Even after you've gotten rid of a stubborn pimple, you may be left with an unpleasant reminder in the form of a scar. These scars form when the dermis (underlying skin tissue) is damaged, typically from picking at or popping a zit. Acne scars may not be as physically irritating as acne itself, but they can reduce one’s confidence and linger for years. It’s important to find the best treatment to get rid of those pesky pigmentations as quickly as possible.
Just as there are several effective treatments for acne, there are a number of ways to get rid of acne scars. We won’t list every single method, brand, or product here, but we will go over the 6 best treatments for acne scarring.
Dermabrasion is a process by which a coarse material is used to scrape away a certain portion of the skin down to the dermis. This procedure is used for a number of skin pigmentation issues, including scarring. However, this acne scar treatment is primarily recommended for those with fair skin and severe scarring that has fully healed, as dermabrasion can cause discoloration in those with darker skin tones.
Laser treatment for acne scars works by targeting the affected area with a beam of light at a specific energy level. This focused energy stimulates the tissue, essentially triggering it to repair. Over time, after multiple procedures, the scar’s pigment will appear more and more like the surrounding skin. At best, laser therapy can completely remove acne scars. At the very least, this treatment option can greatly reduce their appearance.
This procedure involves the use of a rolling device attached with several small needles that carefully run across the skin, penetrating the underlying scar tissue. The principle behind microneedling (or dermarolling) is the same as that of laser therapy. That is to say, the tiny pinpricks from the needling tool are meant to stimulate that portion of the skin to produce more collagen, thereby lightening up or removing the scar over time. In most cases, microneedling won’t result in complete acne scar removal, though multiple treatments can improve results.
RF microneedling takes dermarolling and adds an energy component, namely radio frequencies. Like light waves, sound waves can also stimulate a physical response. When combined with microneedling, the skin is even more activated to start rebuilding. This somewhat recent acne scar treatment method has proven effective at softening up acne scar pigmentation.
Also known as soft-tissue fillers, dermal fillers are injections of proteins (sometimes collagen) and/or acids meant to cosmetically fill out or plump up a targeted area of skin. Some standard dermal fillers include Juvederm, Bellafill, and Restylane. The filler is directly injected into the scar tissue with immediate but temporary effects. While dermal fillers for acne scars can be highly effective, they don’t last forever. Patients may require repeat injections on a yearly basis (or more frequently) to keep their acne scars from showing back up.
Certain chemicals like phenol, glycolic acid, and salicylic acid, are also effective treatments for acne scarring. A professional dermatologist will place a peel containing one of these chemicals over the skin and allow it to take effect. These acidic substances remove the top layer of skin (or even deeper, depending on the acid), allowing the new layer of skin cells to grow and replace the old, scarred cells. While these chemical peels can be highly effective at reducing the appearance of acne scars, they also come with risks, such as skin pigmentation changes and, ironically, scarring. This is why it’s important to talk with your dermatologist and understand your skin type before choosing to undergo a chemical peel treatment.
The six treatments outlined above only scratch the surface (no pun intended) of acne scar treatment and removal options. Still, they are the most common and often most effective ways to get rid of your acne scars or greatly reduce their appearance. If you would like more advice and information on how to treat acne scars effectively, Premier Dermatology Partners is here to help you make an informed decision and create a skin care plan that’s right for you. To learn more about our team and all the services we provide, contact us.