Three Steps to Beating Acne Scarring

Acne scarring is one of the biggest concerns amongst young adults and one of the most common reasons why patients come to see me in consultation. Often times, the scarring worries the patient more than the active inflammatory acne on their skin.   Here are the top three points that I bring up to my patients when discussing acne scar treatment and helping them look their best.

  1. Treat the active acne first.

The root of the scarring is the inflammatory acne. Therefore, the first requisite step is to control the acne. With some patience and persistence, this can be accomplished by a variety of topical medications and oral medications. There are lasers that also help treat active inflammatory acne.

  1. Treat the red discoloration that represents an early acne scar.  

In my practice, I like to use a laser that targets the red discoloration as well as any active inflammatory acne lesions.   Hence, patients can have both their acne as well as the discoloration treated in the same scar revision session.  Unfortunately, there are no truly effective topical medications or products that can reduce the red discoloration associated with early acne scarring.

  1. Treat the depressions on the skin that represent mature acne scars.

It is important to treat these depressed scars earlier in life, as the appearance of these scars can worsen with over time, with the gradual loss of fat underneath the skin. My favorite procedure is acne scar subcision, a procedure that releases the tethered scar tissue from the deeper portion of the skin, and fills in depressed areas with hyaluronic acid, a substance that is naturally found in our bodies.   The procedure should be performed only after the active acne is completely cleared. Subcision works well for most types of acne scars. However, for extremely deeply pitted scars, scar excision is the preferred approach.