Chemical Peels
for Facial Acne Scarring

Acne scars can be an unfortunate reminder of how previous acne breakouts have damaged the layers of skin.

Atrophic acne scars are depressed scars that occur when normal tissue is lost due to acne inflammation and not enough normal collagen is formed. Several treatment options, including chemical peeling, are available for this type of acne scarring, depending, on the type and severity of the scarring.

Chemical peels are a readily available method to reduce the appearance of acne scarring. They work by creating controlled breakdown of various skin layers. During the recovery process, new layers are created by the body’s healing mechanisms. Peels can increase the production of collagen, elastin, and aminoglycans,1 which helps lead to a smoother skin appearance. There are different types of chemical peels available, ranging from very mild at-home products to stronger solutions that require an expert to administer. Chemical peels vary in the substance used to breakdown the skin layers; stronger materials penetrate deeper and create more effect.

First, a quick anatomy lesson. The outermost layer of the skin is the epidermis. The epidermis is primarily composed of cells and has several individually defined layers. Underneath is the dermis, which is divided into two layers; the uppermost area adjacent to the epidermis called the papillary dermis and a deep thicker area known as the reticular dermis, which accounts for the greater part of the dermis.


NOTE: Always consult with a medical professional to make sure you have a proper diagnosis and plan of action to safely achieve healthy skin.

1 Brody HJ. Variations and comparisons in medium-depth chemical peeling. J Dermatol Surg Oncol 1989 Sep; 15 (9): 953-63.

2 Fabbrocini G et al. Acne scars: Pathogenesis, Classification and Treatment. Dermatology Research and Practice, Volume 2010, article ID 893080.

3 Fischer TC, Perosino E, Poli F et al. Chemical peels in aesthetic dermatology: an update 2009. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol 2010 Mar; 24 (3): 281-92.

4 Brody HJ. Trichloracetic acid application in chemical peeling, operative techniques. Plast Reconstr Surg 2(2):127-8 (1995).

5 Bradley DT, Park SS. Scar revision via resurfacing. Facial Plast Surg 2001 Nov; 17 (4): 253-62.

SM 1976-18 Rev00

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