Chemical peels for acne: What you need to know

Some kinds of chemical peels can target both acne and acne scars. Here's what to expect.

chemical peels for acne scars

For acne scars that aren’t very deep, a “top-down” procedure, like a chemical peel with salicylic acid or trichloroacetic acid, might be enough to shed a layer of skin and reduce the appearance of scars. Some types of peels can target both acne and acne scars.

While lighter chemical peels for acne are safer for a range of skin tones, Dr. Jerry Tan, a Windsor-based dermatologist, avoids using deep peels on people with darker skin tones since there is a risk of hyper-pigmentation (changes in the colour of skin that can be permanent). Another thing to note is that the deeper the peel, the longer the recovery time. Since the procedures and preparation can range vastly depending on how deep the peel is, the Mayo Clinic put together this handy guide on what to expect during the procedure — but here are the basics.

What it’s good for: Ice-pick scars, rolling scars

Skin tone: Those with light brown and darker skin tones should consult with a dermatologist.

Recovery time: Depends on how deep the peel is; redness can last a few days up to a week.

Cost: $250 – $1000 per peel

Types: Glycolic acid, salicylic acid, trichloroacetic acid

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