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Chemical Peels for Acne? Here's What You Should Know

Acne breakouts aren’t just for teens; they can continue well into adulthood, especially if you struggle with acne-prone skin or hormone imbalances. While medications and a customized skin care routine can help you manage your acne, regular visits to a medical spa can further improve your skin. This includes treatments like chemical peels, which can help refresh your skin and prevent further acne breakouts. 

At New Image Medical Spa in Fremont, California, Surinder Sandhu, MD, offers chemical peels and other treatments to help your skin recover from acne scarring.

How chemical peels work 

Your skin is the largest organ you have, constantly shedding cells and regenerating to keep things fresh. Chemical peels use a mild-to-moderate solution to “burn” away the upper layers, encouraging your body to shed them faster. As these layers of old skin peel away, the fresh skin underneath is revealed. 

This helps alleviate many skin concerns, especially surface-level complaints like acne, blackheads, and large pores. Dr. Sandhu uses different chemical solutions to address different needs, including Obagi® peels for dead skin and blocked pores. If your acne has formed scars that run deeper than a shallow peel can address, you might consider getting either a more intense peel, or a series of superficial ones. 

When to wait on a chemical peel

While chemical peels can have a positive impact on acne scars, they can also make active acne outbreaks worse. This is why it’s important to evaluate your skin and discuss your options with a specialist. 

While you might be tempted to seek treatment in the middle of an active breakout, you should postpone your peel until it’s resolved. Avoid picking at your face, and let things heal as much as possible before going in. This will help your face recover faster after your peel and prevent scarring. 

Going deeper with TCA CROSS treatment

If you already have deep acne scarring, such as ice pick or boxcar scars, you might consider undergoing the chemical reconstruction of skin scars instead.  While not exactly a peel, TCA CROSS treatment also uses a chemical application to correct your acne-damaged skin. Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) stimulates collagen production once it’s deposited on the surface of an atrophic scar and sinks into the tissue. 

It can take 2-3 sessions to see the results on the surface, but that’s because these scars penetrate deep into the dermis.  Your body heals from the inside outwards, so TCA CROSS treatment will jumpstart your body’s natural regenerative system and start filling in your scars from the bottom. 

While your skin recovers, you’ll have to wear sunscreen and avoid touching your face. A white frosted look and some redness are expected at first, but these areas will heal into scabs. Don’t remove the scabs; they’ll fall off in the following week. Skin-picking is a common cause of scarring. 

Struggling with acne and deep scars? Dr. Sandhu can help you find a treatment that works for you, whether that involves a chemical peel or something deeper. To schedule a consultation, call 510-269-2324, or request an appointment online.

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