Do Chemical Peels Reduce Severe Acne and Scars From Acne?

Hello, I had severe acne. My Doc said tht chemical peeling will not only reduces acne but also acne scars and holes. I had undergone 3 chemical peels and my acne is reduced. But acne scars are clearly visible. My doc said that after 3 more peels all your scars, holes, marks, everything will be 70 percent reduced. Will it really work? I'm getting married and I want to be normal at my wedding. I cannot go for laser as they are expensive. My doctor used TCA peels...

Doctor Answers 5

Chemical peels and Acne and acne scars

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Typically chemical peels with TCA work excellent for hyperpigmentation on the face. I do not use TCA peels to treat or remove Acne or Acne scars.

West Palm Beach Dermatologic Surgeon

TCA CROSS for ice pick scars can work very well

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While I would agree with the other physcians that a peel on a large area of the face will not make much improvement for acne scars, TCA CROSS is a proven method to improve these types of scars.  There even has been a study comparing this method to laser therapy with comparable results.

TCA CROSS (Chemical Reconstruction Of Skin Scars) involves using a toothpick or fine needle to microdeposit 90% TCA in an icepick scar.  The acid at this concentration bores down through the scar and can remodel the collagen tethering the scar down.  It may take several treatments, but if done carefully is usually very safe with minimal to any downtime.  TCA CROSS is not a peel, but does involve the same acid, but at a higher concentration than the more traditional TCA peels.

Daniel I. Wasserman, MD
Naples Dermatologic Surgeon

Peels and acne scars

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There are different types of peels-superficial, medium and deep and they come in different concentrations.  Results will vary but your expectations must be realistic. Acne scars are challenging and patients usually appreciate any improvement they can get.  I tell my patients that their scars will be better but it is hard to give them any guarantees as to how much. Even with a high concentration of TCA, I find it ineffective in treating deep acne scars.  I would recommend getting other opinions first.

Albert Dabbah, MD
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon

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Treatment for acne scarring

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Chemical peels are not very effective for the treatment of deep acne scarring.  TCA is effective as a pre-treatment for ice pick acne scarring.  I usually treat these deep scars first using a toothpick and 90% TCA.  This is then followed a few weeks later with resurfacing with SmartXide with a tight dot spacing and stacking to get deeper penetration.

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

TCA peels don't help pitted acne scars.

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Pitted acne scars are best treat with ablative fractional lasers like the Fraxel Repair Laser or ablative radio frequency devices like Syneron eMatrix.

Mark Taylor, MD
Salt Lake City Dermatologic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 18 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.