Safest Chemical Peel for Home Use?

I had acne which has cleared up mostly but now I still have the problem of mild acne scarring, and enlarged pores. I was thinking of trying a 15% TCA Peel but having read so many negative reviews of scarring from it afterwards, I have thought to instead get something else such as a Jessner's peel.

I am not going to have this done professionally so which do you think, will I have more success with?

Doctor Answers 6

Jessner's Peel will give you the least problems

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I don't recommend any at home peels but if you are going to do it anyway then Jessner's chem peel will be safest. When most patients say they have acne scars, they really mean they have discolorations- not true scarring. True scarring is a texture change such as depressions or elevations as bumps or ridges. A color change is not a scar, but most patients refer to their discoloration as a scar. I would plan on doing 5-6 jessners peels to even out the color problems. The peels can be done weekly if needed. Using a 1% hydrocortisone twice a day and a daily sunscreen is also helpful.

Beverly Hills Dermatologic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

OTC Glycolic Acid Peels OK

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To have a truly effective peel, you should have one performed by a physician who has had experience with peels. Thus, I would only recommend dermatologists or plastic surgeons in an in-office procedure.

Not only are these specialities trained to do chemical peels, but we are able to handle potential complications.

Further, peeling agents can vary from company to company. Preparations vary. Most of us have found vendors whom we trust for consistency and quality. For instance, 20% TCA may become more potent as it sits and the water evaporates. Containers may be important. This is even more important when it comes to Glycolic acid. Without delving into a physical chemistry lecture here, there is differences in the way the acid is neutralized, its pH, and stuff involving the Michaelis-Menton equation etc.

Despite this advice, if you would like to do an at home peel, I feel that a glycolic acid peel should be pretty safe. However, I would check with your dermatologist first for a recommendation. A simple phone call should do.

Arnold R. Oppenheim, MD
Virginia Beach Dermatologist

Chemical peels

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I would not recommend at home peels.  It is better and safer to have them done by a trained physician so that it is done in a safe controlled manner. 

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Chemical Peels should be done in the office

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 There really is not safe and effective peel for home use.  The reason why peels are done in the doctor's office is because these are really chemicals that can cause real damage if not used properly.  Please consider this before attempting any peel at home.  

Safest Chemical Peel for Home Use

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The peels such as TCA should be only done by professionals. At home use products might not have the same standards and controls i.e., it might say 15% but in reality was 25%.

Also the right way to do a peel is not something you can achieve at home.

If you do not want to see a professional for acne related chemical peel, you should instead try this;

Wash the hands with antibiotic soap for at least 30 seconds, not to touch the face without washing hands or using a hand sanitizer, changing the pillow case regularly (at least twice a week) and using the following skin care from a skin care line called PCA (Physicians Choice of Arizona). There are four steps and you should do it in the monring and at bedtime.

1. Clean the face with 5% BPO cleanser

2. Use Nutrient Toner

3. Apply Acne Gel

4. Apply Clearskin moisturizer

If you follow this religiously , your acne will certainly get under control.

Now for the acne scarring (mild);

Get Sculptra injections by someone who does it regularly. Other fillers such as Juvederm, Restylane or Radiesse will help as well but they will not last as long as Sculptra.

Goodluck and regards

Tanveer Janjua, MD
Bedminster Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 126 reviews

Wet blanket

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Sorry to spoil the party, but I don't think a 15% TCA peel is going to do anything for your acne scarring. I typically use a 20-25% peel for fine lines and these are much easier to treat than acne scars. I would save the misery and go see a plastic surgeon in your area who can at least go over the best options for you. After that, save your money and get the best treatment FOR YOUR PROBLEM not the best one you can afford now.

Robert Frank, MD
Munster Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 43 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.