Is Chemical Peels My Best Option?

I'm 26 Asian male. I always got red/brown marks as a result of acne. I use glycolic acid cleanser and cream and it doesn't work as well as before. Is chemical peel my best option? The thing is my red and brown marks are REALLY BAD. Also, how many peels does it normally take to see any results? Would it be incorrect to get these peels done at those spas where those people who perform chemical peel are licensed aesthicians versus going to a dermatologist to do it? Would TCA Peel be best option

Doctor Answers 8

Asian skin type is prone to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH)

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Asian skin is prone to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.

Before you spend $$$ on lasers or chemical peels, consider this regimen:

 recommend Melarase AM and Melarase PMto improve hyperpigmentation as well as Scler-X, a post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation relief complex. Scler-X is an oral supplement that is taken for 3-6 months or more for maintenance therapy.

Melarase AM in the morning. Melarase PM in the evening. Scler-X once daily. 

Also apply a wide spectrum high SPF 50+ sun block to prevent ongoing damage and PIH. I recommend Spectrase from Kare Skin. 

See link below. 

Chemical peel for acne scars

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Thank you for your question. You are correct, seeing a licensed professional for this type of treatment (aesthetician or dermatologist) is the best idea. They will be able to evaluate your skin and direct you towards the best treatment option for your skin type. I would recommend having your provider do a test spot on an inconspicuous area since your skin is very reactive to make sure you respond okay to the peel before doing your whole face. For acne scarring you will most likely need a series of peels (3-5) to achieve correction depending on the peel. Make sure you are wearing sunscreen everyday, this will help reduce pigmentation damage to the scars.

-Best wishes

Pablo Prichard, MD
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Chemical Peel for Hyperpigmentation Due to Acne

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Chemical peels are an effective choice for the treatment and reduction of acne. Once acne is given time to heal, the redness should diminish mostly, if not completely. Acne scarring can be a little more difficult to treat. Also, due to your Asian decent, you need to be cautious with peels to avoid further hyper pigmentation as your skin probably contains a higher amount of melanin. You should schedule a consultation with a dermatologist and/or plastic surgeon for further evaluation. “Dr. D”

Edward E. Dickerson, IV, MD
Fayetteville Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 127 reviews

Chemical Peels...

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Chemical peels can be beneficial for patients who are suffering from age spots and shallow acne scars.  The red marks are usually the result of previous acne, and if time is given to heal, the redness usually improves on its own. It is important to understand that with Asian skin, a deeper peel cannot be done due to the possible skin pigment abnormalities that may result.  The lighter peels may not give you the result you are looking for.  Acne scarring, in general, is very difficult to improve, so I wouldn't go to a spa for evaluation.  You would first need to set up a consultation with facial plastic or plastic surgeon to determine what exactly could be done. 







Andrew Miller, MD
Edison Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 222 reviews

Chemical Peel for Asian skin, pigmentation

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PIH, or Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation, happens more frequently in skin that has more melanin or color.  When your skin is wounded, such as a breakout, those melanocytes rush to the surface as part of the a healing response.  There are better peels for acne, one of which is Mandelic which is the only peel that has antibiotic properties.  Along with that, I would recommend that your homecare includes hydroquinone 4% which will help keep those melanocytes under control and diminish the appearance of pigmentation.  I would strongly recommend that you have your treatments in a medical facility such as a dermatologist or plastic surgeon where your acne can be treated beyond the scope of aesthetics if need be.

Mario J. Imola, MD, DDS
Denver Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 124 reviews

Chemical peels for discoloration

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Postinflammatory hyperpigmentation (discoloration that occurs in the wake of acne lesions).  TCA would be a good option; other peel options to consider that may be better for ethnic skin including salicylic acid and Jessner.  I would caution you against strong chemical peeling, as it could worsen discoloration.  Rather, a series of light peels would likely give you improvement.  Certain laser-light devices can also be beneficial, but with your skin type, there may be a greater risk of further discoloration.

Bryan K. Chen, MD
San Diego Dermatologist

Chemical peels for acne marks

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Chemical peels and microdermabrasion are both effective and helpful means for reducing and preventing acne, and acne marks and scars. The type of peel and concentration are important factors, as is your skin type. Make sure to be properly assessed by a dermatologist to determine the best option for you. You may do better with laser resurfacing (e.g. ProFractional), or possibly an IPL for the redness/brown spots. You also want to make sure you're not still getting new acne which needs to be properly controlled, otherwise you'll be chasing your tail.

Benjamin Barankin, MD, FRCPC
Toronto Dermatologic Surgeon

Is a chemical peel the best option for acne treatment?

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Chemical peels can be a great part of acne treatment but if you have active acne I suggest that you get under the care of a board-certified dermatologist.  Chemical peels work best in combination with prescription medicine.  There are many good chemical peels for acne but I find that salicylic acid peels work very well especially in patients with hyperpigmentation (brown spots).  It sounds like you would benefit from getting put on a topical retinoid and an anti-inflammatory medication.  The best options could only be determined, however, after a consultation.  Good luck.

Dina D. Strachan, MD
New York 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.