Acne Scar Treatments Explained

Acne scars can be impossible to hide with makeup, which is why many cosmetic dermatologists and estheticians recommend laser skin resurfacing treatments and chemical peels to help reduce visible signs of damage.

Acne scars typically occur after a cycle of breakouts or when you pick at pimples or scabs during the healing process. Some scars are deeper than others, and can take several months or years to heal and disappear completely. Acne scar treatments can speed up the healing process and get rid of damaged skin cells or tissues so that skin appears healthier.

Get in touch with a cosmetic dermatologist in your area to find out if you may be a good candidate for acne scar treatments. Your dermatologist can take a close look at your skin and recommend a laser treatment plan or chemical peels that will help to get rid of scars permanently.

Identifying Different Types of Acne Scars

Your dermatologist will need to determine the extent of scarring on different parts of the face in order to make the right selection for treatment. The different types of acne scars that can be treated by a dermatologist are:

  • Ice pick scars – small indentations in the skin that appear as though your skin has been damaged with an ice pick
  • Boxcar scars – square-shaped indentations that are slightly larger than ice pick scars and are very easy to see
  • Rolling scars – rounded indentations in the skin that can create a very rough texture or uneven surface
  • Hypertrophic scars – raised scars that are very noticeable and can be inflamed

Effective Types of Acne Scar Treatments

Each type of scar listed above will respond positively to treatments ranging from CO2 laser skin resurfacing to microdermabrasion or cryosurgery. Dermabrasion, punch techniques and surgery are typically recommended only for those with hypertrophic scars, and do involve an extensive amount of healing time.

Some of the most effective acne scar treatments, in order of intensity, inlcude:

  • CO2 Laser Skin Resurfacing
  • Er:YAG Laser
  • Fractional Laser Skin Resurfacing (Fraxel)
  • Skin Needling
  • Chemical Peels
  • Steroid Injections
  • Augmentation
  • Cytotoxic Injection
  • Microdermabrasion
  • Subcision
  • Cryosurgery
  • Dermabrasion
  • Punch techniques

Some scars can be treated with topical, prescription-strength products but this type of treatment plan can take time to produce significant results.

All of the above acne scar treatments have different risks and potential side effects, including burning of the skin, extreme inflammation or redness, slow healing times and additional scarring.

Before undergoing any type of scar treatment, the skin must be free of active acne. A pre-procedure program may be recommended for up to three months before the acne scar treatment, because this ensures that the skin is completely free of any bacteria and inflammation that could trigger additional breakouts and cause excessive scarring. The pre-treatment regimen typically includes the application of benzoyl peroxide products, because these products oxygenate the skin and ensure that the pores are free of toxins and buildup that can be a hotbed for bacteria.

Learn more about acne treatments in our information guide, or consult with a dermatologist in your area to find out if you may be a good candidate for an acne scar removal procedure.