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Best Peels To Control Pimple & Acne Scars

chemical peels for pimples and acne scars

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Acne by far is the most common skin problem addressed by dermatologists everywhere. Pimples and acne scars are a cosmetic as well as a medical condition, which needs dedicating and a holistic treatment plan. When it comes to Indian skin, these skin conditions are spreading across teenagers and adults alike. The extreme weather conditions, improper lifestyle choices, pollution, and volatile climate makes it even worse. Pimples and scars not just look unsightly and cause pain in some cases, but they destroy the self-esteem of an individual greatly. Thankfully we have some amazing options like chemical peels for pimple and acne scars which are the first-line treatment for such conditions.

Chemical Peels For Acne And Acne Scars

Chemical peels are the most widely used procedure for acne and acne scars. Peeling is a controlled skin exfoliation procedure that uses varying strengths of plant extracts and helps in resurfacing the upper layer of the skin with deformities. Mild to moderate acne and early acne scars can be effectively treated with superficial chemical peels as a first-line treatment in addition to the topical and systemic procedures.
Chemical peels act as an adjuvant to medical treatments. They are safe and effective as their depth of penetration can be manipulated depending upon the proliferation of acne and acne scars. Peels can be used alone or in combination with other treatments as they help in bringing out rejuvenated skin from beneath by evenly exfoliating the top layer.

Also Read: Are Chemical Peels Good For Your Skin?

Benefits Of Chemical Peels For Acne & Scars

Chemical Peels are wonderful at solving many skin irregularities. They are extremely beneficial in treating acne and acne scars in addition to a host of other skin conditions. Some of the benefits include –
1- Lightening of acne scars/ marks, dark pigmentation, and blemishes, and to close large pores
2- It can reduce sebum production thus re-balance oil production. Very useful for those who suffer from oily skin, that can trigger acne and acne scars
3- Improves skin’s complexion and brings a natural glow
4- Rejuvenates skin’s texture
5- Prevents outbreak of acne and unclogs pores (great for blackheads and whiteheads)
6- Smoothens skin and reverses signs of aging.

#A Must Watch Video To Learn The Benefits Of Chemical Peeling

Types Of Chemical Peels For Acne And Scars

Chemical Peel is a cosmetic treatment that is used to exfoliate or remove the outermost layer to reveal younger and healthier skin from beneath. It helps improve the texture and complexion of the skin. Chemicals are extracted from natural substances and can be used as-is or in a combination of varying strengths. Dermatologists often suggest chemical peels to patients who want quicker results with little downtime. They are mainly used to help fade acne scars and other kinds of pigmentation. Major types of chemical peels include –

Mild or superficial peels for acne – These chemical peels treat only the upper layer of the skin superficially, and are least penetrating. They have anti-inflammatory properties thus help in reducing excess sebum secretions temporarily. They use mild acids that belong to alpha hydroxy acid or beta hydroxyl acid families. Salicylic acid and glycolic acid are commonly used in these peels at a concentration of 30%. It gives good results and lasts for at least 1-2 months. With this treatment over time, acne begins to fade away. Studies suggest salicylic acids reduce the acne by 47-75% and glycolic acids reduce by 50-95%.

Moderate peels for deep acne and light scars – These chemical peels penetrate until the upper layer of the dermis. They normally use 35-50% of TCA (trichloroacetic acid) This enables the exfoliation of deeper layers of the skin and thus stimulates newer collagen, elastin and other proteins under the skin. Prepping of skin is of prime importance for this kind of peel as it may cause reactions otherwise. This includes using Jessner’s solution, glycolic acid, CO2 and acetone, etc. Studies suggest that TCA and salicylic acids can treat mild to moderate acne with effectiveness in darker (Indian) skin types.

Deep peels for acne scars – They penetrate deeper into the dermis and are used to treat mild acne scars. They use very strong acids and phenol at about 88% concentration. They break down proteins under the skin and stimulate newer collagen production. Studies suggest phenol peels reduce acne scars by 75%

Also Read: Scar Tissues – Types, Treatments & FAQ’s

Chemical Peel For Acne/ Pimple

1- Salicylic acid 

  • Member of beta hydroxyl family
  • Derived from willow
  • Appropriate for all Indian skin types (even the sensitive skin)
  • Excellent pore cleanser with anti-acne properties
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Oil absorbent
  • Keratolytic and comedolytic properties
  • It reacts with the outer layer of epidermal cells
  • A safe and controlled procedure as it evaporates quickly and posts drying there is no further penetration of active agents
  • Stimulates collagen, rejuvenates newer skin from beneath and help in skin regeneration.

2 Glycolic peel 

  • Member of beta hydroxyl family
  • Derived from sugarcane extracts
  • Improves acne with greater effectiveness
  • Reverses sun damage and has anti-aging tendencies
  • Evens out skin tone and improves overall complexion

Chemical Peels For Acne Scars

1 Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) 

  • A non-toxic peel which resembles vinegar
  • Can be done at varying depths from shallow to deep
  • They help remove the dead upper layer of the skin (stratum corneum)
  • It may cause redness and swelling which are temporary

2 TCA and Jessner’s solution 

  • Stronger than TCA alone for deeper acne scars
  • Penetrates down to the dermal layer of the skin
  • Medium depth peel
  • Improves the appearance of acne scars in Indian skin types

3- Lactic acid 

  • An alpha hydroxy acid
  • Best for superficial acne scars
  • Significant improvements to the order of 50% efficacy are seen.
  • It improves the texture of the skin and skin radiance
  • Tones the skin
  • Derived from sour milk
  • Gentle to skin and maintains the optimal pH level
  • Starter peel as it is extremely gentle as compared to other peels

4- Phenol peel 

  • A mixed blend of TCA, phytic acid, retinoic acid, and a mixture of hydroxy acids such as glycolic acid, ascorbic acid, salicylic acid, and mandelic acid.
  • Brings in epidermal skin restoration
  • Treats acne and acne scars
  • Also treats hyperpigmentation and dark spots

Also Read: PCOS Acne – Causes, Symptoms & Treatments

What Is The Cost Of Chemical Peel For Scar Removal In India?

The cost of chemical peel for scar removal in India range between Rs. 3000 to Rs. 5000 per session. Though the total price varies based on the kind of scar, depth, skin type, size of the scar, underlying health conditions, and experience of the dermatologist.

Before And After Results

Chemical Peel Vs Laser Skin Resurfacing For Acne Scars

• Chemical peels use plant-based extracts to gently exfoliate the layers of the skin one by one removing dead skin first. While laser treatment uses a concentrated beam of laser, targeting the dermis thus rendering the deformed cells ineffective
• Cost of chemical peel is lesser than laser, but chemical peel only treats mild to moderate acne and acne scars, while laser resurfacing treats even the deeper ones with the desired efficiency
• Chemical peels can’t be fractionated, that is they cannot be penetrating deeper in some areas of the skin while not in other areas, but the laser can be fractionated to be targeted only at a selected area of skin for deeper treatments
• Chemical peels do no continue penetrating post the procedure but laser resurfacing continues to show improvement over the course of a few weeks, as it stimulates collagen production


Is face peel a permanent solution for acne scars?
A chemical peel may not be a permanent solution for treating acne scars but they help in reducing them to about 85-90% in some cases. There may be a number of sessions recommended for the treatment as it depends on the strength of an acne outbreak or scarring.

How do you know which peel is right for you?
An initial consultation with an expert dermatologist would help determine the root cause of acne and scars and also the chemical peel to be used. Then a patch test would be administered to check the skin reaction and also to determine the ideal concentration and combination of chemicals for the peel.

How many chemical peels are required to remove acne?
This is subjective as it depends on your skin type, depth of scarring and strength of acne. Ideally, the dermatologist would be able to suggest the course of treatment only after an initial consultation. And generally the mild to moderate acne can be treated quickly as compared to deeper acne

Chemical Peels For Deep Acne Scars
There are some specific peels that use strong acids for treating some kinds of deep acne scars. They use phenol at about 88% concentration along with other chemicals as they break down proteins under the skin and stimulate newer collagen production. Studies suggest phenol peels reduce acne scars by 75%

Are there any side effects of acne chemical peels?
Usually, if the dermatologist is experienced and maintains sterile conditions along with administering a patch test at the outset, the chances of a reaction or side effect are minimal. But in some cases redness, swelling, pain, pigmentation, and discoloration are seen, which may be temporary and can go away on their own. A dermatologist would prescribe medications to treat them if they do not fade.

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About The Author

Kushneet Kukreja

Kushneet Kukreja

A postgraduate in Biotechnology from Kingston University and an ISSA Certified Specialist in Fitness & Nutrition, Kushneet Kukreja is a passionate writer who works in close association with the dermatologists at our head office to generate valuable and scientifically accurate content for our blog.

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