Acne Scar Treatment

Latest update: July 14, 2024
Medically reviewed by: Jennifer Trent MD, FAAD


Several acne treatments can heal and fade severe acne scars such as dark marks or indentations.

Surgical and non-surgical options are available to patients.

Minor surgical procedures can treat noticeable acne marks. It is performed in a dermatologist's office under a local anaesthetic. One option is for the doctor to first raise the scar and move it towards the skin's surface to make it less prominent. Another is cutting out the scar entirely and suturing the area together.  Finally, the doctor may break up the scar tissue with a needle for quicker healing.

Non-surgical choices include injections, fillers, radiation, skin tightening, and skin resurfacing treatments. Combining different procedures after surgery can ensure more effective results.

One example is injections such as corticosteroids, 5-FU, or interferon. These can be administered as a stand-alone treatment or as a series, once a month for a few months.

Radiation is another post-surgery treatment option. It can stop scars from reappearing. Although it is efficient, doctors usually do not recommend this option due to the possible future side effects.

Non-surgical resurfacing procedures are also great for acne scar treatment. These methods will remove the layers of skin to regenerate new cells for quicker healing. Resurfacing treatments include laser, chemical peeling, dermabrasion, and microdermabrasion. These methods are best for flatter scars. 

Other treatments include injection of dermal fillers or fat grafting. They add volume to depressed acne scars. These treatments usually deliver quick results that last between 6-18 months.

Skin tightening is a treatment that uses radiofrequency. This process makes indented scars less prominent. After a session, patients may feel a slight burning sensation. The skin may look a little red but will usually subside after 2-3 days.

Collagen-induction therapy is also known as micro-needling. It uses a device rolled over the skin while puncturing micro-needles into the acne scars. The wounds will then encourage collagen production, and the scars will heal over time. Patients need 3-6 sessions and will notice gradual changes within nine months.

Cryosurgery is a procedure that freezes scar tissue. This treatment damages and removes the scar tissue over time.  It may be combined with corticosteroid injections. The process involves some risks, such as permanent light spots or skin atrophy.

There are some less-invasive, at-home treatments. These include scar creams, gels, and silicone dressing that help reduce and fade scars. Silicone dressings are effective in hydrating the skin and preventing itch and inflammation. Patients must use these options religiously for noticeable results.
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How to Treat Acne Scars

Dr. Maxfield and Dr. Shah talk about Acne Scar Treatment. They explain the difference between pigment changes and true scars and talk about the importance of being able to tell scars apart. They run through the different treatments according to the types of scars. Why are some acne scars harder to treat than others? The guys from Doctorly talk us through the reasons and explain what to do and what not to do. What treatment will be best for you?

Acne Scar Treatments - Ultimate Guide

Dr. Davin Lim, a dermatologist from Brisbane, Australia, runs through his ultimate guide to acne scar treatment. He explains the differences between acne scars and talks about how that impacts treatment options. His discusses his preferences. The video shows footage of patients receiving treatment and before and after pictures. What option will work for you?