Chemical Peels for Acne Scars: Is It Safe?

Some people who struggle with acne are left with unwanted scarring. Most of these people look for effective ways to diminish the look of this scarring and return their skin to its natural state. There are several acne scar removal products and treatment options available to help reduce the appearance of these acne scars, but chemical peels are one of the most popular options. Below is some information about chemical peels, their benefits, and any risk factors associated with this treatment option.

How Are Chemical Peels Performed?

Chemical peels are applied to the skin area where the scarring has occurred. This is usually on the facial area, but can be located anywhere on the skin. After the chemical peel is applied to the skin, it soaks into the epidermis and sometimes even into the dermis portions of the skin. How deep the peel soaks into the skin is
dependent on the type of chemical peel that is used. Over the following two weeks, the chemical peel will start to shed, as will parts of your skin. This is done in a controlled manner, so the new, healthy skin cells can grow in its place.

Home versus Professional

There are some chemical peels that can be purchased over-the-counter and applied to your skin at home. These home products are not as strong as those performed in the doctor’s office. They are typically not as effective, but they also do not have as many severe side effects as those performed by doctors. This is because the home chemical peels usually do not actually remove any part of your skin, but rather only removed dead skin cells.

Benefits You Can Get

Chemical peels are believed to be very effective at diminishing acne scarring if done correctly. While this treatment option can diminish the scarring, it will not totally remove the scars from the skin. It is also important to realize that most people will need to have several chemical peels done to get the results they want. In some cases, a person may even need to have a chemical peel done every three to six months on a continuous basis. Chemical peels be very effective on a temporary basis, but usually do not produce permanent results.

Side Effects

Some people experience pain and soreness to the skin area after having this procedure done. This pain and discomfort usually subsides after a few days or weeks. There may also be some swelling and noticeable redness to the skin after having a chemical peel. These effects also tend to subside over time. You can expect to have a strong sensitivity to the sunlight for up to twelve months after having the procedure done. You will be required to wear sunscreen every time you go outside for at least six months, which may help reduce this sensitivity to the sun.

Risk Associated With These Products

One of the major risks of chemical peels is the possibility that the skin will change color on a permanent basis. This risk is greater for those with darker skin tones. As with any skin care product or procedure, there is also the risk of having an allergic reaction to the chemical peel. You or your doctor should perform a test on a small area of the skin to check for an allergic reaction before using any chemical peel on a larger portion of your skin.

Since the peel causes the removal of portions of your skin, you will be prone to infection after having a chemical peel. Careful attention to the skin immediately after the application of the chemical peel is necessary to reduce this risk of infection. If you are having a deeper chemical peel performed, you will likely be given a local anesthesia, which has its own set of risk factors. The deeper the chemical peel, the more at risk you are for having damaging side effects.

Chemical peels can be quite effective for certain people with specific types of acne scarring. However, this option may not be right for every person with acne scarring. As with any medical procedure, you may want to check with your doctor before using any home chemical peels on your skin. A doctor can access your skin condition and provide advice on whether this is the best option for you.


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