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Chemical Peels for Acne Scars: What to Expect

Chemical Peels for Acne Scars: What to Expect

Acne affects millions of Americans, which makes it the most common skin condition in the US, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Although breakouts can absolutely be embarrassing, many people who have acne find the disease leaves an unpleasant reminder long after the breakouts have stopped: visible acne scars.

Acne scars can be just as embarrassing as the pimples and pustules that cause them. The good news is that chemical peels can help fade those scars and restore your confidence in your beautiful complexion.

At Starkey Medical Esthetics in Salem, Virginia, Michele Meinhart, FNP, offers a variety of chemical peel options that enable her to tailor treatment to every patient’s needs and goals. In this post, she offers a quick overview of chemical peels and how they’re used to treat acne scars.

Why acne scars happen

Pimples and other acne lesions form inside hair follicles, when dead skin cells and excess oil combine to form sticky plugs that block the follicle opening and trap bacteria. Lodged in the warm environment of your follicles, bacteria begin to multiply, triggering an inflammatory response that leads to pimples, pustules, and sore, red skin. 

In mild acne, the inflammatory response is also mild, and eventually, the follicle opens and the pimple clears up. If these lesions do leave scars, they’re generally minor. However, in more severe acne, inflammation damages the skin’s structure, leaving behind visible scars that can be quite deep or large.

Acne can create scars that are raised above your skin as well as scars that leave depressions in your skin. Very deep scars are called icepick scars or boxcar scars. Fortunately, all types of acne scars can be treated.

Chemical peels for acne scars

Chemical peels can be an excellent solution for most types of acne scars, softening the edges of scars so they become dramatically less noticeable or disappear entirely. Chemical peels use special solutions that, when applied to your skin, gently lift away the upper layer of skin tissue, leaving behind skin that’s smoother and softer.

Peels range in strength from mild to deep. We’ll select the peel that’s best for your skin type, your goals, and the type of scars you have. 

Because of their strength, deep peels are usually effective in just a single treatment, though milder peels may require a series of treatments to help you reach your goals. During your consultation visit, we’ll discuss all your options and review the peel treatment we recommend for you, so you can feel confident in your results right from the start.

Chemical peel treatment: What to expect

Before your peel, we cleanse your skin thoroughly to remove dirt, oils, and skincare products, like moisturizers or makeup. This step is essential to enable the peel to penetrate deeply and consistently. 

Once your skin is clean, we apply the chemical solution and allow it to remain on your skin for a specific amount of time before neutralizing it and washing it off. Depending on the strength of the peel, we may apply a topical numbing cream before the peel solution to numb your skin.

After your peel, your skin will probably look pinkish, similar to a sunburn. Deeper peels may leave some minor swelling. These effects resolve after a few days to a week or so, again depending on the peel depth. Medium and deeper peels also lead to skin peeling or sloughing during the initial stages of healing.

While your skin heals, it’s important to avoid direct sunlight and to follow your aftercare instructions closely to avoid potential issues, like changes in your skin color, delayed healing, or infections. If you have any questions about your care routine, call the office, and we’ll help you out.

Enjoy smoother, healthier-looking skin

Chemical peels can be a great solution for acne scars, but they aren’t ideal for everyone. To find out more about the chemical peels we offer and how they can help improve your complexion and your confidence, call 540-389-0909 or book an appointment online at Starkey Medical Esthetics today.

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