Acne scars are equally as difficult to deal with as acne itself. Chemical peels for acne scars are one of the best treatments to help lighten discoloration caused by inflammation from acne. Although there are different types of acne scars, they usually result because of skin damage in some way. Even though acne scars can be challenging to treat, they’re not impossible, and that’s where acne scar chemical peels come into play.
What is A Chemical Peel?
A chemical peel is a noninvasive treatment that reduces the appearance of acne scars. Chemical peels for acne scars use a unique acid-based solution to exfoliate away the outer layer of skin. Then, new, fresh skin replaces the damaged skin, which is less scarred in appearance. Chemical peels can also help improve active acne by accelerating the rate of exfoliation to unclog the pores. Chemical peels can lighten acne-related discoloration and even textural changes to the skin.
Are Chemical Peels Safe for Acne Scars?
Chemical peels are totally safe for acne scars and are a go-to treatment. They also help improve active breakouts, too. Chemical peels are safe for all acne scars, including atrophic acne scars and hyperpigmentation that occurs after a breakout. Chemical peels are excellent acne scar treatment tools because they help stimulate new collagen within the skin while sloughing away discolored, dead skin that can mar your complexion.
Collagen is an essential skin protein that gives the skin firmness and support. When acne scars damage collagen, the result is depressed areas of the skin. Chemical peels for acne scar work to replenish collagen within the skin and speed up the rate of skin cell turnover to improve scarring for a smoother skin texture.
Best Chemical Peel for Acne Scars
Several different chemical peels can be used for acne, including light or superficial peels, medium-depth peels, and deep chemical peels. Light peels are most common and use alpha hydroxy or beta hydroxy acids; medium peels rely on trichloroacetic acid (TCA), and deep peels use phenol. The best chemical peel for your acne scars depends on your skin type, concerns, skin tone, and the amount of downtime the peel requires, if any.
Light chemical peels for acne that use glycolic acid or lighter concentrations of TCA are best. They help to decongest pores and exfoliate the skin. By removing dead skin cells, areas where blemishes once existed are lighter in color after new skin forms. Deeper or raised acne scars may respond better to a series of medium peels to jumpstart collagen within the skin. When TCA is used on atrophic ice pick scars, it stimulates new collagen since a small amount of TCA is deposited directly into the skin indentations.
While chemical peels won’t give you acne, sometimes they can have a purging effect and push whatever contents are in the pores out of them.
How Do You Prepare for the Procedure?
Once you’ve been deemed a good candidate for a chemical peel, you’ll be told to avoid using all exfoliating ingredients and products for at least 24 hours before the treatment. If you have a history of herpes simplex or cold sores, it’s advised to take an antiviral before a chemical peel to prevent a breakout. Some patients may also be instructed to use retinol or a retinoid in the weeks leading up to a chemical peel for acne to help promote skin cell turnover and shorten downtime. Also, avoid any medications or supplements that can affect blood clotting.
Before and after a chemical peel, it’s crucial to moisturize the sun, wear sunscreen, and avoid direct sun exposure. Don’t shave, wax, or pluck the treated areas for a few days to prevent irritation and unwanted discoloration. After the treatment, the skin can appear like a sunburn, and there may be redness, swelling, crusting, and peeling for the next seven to 14 days, depending on the strength of the peel.