There are many ways on how to get rid of acne scars. You can opt for natural treatments like lemon or aloe vera, use over-the-counter gels or creams like Dermefface FX7 to reduce their appearance, or wait for them to fade on their own.
The good news is there are treatments available to help you get rid of the marks left by your pimples on your face. Say hello to chemical peel for acne scars.
Before you rush to your dermatologist, here are 16 things you need to know about this procedure and find out whether it is the best treatment for you:
1. Getting Up Close and Personal with Chemical Peels
The skin obsession to keep your skin in tiptop shape will always be part of your system. This is why you are willing to do whatever it takes to keep your skin in its best state. One of the best ways to do that is through chemical peels.
Chemical peels are one of the least invasive procedures that improve the appearance of your skin. It uses chemical solution to smooth the texture of your skin and get rid of the damaged outer layers of your skin.
Here are some of the skin conditions chemical peel can address:
- Scars including acne scars
- Sun-damaged skin
- Signs of aging such as lines and wrinkles
- Irregular or uneven skin tone
- Rough skin
- Scaly patches
Since you are after getting rid of acne scars, read the next section to find out the relationship between chemical peeling and acne scarring.
2. Best of Friends: Chemical Peels for Acne Scars
Now that you know how chemical peel works, here’s the next question: how does it treat acne scars?
It’s all because of the chemicals used.
The chemical used in this procedure strips off dead skin cells on the surface of your skin, thereby making it highly effective. Once the dead skin cells are gone, newer, fresher, and younger cells move up to the surface of your skin and replace old, dull, and damaged ones. These younger skin cells are smaller and have more natural skin tone.
That’s not all. A chemical peel stimulates collagen production beneath your skin, which not only fills pitted scars but also makes your skin strong and more flexible.
3. Battle of the Chemical Peels: At Home Versus In-Office Procedure
You might think that the beat way to get a chemical peel is by scheduling an appointment with your dermatologist. That’s fine.
Did you know that you could do chemical peeling at the comfort of your home? In fact, there are lots of products sold in the market, which you can use in case you can’t schedule a doctor’s visit.
Which is better: at-home acne chemical peels or in-office treatment?
At-home chemical peel is a type of treatment that you can do at home. Compared to in-office procedures, chemical peel kits sold in the market are only strong enough to get rid of the “glue” that enables dead skin cells to linger on your face. When you opt for in-office treatment, you are treated with stronger concentration and deliver more effective results but could cause skin irritation.
Between the two, what type of treatment should you go for? The answer is it depends on your skin’s condition. For mild acne scars, at-home treatments may work and make scars less noticeable. In case you have deep scars, then it is best to consult your doctor for more appropriate treatment.
4. The Best Candidates for Chemical Peel – and Why It Won’t Work for Everyone
Chemical peel only wants the best for you. Unfortunately, this procedure won’t work for everyone. Below are not good candidates for this type of treatment:
- Abnormal pigmentation
- Pregnant women
- Individuals with Asian or Afro-Caribbean skin
- Has history of abnormal skin scarring
- Those with active herpes lesions
- Facial warts
- Individuals with red hair and pale freckled skin
- Prior use of acne treatments within the last year
The chemicals used in this treatment could worsen existing skin conditions, which makes the treatment less effective. Before you schedule an Obagi blue peel, make sure you fit in the criteria of appropriate candidates for this procedure. This way, you will get the most out of this treatment.
5. There is No Such Thing as One Size Fits All for Chemical Peels
Chemical peeling lives under one philosophy, at least when it coms to acne: to help you get rid of acne scars for good. Apparently, there is no one size that fits all, which means chemical peels come with varying degrees according to your skin’s current acne scarring condition.
Below are the types of chemical peels:
- Superficial or light peel, which is the gentlest type of peeling.
- Medium depth peels, which offers more dramatic results because of its ability to penetrate a bit deeper into your skin.
- Deep peels, or a type of peel that provides amazing results.
These types of peels have varying percentages of concentration, peeling agents, active ingredients, and pH levels. As much as you want to get rid of acne scarred areas, the type of chemical peel to be used will depend on your skin condition.
Keep reading to learn more about the types of chemical peels in detail.
6. Understanding Superficial Peels a Little Bit Better
If you are lucky, acne scars and other skin issues won’t take too much toll in your skin. In case you want to clear your skin for mild blemishes, then superficial or light chemical peel can be an option.
There are three options under this procedure:
- Glycolic Acid Treatments – It is a popular treatment for acne and wrinkles because of its ability to uncover the smooth and young skin underneath. At the same time, it gets rid of the rough and dry skin on the surface.
- Lactic Acid Peel – In case you have sensitive skin, lactic acid treatment is your best bet. It has hydrating properties to keep your skin moisturized, comes with anti-aging benefits, and boosts the production of collagen and elastin in your body.
- Salicylic Acid Peel – This type of light chemical peel reduces fine lines, wrinkles, scarring, and other blemishes in your skin to keep it fresh and young.
Superficial peels require six to 10 treatments to achieve best results. Generally, it doesn’t hurt and has little recovery time, but you may experience redness, stinging, or tingling sensation after the treatment. Don’t worry. This, too, shall pass.
In case you have more serious skin issues, then the next section might be your best option.
7. The Benefits of Medium Peels in Addressing Skin Issues
If you have acne scars, uneven skin color, or deeper wrinkles, then medium chemical peels can help. Trichloroacetic acid or TCA is the chemical used for this option removes your epidermis and upper part of your dermis to reveal fresher and newer skin. It has the ability to reach and penetrate deeply into your skin and suitable for most skin types, including dark tones.
Compared to superficial peels, medium peels have longer recovery time and comes with side effects such as:
- Stinging sensation
- Skin crusting
- Pain and discomfort
- Hyperpigmentation during the healing process and may take up to six weeks before your skin returns to normal
Give your skin at least a week to recover before you can show your face to the public.
Let’s say you have deeper scars or you want to prevent pre-cancerous growths. Make sure to read the next section to find out your option.
8. The What, When, and Why of Deep Chemical Peel
In worst cases, scars may be deep or you developed deep facial wrinkles on your face. In that case, deep chemical peel will be your best option.
Deep peels are the strongest type of chemical peels that use phenol or high strength trichloroacetic acid to penetrate deeply into your skin, including the lower dermal layers. This procedure can be painful so you will need local anesthesia and sedative to help you manage any discomfort. Apart from this, pre-treatment is required to speed up the healing process.
Deep chemical peel is effective in treating deep scars. Apparently, the results are not too good. Some of the side effects include:
- Peeling, redness, discomfort, and crusting, which will last for days.
- Permanent skin pallor or hypopigmentation where your skin slowly turns into ghostly white and often irreversible.
- Your skin loses the ability to make pigments, which means getting a tan is impossible.
- Increased risk of scarring.
- Pose a special risk in case you have a heart condition.
- May create unnatural disharmony with the freckles on your skin, which is why it is not recommended if you have freckled skin.
Keep in mind that recover will take time and it will take a minimum of two weeks before you are able to get back to your normal activities. The good thing about this is that the procedure will last long, even up to 10 years.
9. Say Hello to the Amazing Benefits of Chemical Peels
You might be thinking: there are many options available to help you get rid of acne scars. Why should you go for chemical peel? The truth is there are many reasons why you should consider this treatment. Benefits of this procedure incudes:
- Reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles on your skin.
- Minimal down time, which means you can get a treatment and not worry about recovery time after, unless you went for medium or deep peels.
- Improves the texture of your skin through exfoliation and increased cell turnover
- Boosts collagen growth to stimulate renewal of cells.
- Helps you achieve vibrant and younger-looking skin.
- Minimizes the appearance of scars left by acne.
- Makes sun damage and melasma less noticeable.
Given these benefits, you are surely on your way to getting your confidence back.
10. Getting to Know the Not-So-Good Side of this Cosmetic Procedure
Sadly, most procedures come with side effects and chemical peel is not exempted. In fact, chemical peel also comes with risks and side effects, which are hard to run away from.
Below are the side effects associated with this procedure:
- Higher risk of scarring
- Temporary or permanent change in your skin color
- Abnormal pigmentation, especially if you use hormone medications or have a family history of brown discoloration
- Risk of reactivation of herpes virus
- Higher risk of developing keloids
- TCA used in medium peels is a suspected carcinogen according to the International Agency on Cancer Research
It is important to take note of these risks and discuss it with your doctor before agreeing on something. This way, you will get the most out of this procedure without compromising your health and overall appearance.
11. Keeping Your Expectations Realistic During and After the Treatment
Now you know what chemical peel can do for your acne scars, the different peels available depending on the severity of scars, and the risks and benefits that come with it. Here’s the next question: what can you expect during and after the procedure?
During the Procedure
- Your face will be cleaned in preparation for the procedure. For deep peels, your doctor will give you intravenous fluids and your heart rate will be monitored closely.
- Brush, gauze, cotton ball, or cotton-tipped applicator that contains the appropriate chemical will be applied on your skin. At this point, your skin starts to whiten and you will feel a stinging sensation.
- For light peels, a neutralizing solution will be used to wash the chemicals on your face. In case of medium peels, cool compress or hand-held fan will be given to cool your skin.
After the Chemical Peel
Here’s what to expect after your chemical peel:
- Redness, stinging sensation, dryness, and skin irritation are normal few hours after the treatment. This may last for days up to a week in case of medium or deep peels.
- For medium peels, applying protective ointment like petroleum jelly and using ice packs will help in soothing the area.
- In case of deep peels, you will experience swelling and severe redness. Watertight dressing on the treated skin is recommended, coupled with intake of painkillers. It is best to stay at home for at least two weeks to allow your skin to heal.
- Make sure to pay attention to after-care treatment to minimize complications and possible side effects.
12. Get Ready and Check Out the Tips on How to Prepare for the Procedure
Here is something you should know about chemical peels for acne scars: you can’t just walk in to your doctor’s office and get treatment right away. It turns out that you need to do certain preparatory measures to ensure success of this procedure.
Before your scheduling peeling, your doctor will do and ask you the following:
- Medical history, including past and present medical conditions, medications taken, and other cosmetic procedures you had in the past.
- Physical exam to check the severity of acne scarring on your face.
- Discuss any expectations, possible risks, and what you want to achieve after the procedure.
Once you settled these issues, your doctor will require you to do pre-treatment procedures to make sure that you will enjoy the benefits of this treatment.
Here are tips on how to prepare for chemical peel:
- Take antiviral medication, especially if you had herpes infection around your mouth.
- For might or medium peel, use retinoid creams to shorten treatment time and speed up the healing process.
- Apply bleaching agents to prevent darkening of the skin.
- In case you are having light chemical peel, apply glycolic acid lotion for two weeks for a more even skin tone.
- Minimize sun exposure, or at least wear sunscreen when going out is unavoidable.
- One week before the scheduled peeling, stop any cosmetic treatments like waxing or using depilatory hair removal products.
- Avoid skin bleaching, facial scrub, or massages one week before your scheduled peeling.
Remember these tips and you will surely minimize unwanted side effects.
13. A Recipe for Success: The Success Rate of Chemical Peel for Acne Scars
If you want to enjoy the benefits of chemical peels, then you will need more than just one treatment, depending on your skin’s scarring condition. Light or medium peel must also be part of your skincare routine to maintain results.
Chemical peel will give you exceptional results. Still, if you want to ensure long-term benefits, make sunscreen application a habit to make the effects last.
14. Get to Know the Limitations of Chemical Peel
Chemical peels can reduce the appearance of acne scars, fine lines, wrinkles, and other blemishes in your skin. It can also even your skin tone and get your confidence level back on track.
Is there anything chemical peel can’t do?
Believe it or not, chemical peels are not miracle treatments and in fact, it has limitations as well. Chemical peels will not:
- Target wrinkles found in the deeper layers of your skin.
- Act as a substitute for face lifts.
- Make your skin younger than your age, but it can help improve the quality of your skin to make you look young.
- Heal immediately. Unless you opted for superficial peels, it will take some time before you can go back to your normal routine.
- Remove your tattoos, since the ink is penetrated deeply into your skin.
- Tighten your skin, but it can do so when combined with face lift.
In addressing your existing skin conditions, it is important that you discuss your options with your doctor to find out the most appropriate treatment for you.
15. Don’t Forget the Price Tag: The Cost You Have to Pay to Say Goodbye to Acne Scars
All good things come with a price – literally. If you want something that works, then you must also be willing to pay for the cost.
That being said, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons revealed that as of 2014, the average chemical peel cost is at $632 per session. Unfortunately, this amount does not yet include anesthesia fees, the cost of facility, and medications for after-care.
Don’t worry. The cost of chemical peel varies and depends on various factors. This includes:
- Professional and consultation fee of your doctor.
- Geographic location of the office or clinic.
- Frequency or number of treatments required to attain favorable results.
- The type of chemical peel.
- Other related expenses.
In case you’re wondering, chemical peels are not covered by your insurance. This procedure is classified under cosmetics and unless it is medically necessary, you will have to pay for the expenses. Make sure you ask your doctor about the costs involved to give you an idea as to how much you should prepare.
16. Other Tips and Ideas Worth Trying Against Acne Scars
Aside from chemical peel, below are the other options you can try to say goodbye to acne scars on your face:
- Apply fresh lemon juice on acne scarred areas.
- Consider microdermabrasion for acne scars.
- Try apple cider vinegar on scarred areas.
- Use cortisone creams to reduce skin inflammation and promote healing.
- Apply scar creams like Dermefface FX7.
- Get fillers for indented acne scars or go for laser treatment.
- Stay away from the harmful effects of Mr. Sun.
- Exfoliate regularly to get rid of dead skin cells on your face and allow new, fresh, and healthy skin cells to reveal themselves on the surface of your skin.
- Do not pick, prick, or pop your pimples.
Chemical peels for acne scars may be an effective way to get rid of those marks on your face. Still, don’t forget to consider the tips mentioned above to reduce the appearance of acne scars. More importantly, ask your doctor about the best options available against acne scarring before settling on a particular treatment.