What is better and more effective for my acne scars. Microdermabrasion or Chemical peel? (Photos)

I would like to know what's better, microdermabrasion or chemical peel for my combination sensitive skin? I have deep acne scars from the past and have been trying to be gentle on my skin. Very little acne. It's just the scars that bother me. The reason I ask between micro and peel is because I cant afford laser. (products I use: Cetaphil gentle wash. Tretinion gel 0.01%. And loreal hydra renewel moisturizer b5.)

Doctor Answers 7


{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
Dear bright face:  If you can't afford laser or, even better, #microneedling with PRP, then I would recommend a #ViPeel. There are many treatments available for the treatment of acne scars, but microdermabrasion will have virtually no benefit for you. Try to get a prescription for Tazarac, which can help slowly, over time, and is more effective than the tretinoin you are using, and see if you can purchase a product with growth factors called #Regenica Replenishing Cream or #TNS serum, and #Alastin.    I do hope this is helpful!  Dr. Clark 

New York Dermatologist
4.7 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Chemical peels & microneedling are effective for acne scars

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Hi, I just added a link that might be helpful...

Hi brightface.  Thanks for sharing photos.  Acne scars are difficult to treat with approaches that do not penetrate deeper into the skin.  Microdermabrasion is a superficial treatment that I wouldn't start with.  Deeper chemical peels can make an impact, and will likely need to be repeated after waiting an appropriate interval of time.  Keep up with the Tretinoin-great for continued cell turnover and increasing collagen content- 0.01% is a very weak strength however. Some patients with skin sensitivity benefit from the use of probiotics and diet changes. Have a consult with an ABPS certified PS' office-be sure to ask about  microneedling which is also a good option and around the same price range.  Best wishes,

Chemical Peel

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
Thank you for your question. I suggest that you consult with a board certified facial plastic surgeon to discuss the medium depth chemical peel. This solution is used to deal with acne scars, deeper wrinkling, and uneven skin color. Most often the acids used for the medium chemical peel are tricholoracetic acid and glycoric acid. Best wishes,

Ross A. Clevens, MD
Melbourne Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 124 reviews

Facial acne scars: What can I do?

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
A treatment that is gaining popularity for his is fraxel treatment of the skin.  If you have darker skin then you would want to have non-ablative fraxel with coated tips (e.g., Fractora) to avoid pigmentary color changes.  Fraxel has to be periodically repeated, but would do much more than microdermabrasion and superficial peels.  These are hard to treat with dermal fillers, but some improvement can sometimes be achieved.  Strong TCA chemical peel to ice-pick scars can help, but has to be applied directly to the depression and not to surrounding areas.  Best regards.

John R. Burroughs, MD
Colorado Springs Oculoplastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Acne scars

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

We offer micro dermabrasion but do not perform this procedure to treat acne scars.  Some deeper chemical peels will help.  Acne scars are a particularly difficult problem to address.  We usually treat this condition with a combination laser and filler protocol. and sometimes also use peels.  You indicate that you can't afford lasers, our sublative treatments are performed by our aestheticians and are less expensive than full-scale fraxal or CO2 laser treatments.  I would check with a board-certified dermatologist and indicate your pricing concerns.  Dr. Adrienne Stewart MD F AAD

Adrienne E. Stewart, MD
Denver Dermatologic Surgeon

Acne scars

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
Microdermabrasion will do nothing and is a waste of time and money. For acne scarring treatments to be effective, you need to even the surface level of the skin. This can done by raising the depressed scar with filler, or by lowering and leveling the irregular complexion with a resurfacing procedure, such as a dermabrasion (not microdermabrasion), laser, or deep chemical peels. Light and medium depth peels will not be effective.You must also remember that once you have a scar, you will always have a scar. The goal in treatment is to make the scar more cosmetically acceptable and less noticeable. Consult with an experienced facial plastic surgeon.

James Shire, MD
Chattanooga Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

True acne scar depressions don't respond to microdermabrasions.

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
chem peels do help acne scars a little but need to be at least a medium TCA peel to make any difference. Micro dermabrasions do nothing at all. Real dermabrasion is the best way to improve scars.

David Hansen, MD
Beverly Hills Dermatologic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 46 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.