Chemical Peel Vs Laser to Remove Acne Scars

I'm very fair,but don't sunburn I've been fighting acne since I was 18 and am now 23, I used to have such beautiful skin and would not have to wear make-up, this has affected my confidence immensely.

I eat healthy, exercise and all that jazz, but wear make-up to cover the acne which doesn't help. Please doctors what are your suggestions to a SAFE and reliable treatment? Not concerned about cost or traveling distance within bay area. Thank you for reading.

Doctor Answers 7

You must clear up the acne breakouts before treating the acne scars.

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Blu U treatments and various topical meds and /or oral meds will clear up the skin over the next 2 months then doing some chemical peels or other scar treatments will give an improved skin .


David Hansen,MD

Beverly Hills Dermatologic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

Dermatologist first

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Emily, I think that the best approach would be to start with a good dermatologist. The forsy step will be to clear up any active acne that you have. This might take months but can be done. After that, can work on any scarring. You are still beautiful and will be where you want to be with a little bit of help. 

Jo Herzog, MD
Birmingham Dermatologist
4.8 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Acne Scarring Options

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Based on the photos, I think it is important to differentiate between active acne and acne scarring.  It appears that  your issue is more the former than the latter.  I would definitely consult with a well respected Dermatologist in your area for a treatment regime that works best for you.  There are many different options from topical antibiotics, Retin-A and other topicals to IPL and blue light based therapies.  The diversity of treatments available speaks to the difficulty frequently encountered in treating acne. When treating acne scarring, I generally recommend a treatment plan involving the fractionated CO2 laser or Dermabrasion over chemical peels.

Stephen Prendiville, MD
Fort Myers Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 104 reviews

Laser for acne and acne scars

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The first thing to do is to get your acne under control. The Specra laser interacts with a photosensitive lotion that is applied to your skin. This process clears out blockages in your pores, kills bacteria and reduces the activity of oil secreting glands. The Spectra laser gives comparable results to chemical peels. It is safer and more predictable as well.

Acne scars result from inflammation that is due to the presence of bacteria. This inflammation is regarded by your skin as an injury. To compensate for this and heal itself, the skin produces a disorganized and thickened configuration of collagen fibers which make up the acne scar tissue. The Fraxel Dual system is very effective for the treatment of acne scars. The 1550nm wavelength of this system heats cells in the dermal layer which is beneath the surface of your skin. This heating process stimulates the process of creating healthy normal collagen which gradually replaces the scar tissue.

Here is a video of a patient who had Spectra done for her existing acne and Fraxel Dual for her acne scars.


Sanusi Umar, MD
Redondo Beach Dermatologic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Treatment of Acne with Lasers

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You are a beautiful young woman with a common problem. Many adults have acne problems that are persistent and bothersome. I would recommend you consult a dermatologist for your acne condition. He is likely to prescribe topical therapy first. Once the acne is controlled, then laser therapy can be considered to provide more lasting results. I have patients with acne rosacea that require Laser Genesis treatments about every 2 years to keep their condition in control. You may decide with your dermatologits that topical therapy is all that is needed for your skin.

Temp Patterson, MD
Burley Facial Plastic Surgeon

Think about Vbeam/PDT to treat acne and red scars

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A good regimen for acne control is an essential first step.  Vbeam pulsed dye laser can really help reduce the redness associated with previous acne lesions. We often combine Vbeam with PDT (photodynamic therapy)/Blu light. This combination helps acne as well as the red scars and redness. I am confident you can find a great dermatologist in the bay area that can help with both aspects - medical and cosmetic- of your skin condition.

Elizabeth F. Rostan, MD
Charlotte Dermatologist

You need to see a board certified dermatologist.

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Do a little home work.  You need to see a dermatologist who is comfortable working with isotretinoin (Accutane).  Treatment of cystic acne does not start with this drug.  However, dermatologist who are comfortable with its use are generally more devoted to treating this condition.  This is a pretty scary drug and therefore it is only used after all other measures fail.  There are a number of excellent treatments that can be very effective.  You are making the right choice to seek help for this so that the inflammation from the acne dose not severely scar your face.

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.