If you suffer from acne scars, at one time or the other chemical peels might have been suggested, but, do chemical peels remove acne scars? are they worth trying?
Over the years, many remedies have been tried to prevent, reduce, or cure acne, as well as remove the unsightly scars that they leave behind.
Chemical peels have also been found to be effective to an extent for removing those acne scars. But can chemical peels remove acne scars or is it a waste of time?
Acne leaves scars that do not look nice. Very few people can feel confident despite such scarred skin and that lack of confidence can be the only thing that prevents them to be extraordinarily successful in their lives.
Types of Acne And Causes
Acne can be broadly divided into 3 types, i.e., acne vulgaris, acne Mechanica, and acne fulminans.
Acne vulgaris is further divided into 6 different types:
i.e., those caused by whiteheads, blackheads, nodules, pustules, papules, and cysts.
Blackheads are open acnes, but not infected.
Whiteheads are similar to blackheads, except that they are closed, and do not have hardened sebum and melanin clogging the pores. Usually, these two are also known as non-infected types.
The rest, i.e., nodules, papules, pustules, and cysts, collectively referred to as pimples may be due to bacterium P. acnes and need medical attention.
These also pain. Pustules have pus whereas papules are red painful lesions. Nodules are a more severe form of papules. Cysts are lesions and also have pus in them as well.
Acne Mechanica is stress-related, which may be mental, physical, or even heat-related pressure. They resemble acne due to blackheads and whiteheads but usually, they are just small bumps.
Acne fulminans is often accompanied by other health problems such as joint pains and some nodules on the back or chest as well. Acne of this type does cause severe types of scars(read more here)
Effectively, stress, hormonal changes, infection, and hereditary build-up can cause acne.
In addition to these, there are other types of rare acne as well, such as acne conglobata, gram-negative folliculitis, and pyoderma faciale. Causes and treatments differ for each of these, and some do not technically qualify as acne.
What Are Acne Scars
Before understanding what acne scars are, it is necessary to understand the skin structure in relation to acne.
The topmost layer is the epidermis, which has skin pores. This layer is followed by a very deep dermis layer wherein resides the hair follicle along with the sebaceous gland.
Below the dermis is the hypodermis and then the muscle layer.
Acne caused by blackheads and whiteheads do not go deep into the dermis. Neither those caused by papules.
But acne caused by pustules, nodules, as well as cysts travel deeper and thus cause more serious damage to the skin making it difficult for the skin to recover.
Nodules and cysts cause the worst damage, whereas pustules may sometimes result in scars.
That is not to say that non-inflammatory acne cannot cause scars. If tampered with in an unprofessional way, whiteheads, blackheads, and papules too can cause those scars.
Chemical peels are basically for exfoliation, i.e., removing any of the dead cells of the skin lying on the epidermis. They contain acids of different concentrations, and therefore, they need to be administered with care.
By removing the dead “skin cells”, the skin looks cleaner and brighter.
The common content of chemical peels are Alpha or Beta “hydroxy acids”, the most common of them being glycolic or salicylic acids.
But there are other chemicals as well such as trichloroacetic acid containing chemical peels and phenol peels.
These are for addressing problems of skin at depth. The risks of using acids in chemical peels are also mitigated using other chemicals.Check an earlier post for alternatives to chemical peels here.
AHA and BHA-containing peels are suitable for removing blackheads, as well as whiteheads. They also have also been found effective on lesions. But the benefits of cystic and nodules type of acne Is negligible.
TCA is able to rejuvenate cellular activity, improve the production of necessary proteins such as collagen, and elastin, which in turn give better results on acne that are classified as pustules or papules.
Phenol peels have been found to reduce almost 75 percent of those acne scars.
Nevertheless, the fact remains that the benefit of chemical peels on acne scars is an indirect benefit.Check here for Microdermabrasion for acne scars.
Chemical peels therefore
- Unclog the pores, allowing skin to breath-in oxygen more easily, and in the process, improve the overall health of the skin. Unclogging is what is needed for removing both blackheads, as well as whiteheads.
- Healthy skin also means healthy cells, and ability to fight infections more easily. Therefore, the severity of any acne infections is considerably lower because of these peels.
- Healthy skin also means an improved ability to repair any cell damage, whether caused due to sunlight and UV stress, or due to any lesions or pustules.
- Acid causes tingling or burning sensation, forcing better circulation to the skin, which is another reason the skin gets better nutrition and is able to resist infections and improve its ability to repair damage to skin tissue.
- Periodic usage of chemical peels keeps the acne causing bacteria away. Effectively, there will be fewer acne breakouts.
So Do Chemical Peels Remove Acne Scars?
As can be seen from the above, the final answer to this question is both yes and no.
If you are asking do chemical peels remove acne scars? it will depend on what kind of acne scars and may not be effective against the deeply seated ones.
It also depends upon the extent of damage and the chemical peel selected.
Some of these chemical peels may also not suit all skin types. The good news is that many of the chemical peels prevent or control breakouts that could cause those deeper acne scars. Check the best chemical peels here.
Effectively, they are able to prevent more scars and reduce existing ones considerably. Because of this benefit, it is possible to reduce costs on surgical or laser treatment of acne scars.
What Is The Best Chemical Peel For Acne Scars?
Now knowing you need a chemical peel and getting the right type may be a challenge.
Now knowing you need a chemical peel and getting the right type may be a challenge. You have to find the tight available to you and what will work best for your skin needs.
Best Peels for Home Use
Glycolic acid 2'%-This will exfoliate the skin and reduce acne scars, fine lines, skin discoloration, and wrinkles, leaving the skin feeling softer and smoother.
The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2%: this is effective and suitable for men and women. This formula is a 30% concentration of exfoliating glycolic and lactic acid, as well as a 2% concentration of salicylic acid. It will smooth out the skin's surface to reduce the appearance of atrophic scarring.
What I love about the ordinary is the Tasmanian Pepperberry, it helps reduce irritation for those of you with sensitive skin.
With a 25% AHA with Glycolic, lactic, and citric acid. It also has 2% Salicylic acid. the acids combined work to resurface the skin leaving you with fresh, youthful skin.
Drunk Elephant also contains plant extracts to calm and soothe your skin. As said in our last post, Drunk Elephant products are cruelty-free.
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I hope this post will help you make an informed decision when buying chemical peels to improve your acne scars.If you have any questions, please do leave me a message, will get back to you.