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Chemical Peels for Acne Scars: How It Works

June 14, 2021
Dr. George Moynihan

Acne scars are one of the most common skin issues both men and women inevitably deal with at some point in their lives. For some, the scars are light enough not to be visible, but others may need cosmetic interventions like chemical peels for acne scars to lighten them thus making them less visible.

Be reminded, however, that not all acne scars can be effectively addressed by a chemical peel. The cosmetic method or technique to be used will largely depend on the type of acne scar. In general, if the acne mark is a flat, dark scar, then chemical peels for acne marks could be the ideal solution. But if the acne scar is deep or depressed, your doctor might deem a dermal filler as the more appropriate treatment for you.

Here are a few things to remember if you’re thinking about undergoing a chemical peel treatment for your acne marks:

1. How do chemical peels for acne marks work?

Briefly, a chemical peel works by removing the outer layer of the skin, damaging it in the process to stimulate new skin growth. The new skin will be healthier and blemish-free. Depending on how dark or light the discoloration is, patients may achieve their desired results in just one session while others may need several sessions to reach their goal. Your doctor will develop a treatment plan for you and discuss the step-by-step process, including results to be achieved for each step.

What all this basically means is that if you’re considering chemical peels for acne marks or scars, your doctor is the best person to determine if you are the ideal candidate for it or if another option is more fitting for your skin condition and goal.

2. Why is a chemical peel an effective solution for lightening acne marks?

Assuming your doctor has already determined that a chemical peel is indeed the perfect solution to your skin problem, you might be curious to know why chemical peels are often prescribed for acne marks. Here’s a brief explanation of what happens to your skin when you receive a chemical peel treatment:

During your treatment, the doctor will apply a chemical solution on your face. You may feel a little sting as the chemical begins to penetrate the skin. This chemical removes the outer layer of skin, including dead skin cells, and also stimulates collagen production, which in turn generates new skin over time. This new skin, as mentioned above, is smoother, lighter, and blemish-free.

3. Optimal results are achieved over time

Patients are reminded that they will not see results immediately after treatment. Days following your treatment, you will notice your skin slowly peeling off. Do not peel it on your own as it may damage the skin beneath it, which may cause scabbing or new scars to form. Let the skin fall off on its own.

As for when you will see noticeable results, it depends on the type of peel you received: light, medium, or deep. Light chemical peels for acne marks usually take only about two to three weeks to manifest results. For medium and deep peels, results may take several months to appear.

Are there other options for lightening acne marks and scars? Yes, there are other options, which are non-surgical as well. Apart from dermal fillers, other non-invasive treatments for acne scars and dark spots include laser skin resurfacing, dermabrasion, and microneedling.

Consult a facial plastic surgeon for your acne scar treatment

If you wish to learn more about chemical peels for acne and whether or not you are the ideal candidate for this type treatment, please feel free to give us a call at (312) 736-7793. If you wish to schedule an online consultation with Dr. George T. Moynihan, please fill out the form here.

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