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Chemical Peels: Can Chemical Peels Make Acne Scars Worse?

Chemical peels have taken the anti-aging cosmetic treatment world by storm. They’re quick, accessible, and highly effective ways to rejuvenate the skin. But when you’re considering a chemical peel for acne scars, it’s good to have all the information. Depending on the type and severity of scarring, chemical peels could be a great option, or they might not be your best choice. Let’s explore more about chemical peels for acne scars.

What to Expect During a Chemical Peel Treatment

Chemical peels are considered chemical exfoliants. Unlike microdermabrasion treatments, which utilize a special mildly abrasive tool to remove the top layer of dead skin cells, chemical peels use a specially formulated chemical solution to slough off dead skin. Additionally, they have the ability to penetrate even further into the layers of the dermis and epidermis, so they’re a popular treatment option for people looking to target stubborn skin conditions.

Because chemical peel formulas are varied, they can often be customized for the patient’s specific skin type and needs. Peels come in different depths, and some chemical peels even require a pre-appointment topical agent to be applied in order to maximize results. The exact type of chemical used and the length of the treatment will depend largely on the patient’s skin type and the desired results. That said, most peels can be performed in under a half hour.

Some mild redness and flaking are the most commonly reported side effects, but these should dissipate within a few days post-treatment, and for many they don’t occur at all. Since chemical peels effectively strip the top layer of dead skin cells, the skin beneath can be a bit sensitive after a treatment, but rest assured that the skin cells are regenerating and collagen and elastin (the substances that help with skin’s elasticity and firmness) are being produced.

Chemical Peels for Acne Scars

Chemical peels are a highly popular option for those with oily or acne prone skin. Why? Because with their strong chemical solutions and key active ingredients, they’re able to help treat issues that lie beneath the surface of the skin. They can help lighten and brighten dark spots and even remove dirt, oil, bacteria, and dead skin cells that clog pores, leading to breakouts.

When we’re talking about chemical peels for acne scarring in particular, there are a few things to keep in mind. If you have mild acne scarring, chemical peels can be an excellent option to smooth and revive skin. Because they promote collagen production in the body, the skin cells may respond favorably to a peel by “filling in” some surface-level scars. Plus, any dark spots left over from past acne breakouts can be significantly lightened through repeated peel treatments – typically every two to eight weeks.

But some types of skin, and some acne scars, are not necessarily equipped to handle chemical peels. Occasionally, especially with severe or deeper scars, additional scarring can take place during the healing process. When the new skin cells are being regenerated, a phenomenon can happen that creates either too much or too little collagen. This can result in hypertrophic scars or atrophic scars. Your best bet for avoiding this issue is working with a board-certified dermatologist to prescribe the appropriate chemical peel for you, and advise against the treatment if needed.

Contact Vanguard Dermatology

If you’re located in the greater New York City area and feeling concerned about your acne scars, contact Vanguard Dermatology today for an appointment with one of our board-certified specialists. We can conduct an examination of your skin and determine whether you’re a good candidate for chemical peels.

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