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Can A Chemical Peel Treat Acne Scars?


Posted June 20, 2024 in Face

Acne is on the rise, affecting a reported 50 million Americans. The common skin condition often leaves behind hard-to-conceal dark spots and scars, technically known as acne scars. Some acne scars are far more stubborn than others, and the only way to lighten them up and improve their rough, pitted, or pockmark texture is with a cosmetic treatment, which is where a chemical peel comes into play. Relying on a chemical peel for acne scars is a time-tested treatment that proves effective no matter the type of acne or resulting scar.

What Is a Chemical Peel?

A chemical peel is a quick and easy-to-perform non-invasive skin care treatment that utilizes any combination of exfoliating acids (sometimes paired with other skin-improving ingredients) to speed up the rate of exfoliation and renew the skin. A chemical peel helps remove dead skin cells, unclog the pores, and stimulate new and healthy collagen, which can help address both active acne and the scars they leave behind. Several different types of chemical peels exist, and the best one for your skin and acne scars depends on your skin type, skin tone, and the type of acne scar being targeted. Even though chemical peels improve acne scars, they are also effective in treating fine lines, melasma, active acne, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, and dullness.

No matter the exfoliating acids used in a chemical peel or the strength of the peel, all chemical peels work by exfoliating the top layer of skin to lift away dead skin cells and clear the pores. Since most chemical peels don’t necessitate a lengthy downtime or any recovery period at all, they are the perfect skin-rejuvenating treatment to pair with others for an all-over skin refresh.

Are Chemical Peels Safe for Acne Scars?

Chemical peels are one of the best ways to treat acne scars. With a long standing track record, chemical peels for acne scars are safe and can improve most types of acne scars as well as active breakouts. Typically, a series of treatments are recommended spaced out at least four weeks apart so that the skin can reap the benefits of the chemical peel and improve the scarring by creating new collagen. Since acne is an inflammatory condition, acne lesions can destroy the collagen in the skin, depending on the degree of inflammation, which is responsible for pitted and pockmark scars.

When relying on chemical peels for acne scar improvement, peels are an excellent way to smooth out the rough texture and improve any post-breakout discoloration because the peel itself creates new collagen in the skin. At the same time, it physically lifts away dead, dull, and discolored skin cells so that new, healthy ones can emerge in their place. With each peel, collagen emerges more organized, giving the skin the support it needs to be firm, smooth, and healthy looking. With new collagen in the works and skin cell turnover at a sped-up pace, the two functionalities of chemical peels for acne scars help dramatically improve the look of scarring for improved skin tone and texture.

The Best Chemical Peels for Different Acne Scars

The type of scars you have determines which chemical peel is best for you. Each peel has different strengths, which dictate how deep it will penetrate the various layers of skin. The different types of peels are light, medium, and deep, and they typically employ alpha hydroxy, beta hydroxy acids, trichloroacetic acid, or phenol.

To treat acne scars, a specialized combination of acids can be used, which can consist of glycolic acid, a light dose of TCA, or salicylic acid. Together, the acids work to unclog the pores and exfoliate the skin to leave it smoother and brighter. The dose of the chemical peel also determines how much skin peeling, if any, will occur.

One type of chemical peel that we use to help improve acne scars is the VI Peel. Its unique blend of ingredients produces powerful results with no pain, no skin preparation, and little downtime. The VI Peel improves the skin’s tone, texture, and clarity while reducing hyperpigmentation and helping to reduce or eliminate acne scars. It also stimulates collagen for firmer, more youthful skin.

What to Expect with a Chemical Peel for Acne Scars

Before undergoing a chemical peel for acne scars, it is always best to have a consultation. During a consultation, our team of skin experts will assess your skin’s condition to determine the best chemical peel to help you achieve your goals.

Before a chemical peel, the skin is cleansed of all makeup, sunscreen, and oils. Then, a chemical solution is applied to the skin that exfoliates the outermost layer of the skin, which is left on for a few minutes. Then, in the days following the peel, the dull, discolored, dead skin cells start to slough off, and acne scars appear to improve. As the skin is shedding and healing, keeping it well-hydrated and protected from the sun is essential. It is also customary for the skin to be red, crusty, dry, and flake, which can last a few days.

Once the results are visible, you’ll want to follow the recommended skincare routine and a maintenance plan. This way, the skin will stay on the path to health, and the acne scars will continue to improve.

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Plastic Surgery Center of Atlanta

5673 Peachtree Dunwoody Road, Suite 100
Atlanta, GA 30342

Alchemy Aesthetics

5667 Peachtree Dunwoody Rd #285
Atlanta, GA 30342

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