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do chemical peels and dermabrasion really help?

boxcar icepick dermabrasion chemical peel microdermabrasion phenol

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#1 california_dreamer

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Posted 02 April 2011 - 12:35 PM

i can't find any real 'before and afters' of dermabrasion (NOT microdermabrasion) on the interwebs. ....or of chemical peel results for acne scarring. it's incredibly frustrating. i don't know what i've gotten myself into.

i had mild boxcar/icepick scarring all over my face.
does anyone know what i should/could expect from having a 'medium and modified' croton oil (hetter) phenol peel with dermabrasion?

Edited by california_dreamer, 02 April 2011 - 12:36 PM.


#2 Brawn

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Posted 03 April 2011 - 04:18 AM

it'll help, but the icepicks won't be affected much unless you use spot treatment .. meaning they use a toothpick or something .. dab it in acid, and then poke into your holes

i dont think dermabrasion is a good idea because it damages everything in its path, including healthy tissue.. but it could potentially make scars look better

the acid could help quite a bit with the boxcars, but i doubt they'll raise all the way

i suggest subcision for mild boxcars, but if they have sharp edges, then excision... and TCA cross for the icepick scars, these three are the golden standards for those 3 conditions

#3 ricepuff

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Posted 03 April 2011 - 04:55 AM

With dermabrasion it sands down the epidermis and a part of the dermis right? Does the dermis+epidermis regenerate after a few weeks/months or do you loose these layers of skin forever?

#4 Brawn

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Posted 03 April 2011 - 06:51 AM

dermabrasion definitely sands down the epidermis, but i dont know how much of the dermis it reaches

there's only 2 layers of skin, the dermis and epidermis, so if they are both lost, then you would have no skin wink.gif but yes, both regenerate, but from what i understand, you will end up with more scar tissue than before, although it may not be tethered down as much, so the hole wont be as noticeable

also, the texture will probably be different, i dont know if it's for the better or worse, but i do know that dermabrasion really is considered a primitive technique compared to the options out there now

i dont know what your skin is like, but dermabrasion and a phenol peel dont sound like good ideas

dermabrasion causes damage to the entire skin unnecessarily
and a phenol peel is extremely strong and, like dermabrasion, causes unnecessary damage to healthy skin (a doctor on another site says that a phenol peel is like using a nuclear bomb on your skin)
both by themselves could lead to hyper/hypopigmentation, infection, and additional scarring
and neither will raise your scars completely

if you want your scars to raise completely, excision is necessary, subcision for the boxcars with smoother edges, and excision for the icepicks (multiple TCA cross treatments can produce similar results, but excision really is the only way if you want to completely get rid of icepicks)

lasers can compliment results, but there is no laser out there currently that raises depressed scars completely, i really wish there were, but oh well

Edited by Brawn, 03 April 2011 - 06:54 AM.


#5 Nightlilly89

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Posted 03 April 2011 - 02:52 PM

It helps thin your skin. Will it damage, yes. That's why people use it, to cause damage so the body sends a healing response to the area. However, some think the response might be more scar tissue. I stopped using peels because I think it played a part in making some of my scars more white, while thinning the epidermis of my skin, giving me a flaked irritated look... which will cause me to age faster. Not good. Now that I've stopped my scars look better ironically. Anyway micro dermabrasion crystals are good to exfoliate and prevent breakout and speed up some cell turnover. Dermabrasion is scary and invasive, read up on it. Will peels or dermabrasion get rid if deep pits? Likely not, just smooth out the edges of the scar and make the appearance a bit different. In my opinion its important to keep the epidermis and the cornuem layer intact.

Edited by Nightlilly89, 03 April 2011 - 02:53 PM.


#6 ricepuff

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Posted 03 April 2011 - 08:35 PM

Yeah, I know it won't get rid of big indents but I'm thinking about shallow damage to the skin where you can see the different layers of skin on top of one another because of the shallow indents. I'm thinking of getting a microdermabrasion done but I've read that it's doable at home. I just don't know if it would get the skin in a smooth uniform whole on the shallow ones, I feel like what the microdermabrasion would remove isn't on my skin at the moment because of how much shedding I've done with acne.

What about the non-ablative lasers like fraxel:restore? Are they useless on the shallow indents? I would get excision on them but would they be deep enough? Can you remove any size scar?

Edited by ricepuff, 03 April 2011 - 08:36 PM.


#7 orangeorn

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Posted 03 April 2011 - 11:13 PM

QUOTE (Nightlilly89 @ Apr 4 2011, 02:22 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Anyway micro dermabrasion crystals are good to exfoliate and prevent breakout and speed up some cell turnover.


Is it true. Does micro dermabrasion prevent breakouts? My doctor says so but I guess she just wants to make money. I still have acne. Should I go for micro dermabrasion to prevent acne & further scarring ???

Edited by orangeorn, 03 April 2011 - 11:14 PM.


#8 Nightlilly89

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Posted 04 April 2011 - 06:09 PM

do you have pictures so I have an idea what you mean?

QUOTE (ricepuff @ Apr 3 2011, 10:35 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Yeah, I know it won't get rid of big indents but I'm thinking about shallow damage to the skin where you can see the different layers of skin on top of one another because of the shallow indents. I'm thinking of getting a microdermabrasion done but I've read that it's doable at home. I just don't know if it would get the skin in a smooth uniform whole on the shallow ones, I feel like what the microdermabrasion would remove isn't on my skin at the moment because of how much shedding I've done with acne.

What about the non-ablative lasers like fraxel:restore? Are they useless on the shallow indents? I would get excision on them but would they be deep enough? Can you remove any size scar?



#9 ricepuff

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Posted 04 April 2011 - 07:13 PM

I really need to buy a camera, my phone is horrible at taking pictures. On my skin I have the usual boxcars etc. that are deep but I also have a lot of shallow indents like a boxcar that is maybe 0.5mm to 1mm deep and icepicks that are the same. They are not deep enough to warrant excision imo so I'm wondering what treatment would help with these, maybe fraxel:restore would work as they are not really deep.

I just need something that removes the first few layers of skin like dermabrasion that brings the skin into one layer but dermabrasion sounds dangerous. I'm white and burn easily in the sun, so I think that makes me a good candidate for it compared to being black. I don't think fraxel:restore would do this though because it creates tiny holes underneath the epidermis instead of sanding down the skin, maybe this could heal the shallow ones better though from the inside out.

That + excision of deeper icepicks/boxcars might be the way to go but I haven't found many positive stories about fraxel.

#10 Brawn

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Posted 04 April 2011 - 08:03 PM

shallow boxcars can be fixed with subcision

i dont know what a shallow icepick is like, but if you think excision is too much, then the next step down is tca cross or phenol spot treatment, the former being more popular because it has less risks, but i believe that a phenol spot treatment would produce better results and the risks arent that much since it's only for small spots

microdermabrasion would do nothing

dermabrasion is like a less effective version of excision and the risks associated with it just arent worth it

dermabrasion is useless for icepicks

fraxel restore is far behind fraxel repair in effectiveness for skin resurfacing, but it would still raise the skin a little, only do it once you've finished excision/subcision/other type of surgery in order to compliment the results

Edited by Brawn, 04 April 2011 - 08:09 PM.


#11 ricepuff

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Posted 04 April 2011 - 11:41 PM

Thanks for the help!

I'm okay with doing excisions my only problem is with the small indents i'd have to get a lot of them in the one area and they are really small. From far away it makes my skin look weird and uneven, I'll see how they heal and improve over 6 months. I'm worried about fraxel though, it makes the tiny holes in the skin like needling doesn't it. I need to research more on this but going off what miramar said these holes poke the scar tissue and thin it out, giving the illusion of the scar improving which could lead to problems down the road. If it doesn't do this and actually heals most of the scar tissue then i'd be happy biggrin.gif

#12 Brawn

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Posted 05 April 2011 - 03:44 AM

no problem

doctors use punch biopsy tools of various sizes for scars, so there's probably one that is very small in diameter which would be good for many small indents in one area.. so you dont have to worry about that

i suggest that you go to a facial plastic surgeon that specializes in scar revision to give you his/her opinion

fraxel is similar to needling, but has less risk of creating additional scarring because the treatment zones are much smaller, the problem with laser is that it doesnt cover the entire area of the scar (since there has to be spaces between each hole) and it probably doesnt go deep enough to reach all of the scar tissue.. and if it does, it may not destroy all of it
lasers also promote collagen formation, so i believe it'll help raise skin regardless of whether there is scar tissue underneath or not

anyway, because lasers can't destroy all of the scar tissue, the hole will never completely raise up. meaning that surgery really is the only option. the best option is subcision where possible as it doesn't cause additional scarring, and excision where necessary because there will be a thin scar left from the doctor suturing the wound together... this thin scar may sometimes be completely unnoticeable, and if it is noticeable, like if there is a color difference between it and the surrounding skin, then laser could help correct it

also, the better the plastic surgeon, the better your chances that the thin scar will be unnoticeable, meaning you should look for one who has a lot of experience... meaning you really have to look for a facial plastic surgeon and then ask for how many patients they have treated and for pictures of their patients

good luck, i'll be undergoing subcision / excision this summer as well smile.gif

#13 ricepuff

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Posted 05 April 2011 - 05:30 AM

Yay biggrin.gif when's your summer? Please keep us posted! I really hope it can leave unnoticeable scars because I don't want to replace alot of my shallow indents with scars that look the same. I'll do excision/subcision then if I need it possibly do fraxel but I'm still iffy about the lasers.

What size are the scars you want to cut out? I've been looking in the mirror at mine and trying to figure out the best ways of cutting them individually lol, I'm wondering what's the smallest excision possible though. Like can you cut a very very small ellipse cut on an icepick and connect the smallest of amounts of healthy skin around it? Just wondering for skin that has a lot of scars together and how much surrounding healthy skin the scar needs to be closed together.

#14 Starlite

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Posted 05 April 2011 - 11:31 AM

QUOTE (california_dreamer @ Apr 2 2011, 01:35 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
i can't find any real 'before and afters' of dermabrasion (NOT microdermabrasion) on the interwebs. ....or of chemical peel results for acne scarring. it's incredibly frustrating. i don't know what i've gotten myself into.

i had mild boxcar/icepick scarring all over my face.
does anyone know what i should/could expect from having a 'medium and modified' croton oil (hetter) phenol peel with dermabrasion?


Dermabrasion is very scary. Most of the reviews list side-effects such as hypopigmentation, permanently enlarged pores, further scarring. I wouldn't risk it.

There are potential side-effects of excision, too, such as scar potentially becoming deeper and wider. There is one person on this board who had that problem recently.