Removal of acne scar

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Smooth Skin Again: Removing Acne Scars

Acne-Scar Removal Options

Whether you decide to have your acne scars treated is a personal decision. Some people choose to have their acne scars removed because they’re emotionally affected by the appearance of the scars. Others have acne scars that are severe and disfiguring and choose to have them removed to restore the appearance of their skin.

If you have acne scars, consult a dermatologist as soon as possible. He or she can recommend treatments for your scars and discuss ways you can prevent future scarring.

Common scar removal treatments include:

  • Dermabrasion. This very effective scar removal treatment uses a high-speed brush or other instrument to resurface your skin and remove or reduce the depth of scars. You will typically need several days to heal afterward.
  • Micro-dermabrasion. For this less intensive type of dermabrasion, a dermatologist or aesthetician uses a spray of very small crystals instead of a high-speed brush to remove surface skin. More than one treatment may be required, and there is no downtime.
  • Chemical peels. Chemical peels can reduce the appearance of shallow acne scars and post-inflammatory hyper-pigmentation around a healed acne lesion. A chemical peel may be administered by a doctor, nurse, nurse practitioner, or spa aesthetician and involves applying a chemical to your skin to remove its outer layer, giving it a smoother, more even appearance. Depending on the strength of the acid used, you may experience redness and peeling for a few days afterward.
  • Retinoic acid. Certain tissue scars should not be treated with traditional acne scar removal treatments. Instead, retinoic acid cream applied directly to the scar can help reduce its appearance, especially in the case of keloid scars.
  • Lasers. Your dermatologist can use a laser to remove the outer layer of your skin, contour areas of acne scars, or lighten redness around healed acne lesions. Various types of lasers are used, depending on whether the acne scar is raised or flat. More than one laser treatment may be required and, depending on the laser used, you may need to several days to heal.
  • Fillers. A substance such as collagen, hyaluronic acid, or fat can be used to “fill out” certain types of acne scars, especially those that have resulted in a depressed appearance of the skin. Since fillers are eventually absorbed into your skin, you will have to repeat filler injections, usually every few months, depending on the type of product used. There is no downtime for recovery from this treatment.
  • Punch excisions. This type of skin surgery removes acne scars by individually excising, or cutting out, the scar. The hole left by the incision can be repaired with stitches or a skin graft. This technique is most often used to treat pitted acne scars.
  • Skin grafting. With skin grafting, your doctor will use a small piece of normal skin to fill in an area of scarred skin. Skin grafts are usually taken from skin behind your ear. This technique may also be used when an acne scar removal treatment, such as dermabrasion, leaves a large tunnel in your skin.

Remember that while these treatments can improve your skin’s appearance, they may not be able to completely restore it. Be realistic with your expectations, but explore your options with a dermatologist.

RELATED: Best Concealers for Oily and Acne-Prone Skin

Acne scars: Diagnosis and treatment

Safe and effective treatment for acne scars begins with a consultation. During the consultation, a dermatologist will examine your skin, playing close attention to your scars. A dermatologist will also ask you some essential questions.

Questions to ask yourself

To get the most from your consultation, many people find it helpful to answer the following questions before meeting with a dermatologist.

Why do I want to treat my acne scars?
Treatment is not for everyone. Some people feel that the scars are not so bad. Others feel that the scars affect their everyday life.

Dermatologists often recommend treatment when someone answers “yes” to one or more of the following questions:

  • Do I often wish that I could get rid of my acne scars?

  • Do I feel that my scars limit my opportunities to date, get a job, advance my career, or perform well in school?

  • Am I less social now than before I had acne scars?

How do I want to look after treatment?
Some treatments can make scars look less noticeable. Others can eliminate wavy skin texture. Be sure to tell your dermatologist what’s important to you.

What can I afford to spend on treatment?
Medical insurance does not cover the cost.

How much downtime can I afford?
Some treatments require downtime.

How much time will I devote to getting treatment and caring for my skin?
Your answer will help determine which treatments will be best for you.

How do dermatologists treat acne scars?

If you and your dermatologist believe that treatment is right for you, your dermatologist will create a treatment plan tailored to your needs. In creating this plan, your dermatologist will consider many things, including scar types and where the scars appear on your body. If you have taken isotretinoin to treat acne, be sure to tell your dermatologist before treatment for acne scars begins.

To obtain the best results, your dermatologist may recommend more than one treatment. For example, if you have a deep boxcar scar (often looks like a large pore), laser therapy and a type of acne scar surgery called “subcision” may be necessary to give you the results you want.

Your dermatologist relies on in-depth medical knowledge to determine which treatments are best for you.

Depressed acne scars: Many effective treatments

Best results often come from using two or more treatments. The treatments that a dermatologist may use to treat depressed acne scars include the following.

Acne scar surgery
This sounds scarier than it is. Dermatologists often perform this minor surgery to treat very noticeable acne scars. The goal is to create a less-noticeable scar. The remaining scar should fade with time.

To perform acne scar surgery, a dermatologist may lift the scar. Bringing a scar closer to the surface of the skin tends to make it less noticeable. Another type of acne scar surgery involves breaking up scar tissue.

A dermatologist or dermatologic surgeon can safely perform acne scar surgery in a medical office. Patients remain awake but numb so that they do not feel pain.

Best for: Treating a few depressed scars.

Resurfacing procedures
When a patient wants to diminish the appearance of widespread acne scarring, a dermatologist may recommend a resurfacing procedure. Resurfacing removes layers of skin, which allows the body to produce new skin cells.

Dermatologists use the following resurfacing procedures to treat depressed acne scars:

  • Laser skin resurfacing

  • Chemical peeling

  • Dermabrasion

  • Microdermabrasion (differs from kits bought for at-home use)

Resurfacing works well for treating acne scars that are nearly flat (not too deep). Even dermabrasion, which removes the top layers of skin and some of the middle layers, cannot effectively treat deep acne scars.

Best for: Depressed acne scars that are not deep. Useful for contouring scar edges to make scars less noticeable. Deep scars often require skin surgery and resurfacing.

Fillers
Dermatologists use fillers to safely and effectively plump depressed acne scars. A dermatologist may fill acne scars with collagen, the patient’s own fat, or another substance. Many fillers give us temporary results, which last between 6 and 18 months. Some fillers are permanent.

Both temporary and permanent fillers have unique pros and cons. If this is a treatment option for you, be sure to ask your dermatologist about the pros and cons of the recommended filler.

Best for: Treating a few depressed scars, but not icepick scars.

Skin tightening
This is a newer treatment and tends to be more affordable. This treatment is safe for all skin colors.

Dermatologists often use a technology called radiofrequency to tighten the skin. As the skin tightens, depressed acne scars become less noticeable.

Radiofrequency requires repeat appointments. Most patients return once a month for four months. After a radiofrequency treatment, many patients say they feel a burning sensation for about one hour and their skin has a pinkish color for two to three days.

Radiofrequency treatments require some at-home care. For at least one week after each treatment, you will need to apply sunscreen every morning and a moisturizing cream at night. Dermatologists recommend wearing a sunscreen that offers UVA/UVB protection, an SPF of 30 or greater, and water resistance.

Best for: Depressed acne scars. Sometimes, skin tightening effectively treats deep icepick and boxcar scars.

Collagen-induction therapy
Also known as “needling” or “micro-needling,” this treatment encourages your body to make more collagen.

To perform this procedure, a dermatologist moves a sterile, handheld needle-studded roller across the depressed acne scars. This punctures your skin. As your skin heals, it produces collagen. nine months. Most people, however, notice gradual changes before nine months. Many patients require between three and six treatments and return every two to six weeks for a treatment.

After each treatment, you may have some swelling and possibly bruising. These side effects usually clear within four to five days.

You will need to follow a skin care plan while undergoing treatment.

Research shows that this is a safe treatment for people of all skin colors.

Best for: Widespread depressed acne scars. Not a treatment for raised acne scars, which form when the body produces too much collagen.

Electrodesiccation
This treatment uses electric probes to heat the tissue, which causes the tissue to die. This treatment may be part of a treatment plan for boxcar acne scars. Electrodesiccation by itself is not an effective treatment for acne scars.

Best for: Shaping or reducing the edges of boxcar scars.

Raised acne scars: Treatment can ease pain, diminish scars

Other treatments that a dermatologist may use to treat raised acne scars follow.

Injections
Your dermatologist may recommend injecting medicine directly into the scars. This can soften and flatten raised, thick scars.

Getting the best results often requires repeat visits. These injections are usually given once every few weeks. How often you will need to return for treatment depends on the scar and many other considerations. You may need to return once every two to six weeks for a while.

Many patients receive injections of corticosteroids. A chemotherapy medicine known as fluorouracil (5-FU) can also be effective in treating raised acne scars. Some scars respond best when injections of both 5-FU and corticosteroids are used.

Interferon, which is also used to treat cancer, can be effective. Our bodies naturally produce interferon.

If the scar does not respond (or stops responding) after you receive the 4th injection, acne scar surgery may be recommended.

Best for: Painful, raised scars

Acne scar surgery
Dermatologists perform acne scar surgery to reduce raised acne scars. This surgery can be performed in a dermatologist’s office.

To obtain the best results, acne scar surgery is often followed by another treatment.

Acne scar surgery, followed by injections
After surgery, dermatologists often treat raised scars with injections of corticosteroids, 5-FU, or interferon. Combining acne scar surgery with these shots remains one of the most effective treatments for raised scars. Most patients receive injections once a month for a few months.

Acne scar surgery, followed by radiation
Studies show that radiation can prevent raised scars from returning after acne scar surgery. Due to the potential for radiation treatments to cause problems years or decades later, some doctors do not recommend radiation treatment.

Best for: Raised scars that need stronger treatment than injections alone can provide

Laser therapy
Lasers and other light treatments can treat raised scars safely and effectively. Treatment with a pulsed dye laser (PDL) can help reduce the itch and pain, diminish color, and flatten a raised scar. For people with lighter skin, intense pulsed light (IPL) also may be a treatment option.

Best for: All types of acne scars

Cryosurgery
This treatment freezes the scar tissue. Freezing the tissue causes it to die and gradually fall off. To improve the results, dermatologists recommend a series of cryotherapy sessions and corticosteroid injections. This combination often produces better results. The main drawback is that cryotherapy can cause permanent light spots to form on the treated skin.

Best for: It can effectively diminish raised scars in people who have lighter skin. However, icryosurgery is not recommended for people who have skin of color.

Scar creams, gels, and silicone dressings
Often available without a prescription, these products can be used at home to treat raised scars. They can help reduce the itch and discomfort as well as shrink, flatten, and fade raised scars.

Silicone dressings and bandages can be especially helpful. Although no one knows exactly how these work, one possibility is that silicone helps hydrate the skin. This may reduce the itch and pain as well as make the skin more flexible.

To be effective, these products must be used continuously. This can be difficult, especially for scars on the face. Many people are willing to do this because these treatments have little risk of side effects. Even so, with continuous use, some people develop itchy, irritated skin. This usually clears when the person stops using the product.

Best for: Reducing scar size and discomfort. None is likely to eliminate a raised scar.

What outcome can a person with acne scars expect?

Most treatments can reduce the size and visibility of acne scars. With time, many of the treated acne scars fade, making them barely noticeable.

Your results depend almost entirely on the knowledge and skill of the person performing the treatment.

Dermatologists and dermatologic surgeons perform these procedures frequently, so they have the skills and experience needed to perform these procedures safely and effectively.

While dermatologists offer safe and effective treatment for acne scars, there may be a better solution: prevention.

Ramesh M et al. “Novel Technology in the Treatment of Acne Scars: The Matrix-tunable Radiofrequency Technology.” J Cutan Aesthet Surg. 2010 May;3(2):97-101.

Riveria AE. “Acne scarring: A review and current treatment modalities.” J Am Acad Dermatol 2008;59:659-76.

Sardana K et al. “Which Type of Atrophic Acne Scar (Ice-pick, Boxcar, or Rolling) Responds to Nonablative Fractional Laser Therapy?” Dermatol Surg 2014 Jan 21. doi: 10.1111/dsu.12428. .

Thiboutot, D et al. “New insights into the management of acne: An update from the Global Alliance to Improve Outcomes in Acne Group.” J Am Acad Dermatol 2009;60:5(sup. 1) S1-S50.

Zurada JM et al. “Topical treatments for hypertrophic scars.” J Am Acad Dermatol 2006;55:1024-31.

Roughly 50 million Americans suffer from acne every year, and anyone who does knows about nasty scars acne can leave. Often times, these marks last way longer than the actual blemish itself and can be harder to treat. “Scars can be divided into two – dark marks that are actually a result of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, and the other type which involves a change in skin texture resulting in depressed or raised scars,” explains Dendy Engelman, MD, a dermatologist in New York City.

Dark mark scars crop up generally as superficial pink, red, or brown marks. Dr. Engelman suggests looking for salicylic acid or glycolic acid peels that will help promote cellular turnover to remove the top layers of the skin. This hyperpigmentation, can be faded with brightening ingredients like hydroquinone, kojic acid, phytic acid, and l-asorbic acid,” she says, or LED or photodynamic light therapy can also help fade the mark.

Texture scars, which are raised or sunken marks on the skin, can be treated with microneedling, dermaroller, fractionated Co2, and deep chemical peels, which actually slightly damage skin to help promote collagen production and fill scars from within, says Dr. Engelman.
“Post inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) can persist for weeks to months and is often more problematic than the underlying acne itself,” says Valerie Harvey, MD, a dermatologist in Virginia. “Treating the underlying acne early and effectively is important in the prevention of PIH, and options include topical lightening creams that include ingredients such as hydroquinone, tranezamic acid, niacinamide, and kojic acid, or chemical peels.”

Here are some of the best treatments for acne scars packed with skin brighteners and healers to fill deep face scars, fade dark spots, and help heal acne scars for good:

Pockmarks: Treatments and home remedies

Dermal fillers

Doctors may also recommend facial fillers to treat pockmarks. These are injections of products that lift the pockmarks to the level of the rest of the skin on the face.

There are various products on the market, including hyaluronic acids and calcium hydroxylapatite that may be used.

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has only approved Bellafill for the treatment of acne scars. This product has tiny polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) microspheres within a smooth collagen gel base.

The effect of dermal fillers is temporary but usually lasts from a few months to a year, depending on the product. Bellafill usually lasts 5 years.

Fractional laser

Fractional laser therapy aims to stimulate regeneration in the scars themselves. Laser light is directed onto the scar tissue of the pockmarks.

This burns the outer layer of the scarred skin and stimulates new cell growth. After a period of healing, pockmarks are often noticeably less visible.

Ablative laser resurfacing

Ablative laser resurfacing is an invasive form of laser treatment that removes layers of skin by using a laser. The procedure typically requires a couple of weeks of medical care and recovery, but the results can last for years without any additional treatments.

Ablative laser resurfacing does have some risks, including changes in skin color, redness, and swelling. In some cases, ablative laser therapy can make acne or scarring worse.

Microneedling

Collagen-induction therapy or microneedling is a treatment that involves puncturing the skin, where the pockmark is, using small needles. As these punctures heal, the skin produces more collagen to fill in the pockmarks.

Repeat treatments may be required every few weeks, and significant results are generally visible within a year.

I have pitted acne scars on my face ….which treatment should I have to remove it or fill it

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Acne scars are the worst. I think we can all agree on that. Here are ten remedies that you probably have right now at home that can help eliminate your dark spots and acne scars fast.

1. Aloe Vera

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Scars heal when there are moisturizing and soothing properties present in your treatment. Aloe vera contains these two… and then some. The antioxidants in aloe vera reduce swelling and redness, while its natural astringent removes excess oil and dead cells.

Aloe vera is also great for sunburns (Miami girls know this) and can even be ingested if diluted properly.

The great thing about aloe is that it doesn’t really need measurements. If you can find the plant, even better! Just scrape it off the leaf and lather the scar and cover it with some plastic wrap. It might feel weird and sticky but your skin will thank you.

2. Coconut oil

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Really, any oil can work as long as it’s rich in omega fatty acids to penetrate and moisturize the skin so it can restore your skin’s glow.

Coconut oil is especially great for this and is even recommended by avid users to make them a part of your daily regimen.

Our favorite way to use coconut oil? Dab some under your eyes, on your lips, and bare brows in the morning to keep your face looking naturally fresh.

A word of caution for dewy beauties: use coconut oil only on the area you want to treat. Too much coconut oil might just cause a breakout here and there if you don’t control your usage.

3. Baking Soda

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How exactly can baking soda help with removing scars? It balances your pH and acts as a natural exfoliator. In doing so, it eliminates dead skin cells and leaves you refreshed without damaging the skin around the scar.

Using two parts water and one part baking soda, make a paste and scrub it on the affected area, rinsing thoroughly and gently after a minute.

4. Apple Cider Vinegar

Need we say more? Apple cider vinegar has been touted as an all-around natural ingredient for everything from cleaning solutions to skin care.

When it comes to treating scars, mix it with honey and leave it on for 10 minutes after applying it to the area. Do this up to three times a day for the best results.

Got a pimple coming? Take a Q-tip and soak it in ACV then in water to dilute it just a bit, and dab the swab right on the looming pimple (beware: it might sting for a sec). It’ll help reduce redness and stop any whiteheads from forming.

5. Onion Extract

If you don’t mind a little sting (don’t worry, it goes away quickly) then onion extract is another great option for you.

With bioflavonoids, like cephalin and kaempferol, onion extract has been known to significantly reduce the appearance of scars after only a few weeks, with daily use, of course.

Onion extract is also excellent for fighting acne. It has properties that reduce inflammation, redness, and soreness.

6. Honey

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There’s a reason you’ll see honey more than once on this list. Its natural moisturizing effects and stimulation of tissue regeneration make it a popular ingredient to mix into your skin care routine.

In its raw form, honey is amazing and the darker it is the more medicinal properties it contains.

Mixing honey with cinnamon is a great renewal treatment that can help keep skin smooth and clear.

7. Lemon

If you want to lighten your scar, lemon is a great choice. It has alpha-hydroxy acids (AHA), meaning it has the healing properties your skin needs.

Known as a natural bleach, this lightener aids in new cell growth and gives your skin its elasticity back.

Have your AHA moment with a little lemon. Start by cutting a lemon in half and rub half over the scar; squeeze the lemon to let it soak the scar for about 15 minutes. Dab with cool water to rinse.

Since lemon can make skin sensitive to sunlight, give your scar a fighting chance at healing by using a daily moisturizer with SPF before heading out during the day.

8. Essential Oils

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From lavender to tea tree, to carrot seed; the type of essential oil depends on the type of scar you’re dealing with.

Mixing oils is also a great option.

Try mixing apricot oil with neroli, rose, and lavender oil (1-2 drops each) for a gentle and aromatic daily moisturizer to help heal your scar.

Remember to only use essential oils topically and with a carrier oil.

9. Shea Butter

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We all know shea butter helps women prevent or eliminate stretch marks, so why wouldn’t it work on scars?

Apply it daily to feel its moisturizing effects brightening your skin.

If you can find unfiltered raw shea butter, use that instead of any refined version. Refined usually means any nutrients have been broken down or destroyed.

Store-bought brands usually irritate because they have added fragrance and other additives.

10. Turmeric Powder

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Turmeric is great for acne scars specifically because it contains curcumin, a compound with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that reduce excess production of melanin, which adds pigmentation to your scar and makes it darker.

This treats discoloration and helps skin glow. It’s also antiseptic so it smooths your skin without irritation.

Use it with some of that honey we mentioned earlier! Just add equal parts honey and turmeric (1 tsp each) and keep it on for about 20 minutes to allow the paste to exfoliate and remove dead skin cells. Rinse thoroughly with cool water.

Learn more about your skin

Our skin is constantly bombarded by environmental stressors and changing lifestyles, making it difficult to know what kind of shape our skin is in.

Take the quiz to learn more about your skin’s health, get personalized insights and take the next step towards clean, healthy skin.

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Acne Scar Treatments

If you have experienced acne, we understand it can be very distressing, affect your self-confidence and wellbeing. Once your acne has cleared, you may find you have some pigmentation and scarring, which occurs in around one in five people. Please be assured there are treatments available at sk:n to help you regain your confidence and live life without worrying about your skin. Acne scarring can be treated effectively with a range of innovative treatments which drastically reduce or remove scars completely. Our qualified doctors will give you expert advice and support throughout your journey with us.

A common skin condition

According to the British Skin Foundation, 28% of the UK population suffers from acne and 95% of acne sufferers say it impacts their daily lives, so you are not alone.

What causes acne scarring?

Acne scarring can develop as a complication of acne. Any type of acne spot can lead to scarring and scarring is more common when nodules and cysts are present. It is caused when the body works extremely hard to heal the wounds caused by acne which leads to an excess of collagen build-up in the skin. This collagen can stay in place permanently which causes acne scarring.

What is the best treatment for acne scars?

At sk:n we offer a range of treatments to combat all different types of acne scars. You’ll need a consultation with a doctor so that they can assess your scars and develop a treatment plan tailored to you. we work with the highest grade lasers to offer effective scar removal and your doctor may recommend a series of skin peels, Microneedling, or a laser treatment such as Fraxel®, C02RE, or Laser Resurfacing.

Will acne scars heal?

There are different types of scarring, ice pick scars (small deep holes), rolling scars (uneven skin) and boxcar scars (craters in the skin). Some scars may improve slightly on their own depending on the severity and some scarring will be more stubborn than others. Dark spots on the skin (usually red, brown or purple) are very common and aren’t true acne scars. This is called post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and will be much easier to treat than deeper scars and might heal over time. Other acne scars can be permanent if left untreated. Scarring can also be increased if spots are picked, so it is very important to avoid this.

What Causes Acne Scars?

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Acne scars are caused by inflammatory acne lesions, such as papules (pink raised bumps), pustules (pink bumps with white pus), or cysts. According to Chang, there are several factors that contribute to the risk of developing scars. First, it may be genetic: if you have family members who have acne scars, you’re at a higher risk of developing them too. Your skin type also affects the types of scarring. Chang says those with lighter complexions may be more prone to acne erythema (persistent redness) after inflammatory acne, while those with darker complexion patients may be more prone to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation or brown blemishing.

It’s obvious but bears repeating: don’t even think about touching a pimple. We tend to cause excess trauma that will worsen inflammation, resulting in scars. Chang says to avoid harsh scrubs and skincare products that can further irritate skin and to stop picking, popping, and squeezing acne as that will exacerbate inflammation. She warns that excess sun exposure can make acne blemishes darker, yet another reason to wear SPF 30 or higher every single day (no matter your skin type or tone).

What Type of Scarring Do You Have?

Gross says there are four different types of acne scars one can get: ice pick, rolling, boxcar and hypertrophic. Once you figure out what type you’re dealing with, it’s easier to choose the most effective treatment to getting rid of those scars.

  1. Ice pick acne scars are small, narrow, pinpoint acne scars that penetrate deep into the skin, according to Gross. They develop when infected cystic acne makes its way to the surface and destroys the skin tissue, leaving a cylindrical, column-like scar.
  2. Rolling scars have a wave-like appearance and are wide and shallow in depth. These develop when the when tissue develops between the epidermis and hypodermis, the innermost layer of skin, and they band together to create this rolling appearance.
  3. Boxcar scars have angular, well-defined edges. When an inflammatory breakout destroys collagen, it results in a loss of tissue and the skin is left with depressed areas.
  4. Hypertrophic scars are raised scars. He says these are caused when the skin doesn’t realize that the wound has healed and overproduces collagen. If you’re still unsure about your scarring type, pay a visit to your dermatologist.

What is the Best Treatment for Acne Scars?

Start with chemical (not physical!) exfoliation. Gross says using a product that offers gentle chemical exfoliation is the first step in healing scars. We like his Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel; it has a blend of alpha and beta hydroxy acids that exfoliates dead, darkened scar skin cells while stimulating collagen production. He also says to look for anti-inflammatory and skin brightening ingredients in your serums and, such as vitamin C, a skin-brightening antioxidant, and vitamin E, which regenerates skin cells and improves the texture. Chang says to look for topical treatments that contain retinoids, hydroquinone, and azelaic acid, which have all bene proven to dramatically lighten dark marks and even melasma. Her favorite picks are the Murad Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Serum and Skinbetter AlphaRet Overnight Cream. A word of caution: hydroquinone, a skin-bleaching agent, should only be used under the care and supervision of a dermatologist, since it can potentially lighten healthy skin, too.

For ice pick, rolling, and boxcar scars, Gross says to seek a collagen-boosting treatment, like the in-office laser Smooth Beam. When collagen production is boosted, the scar will eventually raise to match the rest of your skin’s surface. Other pro treatments to discuss with your dermatologist are the laser Picoway Resolve, microneedling like Profound, subcision, and hyaluronic acid filler treatments.

With hypertrophic scars, the reduction of collagen is key. Chang suggests treatment options that include silicone gel, steroid injections, and lasers. Gross agrees and says if the acne scar is both red and raised, an in-office laser such as the Vbeam laser is “an exceptional way” to reduce its appearance.

Shop Derm-Approved Products For Getting Rid Of Acne Scars

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How Do You Prevent Acne Scarring?

But if you’re looking to prevent acne scars from happening in the first place, the best way is to treat acne lesions as soon as they appear. Over-the-counter treatments that contain benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid are a great place to start, but if acne persists, ask your dermatologist about prescription medications like retinol, Aczone, or spironolactone.

Munavalli likes to treat acne with a topical prescription-strength vitamin A (retinol) cream to clear clogged pores and decrease inflammation. He also recommends topical benzoyl peroxide washes at four percent strength or higher which decreases bacterial growth.

Can Acne Scars Be Removed?

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Different Types of Acne

Scars from acne can seem like double punishment — first you had to deal with the pimples, now you have marks as a reminder.

Acne lesions (pimples) happen when the hair follicles (or “pores”) on the skin become plugged with oil and dead skin cells. A plugged follicle is the perfect place for bacteria to grow and create the red bumps and pus-filled red bumps known as pimples.

Acne comes in different forms:

  • mild acne: this causes the whiteheads or blackheads that most of us get at some point
  • moderate acne: this can cause red, inflamed pimples (called papules) and red pimples with white centers (called pustules)
  • severe acne: this causes painful, pus-filled cysts or lumps (called nodules) under the skin

Most serious scarring is caused by the more severe forms of acne, with nodules more likely to leave permanent scars than other types of acne.

The best approach is to get treatment for acne soon after it appears to prevent further severe acne and more scarring. If you have nodules, see your doctor or dermatologist for treatment.

Treating Acne Scars

Most of the time, those reddish or brownish acne marks that are left behind after pimples clear up will fade with no need for treatment. Picking or squeezing acne can increase the risk for scarring, though.

Acne scars take two forms:

  1. scars with a gradual dip or depression (sometimes called “rolling” scars)
  2. scars that are deep and narrow

A person’s acne needs to be under control before scars can be treated.

Mild vs. Severe Scarring

Treatments depend on how severe the scars are. In some cases, a doctor or dermatologist may suggest a chemical peel or microdermabrasion to help improve the appearance of scarred areas. These milder treatments can be done right in the office.

For serious scarring from previous bouts with acne, several types of treatment can help:

  • Laser resurfacing. This procedure can be done in the doctor’s or dermatologist’s office. The laser removes the damaged top layer of skin and tightens the middle layer, leaving skin smoother. It can take anywhere from a few minutes to an hour. The doctor will try to lessen any pain by first numbing the skin with local anesthesia. It usually takes between 3 and 10 days for the skin to heal completely.
  • Dermabrasion. This treatment uses a rotating wire brush or spinning diamond instrument to wear down the surface of the skin. As the skin heals, a new, smoother layer replaces the abraded skin. It may take a bit longer for skin to heal using dermabrasion — usually between 10 days and 3 weeks.
  • Fractional laser therapy. This type of treatment works at a deeper level than laser resurfacing or dermabrasion, Because fractional laser therapy doesn’t wound the top layer of tissue, healing time is shorter. Someone who has had this type of treatment may just look a bit sunburned for a couple of days.

For “rolling” scars, doctors sometimes inject material under the scar to raise it to the level of normal skin. Finally, in some cases, a doctor may recommend surgery to remove deeply indented scars.

One thing you shouldn’t do to deal with acne scars is load up your face with masks or fancy lotions — these won’t help and may irritate your skin further, making the scars red and even more noticeable.

If you have a red or brownish mark on your face that you got from a bad zit, it should eventually fade. However, it may take 12 months or longer. If you’re upset about acne marks, talk to your doctor, who might have advice on what you can do.

Reviewed by: Patrice Hyde, MD Date reviewed: October 2016

Best Treatments for Acne Scars

How to remove acne scars? From lasers to fillers, here are the top treatments we offer at SDG that deliver real results:

  • Factional CO2 Laser
  • Fraxel® laser
  • KTP laser
  • Vbeam® laser
  • Fillers
  • F.A.S.T.®

Fractional CO2 Laser – Aggressive but Extremely Effective

The best lasers for the treatment of acne scars are the fractionated resurfacing lasers. The fractional CO2 laser therapy is the most aggressive laser acne scar treatment available today and produces excellent results in one treatment.

The fractional CO2 (carbon dioxide) laser is an effective laser for the treatment of acne scars. The newer “fractional” technology treats only a fraction of the skin, leaving healthy intact skin surrounding the treatment area. This allows for fast healing and very safe treatments for most skin types. The fractional CO2 laser pokes small microscopic holes in the deeper layers of the skin. This process leads to the generation of new, healthy collagen to smooth out the acne scars. Improvement in acne scars can be seen in as early as one week following the fractional CO2 laser treatment. Improvements in acne scarring will continue for up to six months following the initial treatment.

Depending on the laser, fractional CO2 lasers usually have about 3-6 days of downtime after the procedure. During this time, the skin is healing from the wound the laser caused in order to stimulate collagen remodeling. During the healing period, we often recommend patients apply Aquaphor® ointment to speed up recovery time.

Fraxel® Laser – Reduced Recovery Time

Fraxel® laser is the most well-known example of a fractional erbium glass laser; because the term Fraxel® is more well-known, we will refer to this laser as the Fraxel®. The Fraxel® is a non-ablative fractional laser treatment that is often used in the treatment of acne scarring. It is named the “Fraxel” since it only treats a small fraction of the skin each visit, leaving healthy skin between the treatment areas in order to decrease healing time. The Fraxel® laser uses microscopic columns of laser energy to penetrate into the skin’s deeper layers in order to stimulate your body’s own healing process. This stimulates the body to produce healthy collagen in order to repair the damaged skin. The Fraxel® treatment can smooth out acne scars in addition to treating the red and brown marks often left behind after acne lesions. The Fraxel® laser does not break the skin so it has less downtime than the fractional CO2 laser, but usually requires four treatments instead of one.

KTP Laser – Reduces Redness

The KTP laser is used to treat many causes of redness on the face, including blood vessels, rosacea and post-inflammatory erythema (the redness left behind after acne). KTP is an abbreviation for potassium titanyl-phosphate, though the laser is commonly called the KTP laser. The KTP laser can significantly improve red acne scars after one to three treatments. It is not painful and there is no downtime after the treatments. Some improvement is seen very soon after the treatment and some improvement is seen in the weeks after the initial treatment. The KTP laser targets the hemoglobin (red) areas on the skin. The energy of the KTP laser causes the blood vessels just below the skin’s surface to collapse. The collapsing of the blood vessels decreases the red appearance of the acne scars left behind after the acne clears.

Vbeam Laser – Reduced Redness from Recent Breakouts

Yes, the Vbeam® laser can be used to treat red marks from recent acne. The Vbeam® works similarly to the KTP laser, and they are both vascular lasers. This means that the Vbeam® targets the hemoglobin (red cells) in the skin, which causes the tiny blood vessels that contribute to the appearance of redness to collapse.

Things to Consider when Choosing Laser Acne Scar Removal

As you consider your options for acne scar removal here are some addition considerations to support the treatment that best suits your needs or advise you on any questions you may want to ask your dermatologist:

  • Results – Laser treatment of acne scars stimulates new collagen production in the skin, to smooth out the skin’s surface. The results are permanent.
  • Downtime
  • Alternative of Dermal Fillers – Dermal fillers can be used to treat acne scars temporarily. Fillers, such as Restylane®, Juvederm® and Perlane®, can be injected directly into the pitted area. They help to add volume where volume has been lost from scarring, and can often even out pitted rolling scars. However, dermal fillers do not actually change the scars, they merely camouflage them. Dermal fillers are a great quick fix, but the results last only six to twelve months. For patients who don’t mind the upkeep, dermal fillers may be a good option for the treatment of acne scars.
  • FAST Procedure – The F.A.S.T.® procedure for acne scars targets localized areas of acne scarring, rather than treating the entire face. F.A.S.T.® is an acronym for Focal Acne Scar Treatment. Traditional methods of fractional CO2 laser resurfacing for acne scars utilized “medium” strength energy over the entire face. Dr. Schweiger developed F.A.S.T.® as a method of treating acne scars with higher energy levels, but having a shorter healing time. The F.A.S.T.® procedure uses the “fraction of a fraction” idea; not only is the laser fractionated, but only a fraction of the skin is being treated at a time. Results have been excellent, with most patients seeing between 50-70% improvement of their acne scars with just 3-4 days of downtime.

You don’t have to live with acne scars. Contact us today to schedule a consult with one of our board-certified dermatology providers and get on the road to a scar-free complexion. Call 844-DERM-DOC or email us at [email protected]

Suggested Additional Reading:

Acne and Acne Scar Treatments

Some people think that acne only occurs during puberty. The truth is that this cosmetic condition can affect men and women well into their 30s, 40s, and even 50s. As someone dealing with acne, you know that it can be difficult to treat. What’s worse, you may be left with noticeable scarring after your blemishes finally clear up.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), acne is the most common skin disorder affecting Americans today. The AAD estimates that 40 to 50 million Americans suffer from this condition at any given time, with nearly 85% of all Americans suffering from acne at one point in their lives. Of these, the AAD estimates that 40% will develop acne scars that could require treatments from a dermatologist.

At JUVA Skin & Laser Center, we know that acne and acne scars can be incredibly frustrating. They can seem resistant to every at-home and prescription treatment. You shouldn’t have to deal with low self-esteem and self-confidence caused by these marks. You deserve clear, even, and healthy skin.

We offer a variety of treatments to help you improve the appearance of your skin. If you are struggling with acne or acne scars, please call 212-688-5882 today to schedule a consultation with our experienced dermatologists. We happily welcome patients from Manhattan, Woodside, NYC, and worldwide.

  • What is Active Acne?
  • What Causes Acne?
  • How Does Acne Become a Scar?
  • Types of Acne Scars
  • Some Ways to Manage Acne at Home
  • JUVA’s Groundbreaking Acne Research using Fractora
  • Photodynamic Therapy
  • Laser Acne Treatments
  • Fillers for Atrophic Acne Scars
  • Chemical Peels
  • Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP)
  • Acne and Emotional Health
  • Schedule Your Manhattan or Woodside Acne Treatment

What is Active Acne?

Active acne can occur on the face, back, chest, neck, shoulders, and other areas of the body. This skin condition is characterized by inflamed or infected pores. Keep in mind that active acne is different from hyperpigmentation or scarring that can appear when your blemishes fade.

The most common types of acne include:

  • Whiteheads: These are small blemishes with a white appearance.
  • Blackheads: These marks are characterized by the appearance of tiny black dots.
  • Papules: This term describes the stage after a whitehead, where there is likely inflammation but no visible white area on the blemish.
  • Pustules: This form of acne may be painful to the touch and tempting to pop, but you should avoid any squeezing action that could leave you with a scar. Many people refer to this type of acne as pimples.
  • Nodules and cysts: These are more severe forms of acne and have the potential to damage your skin. Nodules and cysts are often deep and painful.

It’s possible to have multiple types of active acne at once. That’s why it’s important to work with our dermatologists to determine your acne type. From there, they can match you with the appropriate treatments. A treatment that banishes blackheads may not be suitable for tackling deep, cystic acne.

What Causes Acne?

Acne occurs when a pore in your skin becomes clogged. Typically, this clog starts with dead skin cells. Instead of rising to the surface of the skin and falling away, some cells come in contact with a natural facial oil known as sebum. These oily skin cells may stick together and become trapped in the pore, leading to the formation of acne.

Acne can become redder and more inflamed when bacteria are involved. Certain bacteria on the surface of your skin can get trapped inside a clogged pore and multiply rapidly. Eventually, the bacteria can create a deep, painful acne cyst. Unfortunately, antibiotics and over the counter medicines may not always be effective when it comes to treating stubborn acne.

How Does Acne Become a Scar?

Not all acne breakouts lead to scarring. However, when a breakout is particularly deep or inflamed, it can damage the surrounding skin. As the blemish fades, your body attempts to fix the damage.

Unfortunately, your body may not repair the damage perfectly. A scar will form if too much or too little collagen is produced during the healing process.

You may be prone to scarring if you:

  • Have inflammatory acne
  • Postpone acne treatments
  • Pick or squeeze your blemishes
  • Have a genetic predisposition

The longer that you have inflamed, red, and irritated blemishes, the more likely you are to experience scarring. You can help prevent acne scars by pursuing an effective professional acne treatment as soon as possible. Unfortunately, it’s possible to scar in spite of your best efforts to protect your skin.

Types of Acne Scars

There are many different types of acne scars. Among the most common are:

  • Rolling scars: These marks form rolling depressions across the skin that sometimes resemble waves. A kind of pitted acne scar, rolling scars become more apparent with age as collagen diminishes and the skin loses its elasticity and fullness.
  • Boxcar scars: Like rolling scars, boxcar scars are depressions in the skin. However, this type of atrophic acne scar has steep, clearly defined edges.
  • Icepick scars: Another type of pitted acne scar, icepick scars are narrow and deep. They typically resemble a large, empty pore.
  • Keloid scars: These marks are raised acne scars that are firm and often appear rubbery. They are less common than depressed scars, but may result from severe acne, genetics, or secondary infection.
  • Post-inflammatory hypo- and hyper-pigmentation: Spotting or blotching of the skin may seem unrelated to acne, but pigmentation irregularities can be caused by blemishes both early and later in life. These marks may appear lighter or darker than the surrounding skin as a result of melanin production during healing.
  • Post-inflammatory erythema: A condition marked by persistent redness, erythema occurs when capillaries near the skin’s surface become permanently damaged or enlarged.

Each type of acne scar responds better to specific treatments. During your visit with our New York dermatologists, we will carefully assess your scarring and help you choose the option or combination of options that will produce the smooth and attractive skin you desire.

Some Ways to Manage Acne at Home

There are several habits and products that you can incorporate into your at home acne routine. Sometimes, changing a few things is enough to improve your acne. However, if you aren’t seeing results or if you pimples are turning into scars, it’s time to see our dermatologists.

Try the following skin care tips to help manage acne at home:

  • Don’t over-wash your skin: It’s tempting to wash your skin frequently when you’re dealing with acne. However, washing more than twice a day can do more harm than good. Over-washing can lead to irritation and new breakouts. Though you may think striping all the oil from your face is the answer, you need some sebum on your face to prevent dryness and protect your skin barrier.
  • Stick to a treatment: Have you fallen into the trap of switching to a new cleanser or spot treatment, using it for a few days without seeing results, and then ditching it for a different product? Changing up your skin care routine so frequently fails to give any product enough time to work. Plus, using so many different products on your skin can cause irritation.
  • Use non-comedogenic products: Some makeup, skin, and hair products can cause breakouts. Try looking for products that are labeled “non-comedogenic,” which means they won’t clog your pores.

JUVA’s Groundbreaking Acne Research using Fractora

Microneedling is an effective treatment on its own. But Fractora takes microneedling further by combining it with fractionated radiofrequency energy. The result is an effective double-duty treatment with zero downtime. Fractora improves acne and acne scars through the production of collagen, elastin, and new skin cells.

Dr. Katz recently conducted a clinical research study in which 69% of subjects showed significant improvement in acne flare-ups and scarring. Our patients saw an overall improvement in their skin with 3 treatments every 3-4 weeks within a 6-month period. Dr. Katz is proud to announce the success of this clinical study and this treatment is now available at Juva Skin and Laser Center in New York.

Photodynamic Therapy

Photodynamic therapy can improve a wide range of acne concerns. The first step is to coat the skin with a medication called Levulan® (aminolevulinic acid HCl) that is absorbed by your oil glands and skin bacteria. The drug is then activated using a gentle laser to effectively kill acne-causing bacteria and shrink the size of your oil glands.

The treatment is painless and the results are long-lasting. To experience the best results, the treatment should be performed 5-6 times at two-week intervals. Your skin will temporarily be more sensitive to the sun after a session, so you will need to wear a sunscreen for several days after a photodynamic therapy session.

Watch stories of two patients who have dealt with adult acne. Dr. Katz uses photodynamic therapy to provide long-lasting results for these patients.

Laser Acne Treatments

Laser acne treatments offer a safe, effective, and painless way to reduce acne and acne scars. At JUVA, we offer state-of-the-art options such as:

  • LightPodNeo by Aerolase: This laser penetrates both the outer and inner layers of your skin to destroy the bacteria and other dermal infections that can cause acne. The heat of the laser is specifically targeted to the glands where acne bacteria thrive in order to destroy the bacteria before acne forms. The laser light is targeted and gentle enough to leave the surrounding skin tissue unharmed
  • PicoSure Laser: The PicoSure laser is FDA-approved for the treatment of acne scars and dark spots. It works by aiming short bursts of laser energy into your inner and outer tissues. This revolutionary treatment helps to eliminate red spots, dark spots, and scarring. PicoSure treatments are safe and painless. Plus, they help cleanse the pores and encourage healthy skin through the production of collagen and elastin.
  • Fractional CO2 Laser: Fractional CO2 lasers excel at resurfacing the skin. This treatment removes damaged and dull layers of skin tissue, leaving the surrounding skin intact to aid in the healing process. After a treatment, your skin will begin to produce healthy new cells. This process can dramatically improve the appearance of acne scars.

Fillers for Atrophic Acne Scars

Injectable dermal fillers can help minimize the appearance of depressed acne scars. These products work by adding beneficial volume below the surface of the skin. When carefully placed under an atrophic acne scar, fillers can lift the divot and help it appear more even with the surrounding skin.

At JUVA, we tend to use Bellafill to improve acne scars. This revolutionary filler provides immediate results that can last up to five years without repeat treatments!

Chemical Peels

Chemical peels are a powerful form of chemical exfoliation that can treat acne and acne scars. This popular medispa service involves applying a special solution to the skin that sloughs away dead skin cells. Superficial, or “light-duty,” chemical peels are often ideal for acne. Despite the name, many chemical peels don’t actually cause the skin to peel, meaning there is little to no downtime.

In addition to mild peels, other options can be tailored to meet your unique needs. For example, spot peels can significantly improve acne scars. These peels use a special, deeply-penetrating formula. In some cases, a stronger peel may also be appropriate.

Acne and Emotional Health

Acne doesn’t just affect your appearance; it can take a toll on your emotional wellbeing. Many patients with acne or acne scars report feeling self-conscious, unattractive, or embarrassed. If you suffer from acne, you may feel like you can’t leave the house or see your friends without applying makeup or covering up.

Studies have found that people with acne tend to suffer from:

  • Depression
  • Poor self-image
  • Anxiety
  • Feelings of isolation
  • A decreased quality of life

If you suffer from stubborn acne and acne scars that don’t respond to your skin care routine or antibiotics, contact our team. The longer you have to deal with acne and scarring, the more likely it is that these concerns will cause you emotional distress. Our world-class dermatologists would love to meet with you and explain the ideal treatment or treatments for your situation.

Schedule Your Manhattan or Woodside Acne Treatment

Are you ready to put acne and acne scarring behind you? There’s no better time than now to start your journey to clear skin.

Schedule a skin consultation with our sought after dermatologists by calling 212-688-5882 or filling out our contact form. We happily work with patients from Manhattan, Woodside, NYC, and around the world.

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