Acne is common in adolescence and young adulthood, but none of us wants to be reminded of that, years after the acne has gone away.
There are options available for acne scar removal. So keep reading to learn the best way to treat your acne scars.
What Type of Acne Scars Do You Have?
There are three main types of acne scars:
Atropic scars: these are the most common and are caused by destruction of the collagen in the dermis. They appear like an indentation in the skin. Not all atropic scars are the same. Different types of scars responded to treatments differently.
Hypertrophic scars: these are the opposite of the atropic scars and are actually raised up to look like a small raised bump on the skin.
Hyperpigmentation: technically, this is not a scar, but rather a persistent post acne inflammation. This type does not change the texture of the skin, it just makes the skin look patchy.
Best Treatments for Acne Scar Removal
Atropic Scar Removal
Procedures are the best way to get rid of atropic scars. Because the collagen is damaged most topical agents won’t work. Below is a list of different procedures for acne scar removal:
- Pulsed-Dye Laser: this type of acne scar removal has a long history of safe and effective use.
A light heats up your skin in very precise areas, causing reconstruction of the collagen. This treatment requires 3-4 treatments, usually a month apart.
Cost: Usually about $500-600 per treatment.
- Traditional ablative laser resurfacing: this laser heats up the water molecules in your skin, causing small burns. Your body responds to this injury by using collagen to remodel the skin.
With this type of acne scar removal, you get great results. The bad part is that the recovery is about 12 weeks, and the procedure is painful.
Cost: $2,500- $6,000 depending on the type of laser used.
- Non-ablative factional laser resurfacing: lovingly called NARF for short, this is a lot like traditional ablative laser resurfacing except not as intense.
The down side is you may need multiple treatments, and the outcome of acne scar removal is not as robust.
Cost: $1,500- $6,000, depending on the type of laser used.
- Chemical Peels: different types of peels have different ingredients, depending on what level of skin you want to affect.
Superficial chemical peels use chemicals like salicylic acid, glycolic acid, and Jessner solution to affect only the first layer of your skin.
Medium depth chemical peels use combinations of Jessner solution at higher concentrations and trichloroacitic.
Chemical reconstruction of skin scars technique (CROSS): a high strength trichloroacetic acid is placed directly at the base on the scars, to promote the skin to remodel itself. Usually 3-6 treatments are needed.
Chemical peels help for superficial acne scar removal, but are usually not effective on deeper scars.
Cost: Between $150 and $6,000 depending on the type of peel, and how qualified the person administering it is.
- Subcision: a needle is used to break apart the tough scar tissue that causes the dents in the skin. Usually a minimum of 3 treatments is needed.
Cost: $150 -$300 per treatment.
- Dermabrasion: instead of using light or chemicals, dermabrasion uses a small tool to remove the first several layers of skin.
It is not as popular as light treatments, because the quality of treatment depends mostly on how well the person doing the dermabrasion is trained.
Microdermabrasion is in the same family of acne scar removal treatments but only works on very superficial scars.
Cost: $1,500- $4,000 depending on the size and depth. Microderm is usually less expensive in general.
Hypertropic Scar Removal
- Steroids: first line therapy is an injection of steroids directly into the scar.
- Pulse-dye Laser: can also be used on this type of scar as well.
Hyperpigmentation Scar Removal
Luckily, the skincare aisle of your beauty store, or even pharmacy, is full of products used to decrease the dark patches associated with acne scars. Look for creams with some of the following ingredients:
- Niacinimide: vitamin B3.
- Ellagic acid: found in cherries and strawberries.
- Lignin: a chemical in some mushrooms.
- Arbutin: Found in blueberries and cranberries.
- Kojic acid: found in some types of fungus.
If you do have hyperpigmentation scars, make sure to use sunscreen on your face everyday as the light from the sun can make your scars darker!
Many types of products and procedures are available for acne scar removal. I recommend speaking with a dermatologist first, before going to an outpatient procedure clinic and getting the opinion of a physician.
The individuals at procedure clinics may be well trained, but they are also trained to sell you procedures and products!
Talk to your physician before using any acne scar removal products.