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Chemical Peels: Can Chemical Peels Make Acne Scars Worse?

Chemical peels for acne scars are a commonly prescribed dermatological treatment option. Chemical peels are fantastic chemical exfoliants that can make a huge difference in minimizing signs of wear on the skin – whether from sun damage, acne scars, or the overall aging process. But when it comes to those acne scars, can chemical peels ever make them worse instead of better? Here’s the 411 on chemical peels for acne scars.

What to Know About Chemical Peels


How Does a Chemical Peel Work?

Unlike scrubs or microdermabrasion treatments that use mildly abrasive tools or microbeads to physically slough off dead skin cells, chemical peels are chemical exfoliants. This means that they work by utilizing a specialized chemical solution formulated at a specific depth appropriate for the skin type and concerns being targeted. They are also able to penetrate skin at a much deeper level due to their powerful active ingredients.

Chemical peels not only remove the top layer of dead skin cells, dirt, oil, and other debris that can lead to clogged pores or tired-looking skin, but they can target issues that lie beneath the surface of the skin. Acne is one of those common issues that originates in layers of the skin under the surface. Because chemical peels can reach these layers, they’re often a very good option for people with oily or acne-prone skin.

And because the skin responds to a chemical peel by growing new skin cells and producing collagen and elastin, skin is often much smoother post-treatment. With repeated treatments at two to eight-week intervals, many people notice their acne scars diminishing in appearance.

Chemical Peels for Acne Scars

There are several types of scarring that can take place from years or decades of acne breakouts – like dark spots, pockmarks, rolling scars, boxcar scars, and more. Whether it’s from the patient picking at their pimples or pustules, or from deeper trauma like cystic acne, breakouts can leave their mark on the skin for a lifetime.

Chemical peels are often prescribed for mild acne scarring, especially surface-level scars like dark spots or minor depressions in the skin. But they may not always be the best option for patients with severe raised or depressed acne scars. During the healing process after a chemical peel treatment, the skin might be at risk of producing too much collagen, which can lead to raised bumps called hypertrophic scars. Or, the skin might produce too little collagen, which can possibly cause depressions in the skin called atrophic scars.

It can be frustrating to receive chemical peels for acne scars only to walk away with further damage to the skin. Therefore, it’s crucial to work with a board-certified dermatologist who can examine your skin and make the appropriate treatment recommendations – and ultimately decide whether a chemical peel will benefit or hinder your skin care journey.

Contact Louisiana Dermatology Associates

If you’re in Baton Rouge or the surrounding areas and want to learn more about chemical peels for acne scars, contact Louisiana Dermatology Associates today for an appointment with one of our board-certified specialists to schedule a consultation. We have decades of experience working with acne-prone patients and would be happy to answer your questions and formulate a treatment plan that’s right for you.

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