on my legs and because of that I'm unable to wear shorts or skirts. What can i do to remove these scars and can Chemical Peel be done on the legs?

Doctor Answers 10

Scars on the legs

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People who complain of scars on the legs frequently are referring to dark brown spots rather than scarring. Chemical peel exfoliation of the skin can help to lighten skin of the legs but in people of color, peels that are too aggressive can actually darken the skin. If brown spots is what you are referring to, things that can help include tretinoin cream (retin-A), hydroquinone, azelaic acid, and mild cortisone creams for short-term use. I suggest you consult with a board certified specialist first to obtain an accurate diagnosis.

San Diego Dermatologist

Dark scars on the legs and thighs can be improved with a Melarase program and Melapeel treatment

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Dark brown scars on the legs can be dramatically improved with topical creams such as Melarase AM and MelarasePM, followed by a series of chemical peels such as MelaPeel. Melarase PM Dark Spot Repair can reduce pigmentation by addressing the tyrosinase enzyme within the melanocyte. 

Larger areas can be treated with light fractional laser and Luminase and Exfolase creams. 


Dr. Karamanoukian

#Realself100 Surgeon

Raffy Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 95 reviews

Scar Removal

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A Scar is permanent and can never be removed. In some cases, a scar can be REVISED and can be made much better.

Chemical peeling involves the use of a caustic substance that burns a top layer of the skin. By limiting the action of the chemical to the superficial layers, the REMAINING layers of skin (especially hair and oil / sweat glands) allow the skin to regenerate in a smoother, less blemished fashion.

1. Skin below the face does NOT have a high enough concentration of oil / sweat glands to always allow skin to heal. As a result chemical peels BELOW the neck can be dangerous and result in FULL THICKNESS BURNS and ugly scars.

2. Scars extend much deeper than the superficial layers. As a result chemically "sanding" the superficial layers of skin with a caustic chemical / Dermabrasion or laser will NOT remove scars.

Do NOT do it.

Dr. P. Aldea

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon

Scars on the legs

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Unfortunately, scars on the legs are usually permanent. Sometimes, scar revisions can be performed to soften them. Some lasers can be used to lighten them.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

I wouldn't advise chemical peels on the legs

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Chemical peels on the legs can lead to poor results as the blood supply there is not nearly as abundant as it is on the face. For this reason, performing peels other than on the face carries much more risk. Healing may not be so kind. Maybe consider scar revision for the larger scars.

John P. Di Saia, MD
Orange Plastic Surgeon

Chemical peel on the legs likely to cause more harm than good

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A very light chemical peel can be done on the body and trunk but be very careful in this area or you will end up with more scars and areas of hyperpigmentation or hypopigmentation. Totally avoid TCA peels anywhere but on the face. A light peel is unlikely to make scars on the legs any better.

Jeffrey Zwiren, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Scars on legs

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Scars on legs are very difficult to treat.  If you have dark pigmentation, you can try tretinoin cream, hydroquinone cream or even glycolic acid cream for fading.  Light chemical peels may help a little but you must avoid sun exposure.  You can also try waterproof camouflage makeup.

Martie Gidon, MD, FRCPC
Toronto Dermatologist

Concerns about multiple scars of the legs

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Without explicit photos, it is impossible to accurately answer you question. What kind of scars are you referring to? Are they raised? Widened? Keloids? Pigmented? What is your ethnicity.

Answer to these along with photos can assist in providing you with a more accurate answer. You can also consider seeking out a consultation with a reputable physician in your area.

Steven Turkeltaub, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Remove scars from the legs with a chemical peel?

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  No.  You certainly cannot remove the scars on your legs with a chemical peel, or with anything else.  But I disagree with another responder in that I do think light peels would be of benefit in improving your problem.  But it is hard to say without sweeing photos. 

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

What to do for scars on the legs

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Hello Joycelp,

It's impossible to say which treatment would be best for you without know what kind of scars you have. We have successfully treated pigmented scars on the legs from old bug bites using q-switched lasers. Unfortunately for textured (surgical or trauma) scars, we do not have a good suggestion. Good luck.

Harold J. Kaplan, MD
Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 7 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.