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Treatments for Acne Scarring

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Treatments for acne scarring
  • Published

    March 24, 2014

  • Written by

    Dr Garth Dicker

Traditional Acne treatments and prevention:

  • Scars that are exposed to the sun too frequently can lead to darkening of the affected area, and slow down its healing. This is caused by UV rays, which promote the build-up of pigment producing cells that leads to discolouration;
  • When using sunscreen, you should opt for using brands which are oil-free. This also applies to any other cosmetics that you might be using on your face;
  • You should strive to use cosmetics and any other toiletries that are noncomedogenic; that is, they don’t clog pores;
  • Try and avoid using products which have alcohol based astringents. Alcohol based astringents tend to remove the natural oils in skin;
  • When you have an acne outbreak, refrain from touching or picking at it. Not only does this not help the removal of the acne, but it can cause debilitating scarring in the future. Squeezing pimples, or trying to pop them, only serves to send the bacteria responsible deeper under the surface of the skin, which damages collagen even further;
  • When you have an acne outbreak, don’t scrub the affected area too hard when you’re washing your skin. This only serves to irritate the skin, and can lead to more acne and scarring. Wash your face gently with lukewarm water a couple of times a day;
  • Contrary to popular belief, you should refrain from applying vitamin E to a scar. Studies have proven that the application of vitamin E, long believed to help alleviate the effects of scarring, actually serves to exacerbate the effects of scarring. The study, undertaken at the University of Miami, showed that vitamin E was ineffective for 90% of test subjects. Moreover, over a third of subjects developed a contact dermatitis;
  • Consult a doctor and dermatologist if over the counter products don’t reduce the severity of your acne. Use any medication you are prescribed as directed, and allow time for it to take effect. If nothing works, consider laser acne therapy or light therapy.

Acne scarring treatments

Acne scarring treatments are available in a variety of different methods. Below we’ve outlined the most common acne scar treatments for your consideration. Keep in mind that, in consultation with one of our experts at a Collins Cosmetic Clinic, appropriate acne treatments will depend on your age and health, including your medical history. Furthermore, it will depend on the type of scarring you have and its severity. Finally, your own personal preferences and your tolerance of specific procedures will also be factors taken under consideration.

Although proper treatment for acne may help minimize scarring, several dermatological procedures may help to further minimize any acne scars, including the following:

Laser acne and light therapy

Laser acne therapy is a scar removal technique using lasers to resurface the skin. It is used for treating scars and wrinkles. It can also make use of a dye to treat raised acne scars; for people with lighter skin, an intense pulsed light is a better option for treating scarring. At Collins Cosmetic Clinic, we use Fraxel technology which improves the efficiency and effectiveness of laser therapy.


Dermabrasion is typically used to lessen the severity of acne or surgical scars, and is particularly effective at minimizing existing small scars. The process involves removing layers of skins by abrading the skin. Once the skin begins to heal, it will become more vibrant, fresh and smooth. Patients usually undergo a week of recovery for the skin to full recuperate.


Similar to dermabrasion, but because it is a treatment spread over a number of sessions, it doesn’t require the amount of recovery time associated with dermabrasion.

Chemical peels

Chemical peels are primarily used to treat skin that has been damaged through excessive sun exposure, but also for superficial scarring and other pigment irregularities. The process involves applying a chemical to remove the first layer of skin. This allows the skin to regenerate, produce healthier looking skin in the long run.

Fat transfer

A fat transfer is a process in which skin from one part of the body is used to repair damaged skin in another part of the body. For instance, fatty deposits from a thigh can be used to treat acne scarring in the face.

With scarring, the fat deposit is injected under the skin of the affected area to raise the depressed scars. Fat transfers used for scarring may require a number of sessions, as the new skin takes time to absorb itself successfully.

Dermal fillers

Dermal filler injections are designed to replace natural collagen produced in the body which has been lost. Dermal fillers can range in longevity, lasting anywhere up to 8 months depending on which fillers are used. Dermal filler injectables are primarily used to treat scars and wrinkles.


This refers to medication that is inserted into a raised scar, flattening and softening it in the process.

Punch grafts

Punch grafts are a method of scar treatment in which scarred skin is replaced through the use of smaller skin grafts. This works by removing the scar through a series of incisions in the skin, after which healthy and unscarred skin is reinserted in the affected area. Punch grafts are often reserved for very deep acne scars.

Subcutaneous incision

A subcutaneous incision is one in which a probe is used to remove the scarring from the skin, allowing the skin to regenerate over time and flatten the surface of the acne scarring.


Cryotherapy is a method of scar treatment involving the freeing of tissues of scar. The effect of this is that the scar eventually falls off. Cryotherapy carries the risk of lightening the area of the skin that is frozen, which may be an issue for people with darker skin tones.

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