What Are the Different Treatments for Acne Scarring?

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  • Written By: Nicole Long
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 23 July 2019
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There are various treatments for acne scarring. Treatment options often depend on the type and severity of scarring. Chemical peels, dermabrasion, and laser therapy are among the treatment options for acne scarring.

Acne can range from mild to severe. For some, acne may be relieved with a regular cleaning regimen and medications used on an occasional basis. Others may suffer from such severe acne, and even medication may not take care of the problem. Doctors usually prefer patients have their acne under control before addressing treatment options for scarring.

Scarring related to acne can occur for a number of reasons. Scars typically appear as red or brown colored marks and usually are noticeable once acne disappears. In some, popping pimples and picking at scabs related to acne can increase the appearance of scars.

Different types of acne scarring exist, and the type of acne scarring a patient has will help physicians formulate a treatment plan. Common classifications include ice pick, rolling, and boxcar. Rolling scars tend to have a gradual depression and tend to be wide, while ice pick scars tend to be deep and narrow.

Chemical peels and microdermabrasion are popular treatments for acne scarring. These procedures are typically done in a physician’s office and are usually recommended for mild scars. Over-the-counter chemical peels can also be used as one of the various treatments for acne scarring to help those with minimal scarring.


Dermabrasion is another option for those with mild to moderate acne scarring. This treatment option gently wears down the surface of the skin to help encourage the growth of a new layer of smooth, scar-free skin. Patients undergoing dermabrasion will need several weeks to heal and see results.

Several procedures involving the use of lasers can be helpful in treating acne scars. Laser resurfacing can help remove the top layer of skin and help smooth skin out. Fractional laser therapy works below the top layer of skin, leaving the patient with what looks like a sunburn after the procedure. Both procedures require some time to heal, although laser resurfacing will require a longer healing period because of the damage to the top layer of skin.

Other treatments for acne scarring exist as well. Injections under the scar can help elevate the scar in the case of rolling scars. In severe cases, a physician may recommend a patient undergo surgery to remove deep scars.



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