Good or Excellent Response
60%
Based on All Available Studies
Strength of Evidence
1
2
3
4
5
Moderate Response
86%
Based on All Available Studies
Strength of Evidence
1
2
3
4
5
How to Get It
Have a dermatologist or plastic surgeon? Make an appointment to get this procedure done.

Don't have a dermatologist or a plastic surgeon? See The American Academy of Dermatology Physician Database to find a dermatologist or the American Society of Plastic Surgeons to find a plastic surgeon.
Read All About Chemical Peels (Medium-depth Peels)
5
21.3%
4
26.2%
3
16.4%
2
18%
1
18%

Used Chemical Peels (Medium-depth Peels)? Rate It:

Choose from 1 to 5 stars
October 14, 2017
Excellent for my skin!
38 year old female and I've been using aha's for a few years now. I first started out on retin a because I had acne for years into my 30's. That worked for me but I wanted something gentler I hated the peeling! I had tons of scarring and dark spots from my acne. So I started doing glycolic Acid peels. I've used lactic, mandelic, tca, and my favorite for my skin the glycolic Acid peel. I use a 40% peel or I take a drop and mix it with my moisturizer as a serum. When I use this as a peel I layer it since my skin is very used to acids and I leave it on for 5 minutes neutralize with a mix of baking soda and water. Then I wash with a PH adjusting foam cleanser. After that I use Cerave PM and snail mucin believe it or not. That calms my skin and I've had few to no breakouts since I switched to only using aha's. I purchased my 40% on eBay for 12$ by beauty essentials is the company on the bottle. I believe this is a Korean made product. My skin is finally clear and I can go without makeup now. The few spots I get are hormonal once a month spots but they are tiny and go away very fast. All and all I'm super pleased with using glycolic acid peels. It's worked in my case I hope it does for others too!
September 29, 2015
Don't do a peel if you have freckles!
I had a TCA chemical peel 5 years ago to help even out my rolling acne scars on my forehead and cheeks. I have a ton of freckles and was concerned that the procedure would get rid of them. I was informed that it would soften them but that the pigment is still in my skin so they will come back when I'm exposed to the sun. It has been 5 years now and my freckles still aren't fully back. It looks like I have horrible discoloration! The worse part is that the freckles are still visible below my eyes and around my mouth because they didn't do the peel below the first layer of skin. It just looks terrible. So if you have freckles, DO NOT get a TCA chemical peel. It's just not worth it. (The peel helped the rolling acne scars for about 6 months and then was right back to where it was before)
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August 19, 2015
Pretty happy with the results
I've and am currently using a Glycolic acid 50% regiment (9 trials so far) and have to say am quite satisfied with the results. Not only has the product helped with my acne scars, but has improved my complexion overall. My acne isn't as prominent as it used to be, which is great.The fan brush and chemical peel only cost me $20.00 on amazon, so its quite cheap. A bottle will last at least 3-4 months. The only downside is the pain; if you have sensitive skin it really hurts. Exposure time is between 3-10 minutes so you're just looking at the clock anticipating applying the water/baking soda mixture to cool your face off. But once you've tried it a couple of times and you're skin adjusts, you'll be fine. Very important that you apply a sunscreen (I use SPF 60) after using the product, your skin is much more sensitive to UV light. Also don't pick or touch your skin.
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May 30, 2015
50% lactic acid peel
I have just completed 50% lactic acid peel myself at home nothing changed a lot and still my breakouts are on going as usual.after peel can I used benzyl perioxide foam wash to control the breakout
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March 2, 2015
How to AVOID bad initial breakout
Hi guys, A lot of you are getting initial breakouts, and some of you may be nervous to give this a go for fear of a major purging. First things first, you WANT an initial breakout. All those blackheads and clogged pores need to be opened somehow to GET clear, and you definitely don't want you body absorbing those toxins backup. But yes, I get it. Breakouts suck and and we just want clear skin now now now! An initial breakout is pretty much unavoidable, but again it depends on skin types and type of clogged pore. Lets assume you are like most of us on here who will get an IB. I'll tell you how to minimize this when using a Glycolic acid peel. Start off easy. A month before I started this peel I started the Neostrata line, which has a glycolic lotion that you apply daily at 10 percent strength (or 8 percent, but i went full force right away). This is enough to keep new zits from coming, and ease you into the initial breakout. I think I had a few whiteheads the first week of use. After that, nada. Bit of redness first 2 weeks but hey, redness i better than ten whiteheads right? My skin is the best its been in so long now, the daily lotion has reduce my acne 85-90 percent. I did a 30 percent chemical peel and so far no initial breakout or anything, my skin is quite clear, I am doing these peels to get rid of scars. Thanks to taking a couple weeks of a 10 percent lotion, I believe I won't have any issue with an initial break whatsoever. That being said, if you just want to jump right into it, expect an average to big initial breakout. If you can wait long enough to do some sort of 5-10 percent glycolic cream/lotion twice a day, then you'll have no problem with the chemical peel you'll just jump straight to results (then again, I can't testify to that for everyone, just my experience). It's all up to you. Hope that helped!! (In case you are wondering I am using the Neostrata gel cleanser, and follow up with the 10 percent lotion right after... best thing I have used for my skin to date... and yes, I've tried it all) *I am not affiliated with Neostrata whatsoever
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June 30, 2017
what lotion were you using?
October 9, 2014
Great for ice-pick, bad for active acne ...
I've bought bravula londoners 30% glycolic acid peel + neutralizer... After 4 uses, once per week as on the instruction.. (please use SPF 30 or greater EVERY DAY and don't use exfoliants, retionoids or BP while doing peels) I've notice huge impovement for hyperpigmentation and moderate improvement for icepick/boxcar scars. I highly recomande this for those who overcame acne.. But not for those (like myself) who are STILL FIGHTING ACNE, because the peels sensitize the skin and you cannot use it for long period of time.. And dry and irritated skin heals slower AND GETS SCARS.. So, if you are acne-free, Go for IT!
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March 4, 2017
Hi Have you ever had a food intolerance test done? The number 1 cause to acne is food intolerances. Go to the doctor and get a test done then eliminate those foods and you will notice a huge difference!
August 18, 2013
2 chemical peels 50%

Pros:

fill my scar a bit

Cons:

didnt help on red marks for me :(

help with small scarring, didnt help red marks, and i said i want red marks out.
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May 22, 2013

Pros:

helps with freckles and scars
makes skin baby soft

Cons:

burns
the peeling process yuk
time off work

well i used this to help with my scarring and let me just say i do like it and plan on doing it again but AVOID USING NEOSPORIN!!!!!! after treatment it broke me out like crazy!! my skin had cleared up and everything was good until i put neosporin on my face.. i dont think it was the peel because i use other typer of chemical peels and i never breaks me out this second time i will be using aquaphor healing ointment as a post peel treatment. and i didnt actually start peeling til day 5 and completley peeled by day 9. i did see a reduction in my freckles and some scars but i dont think i will see a more refined result til my second peel. in which i will update
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November 12, 2016
What kind of scarring did you have? Was it deep
Anonymous
September 29, 2011

Pros:

Cleared up scarring 100%

Cons:

Painful
Lots of peeling
Irritating / itchy

I am only 21 and have *hated* the scarring on my back, a result of acne. Every treatment which I looked in to was expensive and didn't guarantee results for such a large surface area. After undergoing 4 TCA skin peels (and currently doing some further jessner peels) I would recommend it to everyone, no questions asked!! I have absolutely no scarring whatsoever, you would never even know I suffered in the first place! Not no mention i'm not embarrassed anymore. The treatment wasn't a lovely experience, but overall it was worth it and i would do it all over again!
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T Bell
May 4, 2011

Pros:

Helps with ance dents, black spots and pores. Inexpensive and you can do at home. Paid about $80 for a whole year.

Cons:

2 week downtime with each treatment. You have scabs all over your face. If you're not too vain, you can still go to work, it does nt hurt or anything. It takes numerous treatments depending on severity of problems. Can be dangerous if you dont follow directions.

I took accutane to eliminate my acne all together and was left with scarring.I started out with 12.5%. for 3 months, moved up to 20% for 6 months and now Im doing 30% at home with no problem. My skin looks great. Not perfect, but a far cry from where I started. I haddark spots, dents from cystic acne on my cheeks. Its definately worth the time vested. Take your time though. Start with a low %. Everyones skin is different and Ive had friends who couldnt take the 20%. If you have scars, its the least expensive option and if you start with a low percentage than you have nothing to lose. And sense it helps with wrinkles too, I happend to look 10 years younger as well. good luck
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November 12, 2016
Did all of your scarring go away? How much did you pay for each peel

Finding a Doctor

The right dermatologist can make a big difference to your patient experience and the success of your acne treatment plan. Here are the steps to find a dermatologist who is a good fit:

  1. Use the search feature on the American Academy of Dermatology website to look for board-certified dermatologists in your area, and filter the search results for doctors with a special interest in treating acne.
  2. Read online patient reviews of any dermatologists you are considering and ask people you know whether they have any experience with these dermatologists.
  3. Do your research and go to your first appointment with questions prepared.
  4. Listen to what your gut feeling tells you once you see a dermatologist in person. If you are not completely comfortable, try a different dermatologist.

Finding a Doctor

Only a select few plastic surgeons specialize in acne scar revision surgery. Be certain to find a provider who specializes in acne scar repair and who is passionate and experienced in this area.

Be sure to:

  • Look at before and after photos, the more the better, especially patients with similar scarring to your own.
  • Be realistic about results. Look for improvement, not a cure.

Questions to ask a potential scar revision specialist:

  • Are you board certified? Be certain that they are board certified.
  • How long have you been performing these procedures? Normally, the more experience the better, however, some younger surgeons may be more on top of the latest procedures.
  • Can I speak to some of your other patients? Ask for references for several patients who had similar scarring and speak to them about the process and their satisfaction with results.

Red flags:

  • Their story changes: As you discuss different treatment options, if they tend to change their mind easily, or agree with whatever you say, consider this a red flag. A confident, experienced surgeon will possess strong, unwavering opinions.
  • Your gut tells you "no": Trust your gut. If you just don't feel that the doctor is the right fit, trust that and move on. On the other hand, if you feel they are the perfect specialist for you, trust that feeling.