Best Chemical Peel for Acne Scars, Overview, Results and Precautions

Are medicines not working for your acne prone skin? Do you want to get rid of your acne scars? If yes, then chemical peel for acne scars is the solution for you. Before getting this treatment done you need to know what it actually is.

What is Chemical Peeling?

Basically, chemical peel for acne scars is a process that involves using a variety of chemical solutions on the skin (generally the face and neck) in order to get rid of acne marks.

These chemicals allow the damaged skin to be removed, perform exfoliation and result in having a smoother and healthier skin.

Types of Chemical Peel

Depending upon your skin condition and the layer of skin you wish to target, there are 3 kinds of chemical peels;

  1. Glycolic Acid Peel

Glycolic Acid Peel for acne scars

Known to be the safest kind of chemical peel, Glycolic Acid Peel uses fruit acid that is commonly extracted from sugar cane in order to penetrate the outer layer of the skin. Many aestheticians say that no side effects are associated with this kind of peel. Such a peel only removes outermost dead and dry skin revealing the newer healthier skin present underneath it. Anyone who gets Glycolic acid peel is supposed to undergo a quick recovery period. Multiple sessions of this peel give effective results and are generally recommended as well.

As this peel remains more of a superficial peel targeting only the first epidermal layer, it is normally suited for people with minor acne scaring.

  1. Phenol Peel

Phenol Peel for acne scars

The kind of chemical peel that targets the deepest skin layer is known as Phenol Peel. It is not as commonly used by aestheticians for acne scars as it is used for reducing aging signs. Phenol Peel needs to be done at a clinical center and the process is generally 1 to 2 hours long. If you are looking for a home chemical peel for acne scars, then this one is not for you. This treatment is known to treat acute acne scars, any discoloration, and wrinkling. Due to its deep penetration properties, it is known to last for as long as ten years and is required to be done only once. The downside to this chemical peel is that it requires a considerable recovery time, you cannot expect to get your skin looking normal in just a few days. It also has some consequences depending on your skin type. There is a chance of having discoloration and infections once you are done with the treatment.

  1. Trichloro-acetic Acid (TCA) Peel

Trichloro-acetic Acid (TCA) Peel for acne scars

An in-between option is Trichloro-acetic Acid (TCA) peel that penetrates to the medium layer of the skin. It is not as superficial as Glycolic Acid peel and not as deep as Phenol one. With TCA peel you can uncover healthier and smoother skin that is free from acne scars. You can perform multiple TCA peels. The recovery process spans up to 10-12 weeks. Although it is not as penetrating as Phenol Peel, you might face some discoloration after TCA peel as well.

These 3 are considered to be the best chemical peels for acne scars. There are also other less commonly known methods of performing chemical peels including Betahydroxy acid (BHA) or Blue Peel and Salicylic Acid Peel. During a chemical peel, your skin is thoroughly cleansed and then the chemical is applied to it. You might have a stinging pain or a burning sensation during the process, which is usually reduced by means of cooling agents.

Who should get a Chemical Peel?

Chemical peel is not recommended for those suffering from acne marks. The kind of treatment varies with your skin type and acne condition. If you are someone with a darker skin searching for the best chemical peel for acne scars on dark skin, then we recommend you to go for Trichloro-acetic Acid (TCA) peel. If you suffer from severe acne scars that are deep-rooted in your skin, then Phenol peel is what you need. Chemical peel is not recommended for people who have active acne that is maturing. In case you have any cystic acne, chemical peeling is not for you. Pregnant women must also refrain from getting such a treatment. Anyone with superficial acne scars should definitely go for Glycolic Acid Peel that does not have any harmful side-effects. If you wish to get an at home chemical peel for acne scars then you might want to contact a licensed cosmetologist who is allowed to perform such a task at your home.

Short run and long run results of chemical peels

As far as the immediate results are concerned, you should not expect to get a glowing smoother skin soon after you come out of your surgery.

In the short run, the skin looks red, gets really dry and undergoes a lot of flaking. Some people might experience swelling as well. Don’t worry, these are all normal symptoms and they are an indication that your skin is healing.  With superficial and mild peels the recovery time is smaller and you are allowed to resume your daily activities within a few days, but with deep peels like Phenol peel you must take extra care, like avoiding sun exposure and giving yourself some rest as the recovery process is a bit far-fetched.

However, in the long run, you should expect a healthy looking skin that is free from acne scars. In case of Phenol peels, you might not even need to get another peel for a year or two.  Just a heads up: if you suffer from deep acne scars you might not be able to see a big difference in your skin before and after a chemical peel for acne scars.

It’s always a good idea to visit your aesthetician, doing some research and maybe look for some chemical peel for acne scars before and after pictures to see what results you can be expecting after the treatment.

acne peel before and after

Sources and References

  1. WomensHealth Acne
  2. MedlinePlus Acne
  3. NCBI Acne Scars: Pathogenesis, Classification and Treatment

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