Wall Street Dermatology

The Secret to Scar-Free Skin: Acne Scar Subcision in NYC

A highly effective treatment for depressed acne scars performed by world-class subcision specialist, Dr. Julia Tzu of Wall Street Dermatology

Subcision For Acne Scars At Wall Street Dermatology

Before and After Acne Scar Subcision on Forehead
Before (left) and after (right) acne scar subcision on the forehead (especially on the patient's right side above the eyebrow). After photo shows depressions back to normal skin texture.

Acne scars can be broadly categorized into acne erythema (red discoloration from early stage acne scarring), hypertrophic scars (firm, pink, “bumpy” scars), rolling scars (scars with a sweeping, depressed contour), boxcar scars (scars with an abrupt drop-off depression), and ice pick scars (scars with deep, punctate, or “icepick” depression).  These clinical categories are only important because they direct the treatment methods.

Dr. Julia Tzu, FAAD, the founder/medical direct at Wall Street Dermatology, our board-certified skin surgeon and dermatologist in NYC, is one of NYC’s leading specialists offering acne scar subcision, and can help you learn more about the procedure.

If you need help with scheduling or have any questions, call (212) 931-0538.

Dermatologist Dr. Julia Tzu's Approach to Acne Scar Subcision

Dr. Julia Tzu

“Most of the acne scar subcision patients that come to me have tried every option from chemical peels, to lasers, to radio frequency micro-needling, but found limited improvement in everything they have tried. Acne scar subcision is a profoundly different and highly effective way that has helped numerous of these patients finally see improvement in their skin. Instead of being the method tried last, this procedure should be the first option that patients with rolling acne scars need to try.”- Dr. Julia Tzu, MD, FAAD

What is Acne Scar Subcision?

There are many different acne scar revision modalities, depending on the type of acne scar targeted. Subcision is a specific acne scar treatment that addresses the depressed type of acne scarring. It is most effectively used to treat rolling scars, but can also moderately improve the appearance of boxcar scars, and minimally (if at all) improve the appearance of ice pick scars.

Subcision for acne scars is a technique in which a sharp instrument is used to “subcise”, or break apart, the firm scar tissue that tethers the upper layer of the skin to its underlying layers.  This technique involves precise sweeping motions of a sharp instrument to free the upper skin from being bound down below. Filler material, known as hyaluronic acid, can also be injected at the same time to temporarily fill in the opened spaces, while waiting for the body to eventually create its own collagen to fill in the gaps.  The injected hyaluronic acid aids in stimulating the body to produce more collagen.

Acne Scar Subcision Before and After

Acne Scar Subcision with Filler Before and After
The left image shows rolling and boxcar acne scars prior to subcision. The right image shows significant improvement after one acne scar subcision treatment.
Acne Scar Subcision with Filler Before and After
Depressed acnes scars (left) were reduced after undergoing a series of acne scar subcision with filler injections combined with microneedling. Not only are scars less visible, but even wrinkers are reduced from the increased collagen production as a result of the procedure.
Before and After Acne Scar Subcision and Botox
Rolling scar on the forehead (left) improved completely after just one subcision treatment
Before and After Acne Scar Subcision and Laser Treatment

Acne scar subcision Cost NYC

The cost of an acne scar subcision in NYC depends on the extent of the scar subcision performed, surface area treated, and severity of scarring. On average, the cost of acne scar subcision range between $1,500 to $2,600 per session. Total cost per session will depend on how many areas are treated. Multiple sessions are usually required for optimum outcomes.

Why Choose Dr. Julia Tzu as Your Acne Scar Treatment Specialist?

  • Johns Hopkins-trained MD & cosmetic dermatologist with 15+ years experience
  • One of the most experienced acne scarring specialists in NYC with thousands of successful treatments
  • One of very few Acne Scar Subcision specialists in NYC to treat indented, rolling acne scars
  • Top-rated reviews on Google & Yelp
  • Top-of-the-line cosmetic outcomes (see Before & After)
  • Full range of acne scarring procedures performed (microneedling, laser, subcision)
  • Stanford undergrad, Johns Hopkins MD, U. Miami dermatology residency, post-doc fellowships from NYU (skin cancer) & UPenn (skin surgery)
  • Clinical Assistant Professor at NYU School of Medicine since 2012
  • Castle Connolly “Top Doctor” since 2015
  • Cosmetic Advisory Board at IT Cosmetics (L’Oreal)
  • Easy online scheduling. Book anytime.

Taking the Next Steps for Subcision

If you are interested in exploring subcision for acne scars, you can learn more about booking a cosmetic consultation with Dr. Tzu. We’d love to explore how we may be able to restore the natural beauty of your skin, and treat your acne scars once and for all.


A topical numbing cream is applied before the procedure.  With appropriate numbing, the procedure is painless. There may be some mild discomfort and swelling in the several days after the procedure, but this can be easily controlled with over the counter pain medication, if needed.

Acne scars can be broadly categorized into acne erythema (red discoloration from early stage acne scarring), hypertrophic scars (firm, pink, “bumpy” scars), rolling scars (scars with a sweeping, depressed contour), boxcar scars (scars with an abrupt drop-off depression), and ice pick scars (scars with deep, punctate, or “icepick” depression).  These clinical categories are important because they direct the acne scar treatment methods.

While individual results vary, an average of 3 treatment sessions are recommended for optimal results.  Visible improvement can be seen as soon as after one treatment session.

Most of the swelling and bruising occur during the first week of the procedure, while some residual effects may run into the second week.  Most people wish to avoid working the first two days after the procedure due to the postprocedural bruising that can occur.  We recommend avoidance of any medically unnecessary blood-thinning medications or supplements (aspirin, advil, fish oil, etc)  two weeks prior to the procedure to decrease the amount of post-procedural bruising. Exercise, saunas, and intense physical activity should be avoided in the two weeks after the procedure.

Acne scar subcision may not be the most appropriate procedure for every patient with acne scarring. There are also other procedures that can help minimize the appearance of acne scars such as laser treatments, and microneedling.  Sometimes, a combination approach is utilized for the best outcome.  During your consultation, Dr. Tzu will review your medical history, explore the individual characteristics of your acne scars, and develop a customized acne scarring treatment plan.

Before & After Gallery