How Effective is a Chemical Peel For Scars on People of Color? (photo)

I have old scars and acne scars on my face. I'm light-skinned, and I'm looking into getting a chemical peel, but I'm just now sure how effective it will be for me or if there is something else I should try. I've looked into the different types of peels and I've determined that a doctor will have to tell me what level of treatment I should receive. I never had acne as a teenager, but soon as I turned 25 seems like that's when I finally started to get acne. And, nothing seems to work for it.

Doctor Answers 3

Chemical peels for scars in dark skinned patients

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Chemical peels are risky in patients with pigmented skin, as are lasers.  These should only be done be by experienced Dermatologists.  Before trying to treat post inflammatory pigment and scars that follow inflammatory acne, it is most important to treat the acne to prevent further permenant marks.  Treatment with retinoids often will correct the acne as well as impove the pigment and the scars.

Miami Dermatologic Surgeon

Chemical peels for acne scars

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First off, I would first try to get your acne under control under the care of your local board certified dermatologist.  If your acne is not under control, you would simply be chasing after your scars.  The photo is unclear , but what most patients consider scars are actually post-inflammatory pigmentation, which is not true acne scarring.  Most of this discoloration goes away over time but takes many months.  Prescription fading creams may help.  Chemical peels can help the pitted and depressed acne scars by reducing the excess layers of skin and making these scars more shallow.  This is a more temporary effect and requires continued maintenance with peels.  Since your skin is more pigmented you are a little limited as to depth and aggressiveness of the peel.  The better treatment for depressed acne scars are the collagen-stimulating lasers like Fraxel which results in more permanent improvement and can be performed on darker types of skin.

Chemical peels can be a total disaster.

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I would strongly recommend that you see a board certified dermatologist for acne care.  There are a number of excellent options for managing this condition.  From the photo it is clear that the inflammation from the acne is causing post inflammatory hyperpigmentation.  Do not experiment with home remedies.  Please see a professional.

Kenneth D. Steinsapir, MD
Beverly Hills Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 26 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.