Myth or Fact: Do Chemical Peels Stimulate Collagen Production?

I have enlarged/scarred pores on my cheeks and on my nose. I also have a few very, very, shallow acne scars. I would love to find an alternative to laser treatments or microdermabrasion (I am prone to broken blood vessels) to help fix some of these issues. Would a series of chemical peels do the trick? Or something else?

Doctor Answers 7

Yes, they do

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Both superficial and deeper chemical peels can stimulate new collagen growth which will result in long term improvement of your skin.

Austin Dermatologist

Chemical peels and other resurfacing skin treatments.

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Chemical peels, or any form of resurfacing for that matter, should not change the proportions or shape of your face in any way. This is a skin rejuvenation procedure. It may lesson lines ( wrinkles ), tighten skin and remove age spots, but in the end you should still look like you. These treatments are often working at the epidermal level of the skin unless you are specifically having a deeper chemical peel or other resurfacing treatment. When the treatment is designed to be deeper and act at the dermal level, collagen and elastin production can be achieved. There are risks to these procedures, however and they should be discussed with your treating physician prior to treatment.

Chemical Peels and Collagen

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Chemical Peels will not stimulate collagen, however, they are beneficial for superficial exfoliation.  Lasers are a good option for both scarring and pore size as they are using thermal energy to stimulate collagen production.  There is also laser technology that can aid in facial redness. The following link provides further information. 

Harold J. Kaplan, MD
Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Chemical Peels - Collagen growth and acne scars

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Yes, chemical peels do stimulate superficial collagen production; however, to treat acne scars, most chemical peels do not go deep enough in the skin to affect them.  There is no ideal treatment to date that is perfect for enlarged pores.  In my experience, the Fraxel systems of lasers are the best available modalities at this time for improving scars as well as reducing pore size.

Lori Stetler, MD
Dallas Dermatologic Surgeon

Lasers and chemical peels do not reduce pore size.

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Unfortunately, at best these treatments are neutral on pore size.  Filling the skin with hyaluronic acid fillers supports the skin and reduced the apparent pore size.  Also photofacial may help reduce the apparent size of skin pores.

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

Answer to question about pores, redness

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If you have not already, I would recommend seeing a dermatologist to get maximal control of your acne.  The redness and large pores may improve with certain laser treatments.  One option is the Cutera Lasergeneis laser.  This is a non-ablative laser with no downtime that is actually pleasant.  Check out the Cutera website and navigate to "Technologies."  Then choose Lasergenesis and check out the clinical results.  Deeper acne scarring is more difficult to treat, but may be amenable to Pearl Fusion laser therapy.  Good luck.

Chemical peels are not for you

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Chemical peels, for the most part, are very superficial treatments and would not be effective to treat acne scars. Additionally, there is actually no way to reduce the size of pores. You can help them look smaller by smoothing out the surrounding skin and tone, but you cannot make them smaller. In my opinion, chemical peel results are overblown, unless you have an exceptionally deep type of peel which actually removes portions of the skin. However, this must be done by an extremely well-trained physician's office with incredible experience. I very rarely recommend this type of treatment and there is only one office I refer to in California for it. Based on your photos, I would say that chemical peels are not going to do a lot for what you want and I would not recommend them for you.

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.